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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A recall petition against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver cleared a major hurdle today.  

The Genesee County Board of Electors voted two to one to approve language for the recall petition.  The decision allows Weaver’s critics to begin collecting signatures.  

Organizer Arthur Woodson says people are upset with the way Mayor Weaver has been running city hall, much in the same way they were when they voted against her predecessor in 2015.

“The people spoke back then and it was because of the water.  And people are speaking again because of the water,” says Woodson.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

In case you needed more proof that politics makes for strange bedfellows, a coalition of religious leaders and casino owners have united to oppose new legislation that would legalize online gambling in Michigan. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether the legislation is a good bet for the state.

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
user alkruse24 / Flickr

There are fewer school districts in severe financial peril, according to a quarterly report compiled by the Michigan Department of Education.

 

Last year, there were 41 school districts and charter schools with deficits. That number is down to 27 this year. And Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whiston says that number could be down to 18 districts by June.

The Genesee County Board of Electors has rejected two previous attempts to recall Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (seated lower left).
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, the Genesee County Board of Electors will consider language in a recall petition against Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

The recall is aimed at Weaver’s support for hiring a new garbage hauler. The company was later linked to a federal corruption investigation.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder opened a conference on water infrastructure by pointing to Flint’s water crisis as a “warning signal.”

More than 300 water quality experts and water system vendors are in Flint for this week’s conference. The city’s lead-tainted tap water crisis has spurred concern about aging water systems across the country. 

In his keynote address, Gov. Snyder says Flint is not the only bellwether for infrastructure problems.

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

What can America learn from Flint's water disaster? That's the question at the heart of a national Water Infrastructure Conference starting today in Flint.

Retired National Guard Brigadier General Mike McDaniel is one of the speakers at the conference. He is director of Flint’s FAST Start program, which aims to remove all of the city’s lead service lines over the next few years.

Former state representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
images from Courser/Gamrat offices

If you’re expelled or resign from your seat in the legislature, you shouldn’t get to run for the seat you vacated.

That’s the idea behind a bill making progress in Lansing.

The legislation – which failed to make it through last year’s session – was crafted in the wake of a sex and cover-up scandal.

Explaining the partial inspiration for the bill, sponsor Republican Aaron Miller said, “You learn from things that happen today what legislation needs to be changed for tomorrow.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of experts and vendors will be in Flint this week to talk about the nation’s problems with aging municipal water systems.  

Gov. Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will open the three-day Flint Water Infrastructure Conference on Tuesday.   

Flint’s lead tainted water crisis has raised awareness of problems in municipal water systems around the world.

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In elections, it’s all about who shows up.

And last year, Democrats didn’t.

The Democrats’ historic loss in Michigan is due pretty much to the fact that too many voters who would typically vote Democratic simply sat out Election 2016. While Republicans, true to form, showed up at the polls.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is glad U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week recused himself from any future probes involving the possible Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election.

Sessions failed to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States during the campaign.  Sessions insists the discussions did not involve the Trump campaign. 

Stabenow believes an investigation is warranted into possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Supporters and critics of President Donald Trump held dueling rallies at the State Capitol today.

As part of the so-called “March 4 Trump” events taking place across Michigan, Trump fans gathered to hear speeches and show their support for the president.

President Trump has been in office for a little over a month and a half.  But the supporters who gathered on the lawn of the Capital want him to know they think he is already doing a good job.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Mayor Karen Weaver has told the Environmental Protection Agency that more corrosion control studies have to be done and Flint will need more than two years before the city can begin to supply its own water.

The Flint Journal reports  that the plan and a letter from Weaver were filed Wednesday with the EPA.

Extensive work, including chemical mixing and filtration, also is needed at the city's water treatment plant.

Child reads with teacher
US Department of Education / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state's water bill subsidies for Flint residents ended this week, and that means customers will see a price spike when they get their bills next month. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about how that could give way to more problems for Flint water customers already behind on their accounts.

They also talk about a call from Michigan State University faculty members for the college to turn the investigation surrounding Dr. Larry Nassar over to an outside police agency, an uphill battle to add the right to literacy to the state constitution, and a bill that would require employers to let employees earn paid sick time.

EPA

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan has spent or obligated almost all of a dedicated source of funding needed to clean up and redevelop 7,000 polluted sites across the state.

  So lawmakers are questioning the Snyder administration on what, if any, plan there is to ask voters for permission to borrow more money.

  A 1998 ballot measure authorized the state to issue $675 million in bonds for environmental protection, but the money will soon dry up.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy reviewed MEDC awards and found that just 2% met their job creation expectations.
Michigan Economic Development Corporation

You might recall the Legislature recently rejected lowering the income tax rate. The judgment of the majority and the Governor was that Michigan just couldn't afford it.

Despite revenue increases since recovery from the Great Recession, the State of Michigan says it's still tight. It can't increase revenue sharing to municipalities and couldn't afford to fix the roads without new fees and taxes.

