Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr

After months of outreach and efforts to avoid a massive foreclosure crisis, more than 32,000 Wayne County properties are still on track for the county’s annual property tax auction in the fall.

That’s 32,629 properties county-wide, according to the latest numbers from the Wayne County Treasurer’s office. 28,545 of those distressed properties are in Detroit, the heart of the delinquent property tax issues.

Today on Stateside:

County clerks across Michigan are preparing for whatever way the U.S. Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage. Former State Representative Barb Byrum, now the Ingham county clerk, is here to talk about the upcoming decision.

Why are some people choosing to spell their name with all lower-case letters? Professor of English at the University of Michigan Anne Curzan talks us through the history of capitalization.

The Michigan State House of Representatives in Lansing, Michigan
user CedarBendDrive / flickr

It’s hard to argue against the fact that informed citizens are the cornerstone of democracy.

That’s the idea behind the Open Meetings Act: keeping the business of public entities open, transparent, and accessible to the public.

Dave Trumpie / Courtesy photo

County clerks across the state are getting ready for however the U.S. Supreme Court might rule on legalizing same-sex marriage.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum says she’s keeping an e-mail list of gay and lesbian couples that want to get married, “…so when a decision in support of equality does come down, I can have direct communication with those parties that may be interested in obtaining a marriage license.”

Today on Stateside:

* Lon Johnson, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, is thinking about a job-change

* Consumers are turning to social media as a way to get a company’s attention rather than getting lost in a voice mail jungle when they call some 800-number

* Why it’s important for Michigan to develop its own story on The Next Idea

* There's a new competition show starting tonight on the History channel. Forged in Fire challenges contestants to make medieval weapons. One contestant hails from Detroit

WWW.MICHIGANDEMS.COM/LON

Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics co-hosts Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark break down the news that Lon Johnson, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, is considering a run in Michigan's 1st Congressional District in 2016. 

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate is considering a bill that would prohibit employers from asking employees or job applicants about their birth control use. 

Senate Bill 397 would not allow employees to ask women about their use of birth control.

Melissa Baldwin / Creative Commons

A state lawmaker wants religious leaders to have sole responsibility when it comes to performing marriages in Michigan.

Under legislation introduced  last week, judges and other public officials would no longer be able to officiate weddings.

U.S. Supreme Court
user dbking / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan and three other states are awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White spoke to NPR's legal correspondent, Nina Totenberg, about the case and its possible implications for Michigan and the rest of the country. 

Here's their conversation:

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Treasury started reviewing Wayne County’s financial situation Friday.

The state review comes after Wayne County’s top administrator asked for it, earlier this week.

In a letter to the state, County executive Warren Evans wrote this week the deficit is $9.9 million. 

Flickr user Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The list of presidential hopefuls grows each week, and it seems voters here in Michigan and across the country are unimpressed with this crop of candidates.

WDIV/Detroit News survey released yesterday shows Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker each drew more “unfavorable” than “favorable” ratings.

Today on Stateside:

 

* As Detroit gets back up on its feet following the bankruptcy, we've seen the development action centered on downtown. Now a developer is stepping up to put ideas and dollars into a west-side Detroit neighborhood.

 

* Bargainers for the UAW and Detroit automakers will get down to brass tacks next month. Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes previews the talks between the UAW and Detroit automakers. Talks start next month.

 

Senate bill would lower minimum wage for young adults

Jun 18, 2015
Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A bill is being considered by the Michigan Senate that would lower the minimum wage for young adults.

Senate Bill 250 would allow people under 20 to be paid 85% of the state minimum wage or the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.

Current laws allow employers to pay workers under 18 a lower minimum wage.

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder this week signed the $54 billion state budget that pays for schools, universities, prisons, and more. That marks about six months of activity for the newest Michigan Legislature.

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Michigan Radio's Jenn White. They talk about where the state is investing money and where it's pulling back.

Film rolls.
Luca Nonato / Flickr

Michigan's film incentives would be completely phased out under a bill approved this morning by the state Senate.

The vote comes a day after Gov. Rick Snyder signed a new state budget that cut funding for the film credits in half compared to the budget passed last year.

The legislation now goes to the state House, which could send the bill to the governor's desk later today.

*We'll have more on this soon.

Wayne County executive Warren Evans has asked state officials to declare a financial emergency there.

In a letter to state treasurer Nick Khouri Wednesday, Evans lays out his reasons for requesting state intervention in Michigan’s largest county, and requests Khouri start the process that could lead to a financial emergency being declared.

Today on Stateside:

A recent survey suggests that Michigan voters don't like a lot of what they see in the upcoming political season.
National Ave

Presidential candidates keep hopping on the bandwagon. ‘Tis the season, after all.

Wikipedia

The Detroit City Council has rejected efforts to impose a four-day youth curfew preceding the city’s fireworks festival.

The annual fireworks are coming up this Monday, and there’s usually a curfew. This year, Detroit Police had asked to expand it to the three Detroit Riverdays preceding the fireworks.

The proposal drew some heated criticism at a public hearing Tuesday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s four mayoral candidates swapped ideas, personal stories and a few jabs at a candidate forum last night.

Much of evening focused on Flint’s problem-plagued water system and the recently ended state oversight. 

Michigan voters may see marijuana on the ballot in 2016
user Coleen Whitfield / flickr

Two Michigan groups hoping to legalize marijuana in Michigan can begin collecting signatures to put the question on the 2016 ballot after a state elections board signed off on the groups' petition language.

Congressman Dan Kildee speaks at the announcement of the USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

It seems there isn't much Congress can agree on these days.

But there was an exception to that Monday night concerning the plight of Amir Hekmati, 31, of Flint.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Democrats and Republicans in the state House want to end the state’s “zero tolerance” policies in schools.

Federal law requires schools to expel students for bringing guns to school. House Bill 4697 would end state policies forcing schools to expel or suspend students for things like bringing alcohol to school or fighting.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has hired a new chief financial officer with experience with troubled city finances.

Jody Lundquist comes to Flint from Benton Harbor, where she was the city’s finance director. Like Flint, Benton Harbor spent years being run by an emergency manager, appointed by the governor to fix the city’s money problems.

Benton Harbor exited direct oversight more than  a year ago. Flint did the same a few months back.

There are rumors that powerhouse Oakland County Executive and outspoken Republican L. Brooks Patterson may not run again in 2016, leaving Republicans in a bind.

State Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth.
Michigan Republicans

One state legislator says the process of creating a regional authority to manage southeast Michigan’s water needs to start from scratch.

The Great Lakes Water Authority was finalized last week. The Authority will lease and run what’s now the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s system outside Detroit city limits for $50 million a year.

Public Domain

A Michigan House bill would give judges more discretion when it comes to sentencing first-time felons who carried a gun during their crime.

Right now, first-time offenders face a mandatory two-year sentence for a felony firearm charge, on top of any other charges they're facing.

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

A bill that would end local wage and benefit laws has cleared the state Senate.

The legislation would stop communities from setting their own living wage and workplace rules – among other things.

Elizabeth / Creative Commons

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a new law tying welfare benefits to school attendance.

For more than two years, a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services policy has ended cash assistance for families with children who persistently miss school. This cements that policy in state law.

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