But Michigan still has money for what critics would call "corporate welfare."

One part of that is a legacy of tax credits costing Michigan billions of dollars over several years. A second part is funneling money to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to invest in Michigan businesses.

Two of the biggest topics of the week when it comes to Michigan politics involved the proposal to mandate employers to let workers earn paid sick time and the effort to put gerrymandering on the ballot in 2018.
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When it comes to Michigan politics, two of this week's biggest topics were a proposal to mandate that employers let workers earn paid sick time and an effort to put gerrymandering on the ballot in 2018.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s congressional delegation is showing bi-partisan opposition to reports the Trump administration plans to slash funding for the Great Lakes.

Published reports say the White House wants to slash spending on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97%, from $300 million to $10 million.  The initiative is part of an Environmental Protection Agency program for funding that pays for pollution cleanup. 

Trump supporters
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Organizers expect thousands of Michiganders will take part in rallies across the state tomorrow in support of President Trump.

Anti-Trump protests have dominated the news for months.

Michigan rally organizer Meshawn Maddock says this weekend’s events are intended to show the president is “loved."

“If you watch nothing but mainstream media, it does feel like overwhelmingly people are dissatisfied,” says Maddock, “and those of us who support the president, and walk every day among each other, know that that’s not true.”

Area where the boil water advisory was in effect.
City of Detroit

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has lifted the boil water advisory covering parts of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.

More from a press release from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department:

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department received a statement released from GLWA today indicating that the most recent round of testing shows no bacterial contamination in Detroit’s water supply. Two rounds of multiple samples were tested by GLWA indicating the water meets the Safe Drinking Water Act. According to the statement:

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Blissat gives her 2017 State of the City address.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids' mayor wants to make the city more welcoming to immigrants. Rosalynn Bliss announced a new initiative at her State of the City address Thursday night. She says the goal is to connect immigrants with services and provide information about schools and local government. 

“I want to make sure there is a safe place for them to come and learn about our community, our systems and how to get engaged,” Bliss said.

She expects to launch the initiative in the next month or two.

Courtesy of City of Detroit, Mayor's Office

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan recently made some significant claims against the city's former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Duggan accused Orr and his team of misleading the city of Detroit on the future cost of pensions.

GRPD
Matthew Sutherland / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

"Don't be afraid to call us."

That's what Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky said in a recent meeting of anxious people at the Hispanic Center of West Michigan.

The meeting addressed concerns from people who don't know how and if President Trump's immigration crackdown involves local police agencies.

President Trump's first speech before a joint session of Congress delivered themes and promises that are very familiar.
Screen grab from YouTube.com

President Trump's first speech before a joint session of Congress delivered themes and promises that are very familiar. It was delivered in a tone many have remarked was more presidential and more aspirational.

Rep. Paul Michell (R) and Rep. Dan Kildee (D) joined Stateside to give a perspective of last night's speech from both sides of the aisle.

From the Republican side, Congressman Paul Mitchell, who represents Michigan's 10th District, said the speech "captured the aspirations of Americans."

Stateside 3.1.17

Mar 1, 2017

Michigan has the largest population in the world of starry stonewort, an invasive macroalgae that stifles native plants and fish. Today, we learn about the problems it creates in lake ecosystems. And, we get reviews of President Trump's speech to Congress from both sides of the aisle.

The resolution passed by city council says Flint won't place liens on properties with unpaid water bills for a year.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Starting today, people in Flint will be paying more for their tap water.     

That’s because it’s no longer being subsidized by the state. The move comes as many Flint residents fear and complain that their tap water is still not safe to drink.

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Macomb County will inspect the entire pipe system surrounding a collapsed sewer line that turned into a massive sinkhole Christmas Eve.

The inspection will use cameras and other technologies to examine 17 miles of pipe in the Macomb Interceptor Drainage District.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller says doing a full inspection is the only way to know if there’s additional damage, and what the fixes might look like.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump delivered his first speech to a joint session of Congress last night. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about issues Trump touched on that resonate in Michigan, including a proposed $1 trillion investment in infrastructure nationwide.

Stateside 2.28.17

Feb 28, 2017

Attacks and threats to minority communities have been escalating. Today on Stateside, we'll hear from the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor. Plus, we'll talk with Michigan's chief economist who is retiring today about whether term-limited politicians really understand state finances. 

U.S. Capitol.
user Ottojula / Wikimedia Commons

President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress tonight.

His address came a day after he gave an outline of his budget plan for Congress, which would increase defense spending and make cuts to domestic programs.

COURTESY OF MICHIGAN DEPT. OF TREASURY

Michigan’s chief economist, Jay Wortley, is retiring after 36 years of state government service. During that time, the state has faced the triplicate challenge of a declining population, deurbanization in its major cities, and a series of employment swings in the all-important auto industry.

As chief economist, one of Wortley’s primary responsibilities was to accurately estimate future tax revenues based on forecasts of economic growth and recessions.

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