Politics & Government

Politics & Government
10:27 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Gov. Snyder says he wants Legislature to add LGBT protections to civil rights law

Credit Guillaume Paumier/Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder says he’d like the Legislature to amend Michigan’s civil rights law to add protections for gays, lesbians and transgendered people.

“I don’t believe in discrimination and I think it would be great if they, the Legislature, looked at it later in the year,” said Snyder.

The governor says he’d lawmakers to first deal with the Detroit bankruptcy and road funding. But he thinks action on the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act could take place before the end of the year. The governor is attending the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference on Mackinac Island, where a group of business leaders has endorsed adding LGBT rights to the civil rights law.

Stateside
7:19 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

The chairs of both major parties chime in from the Mackinac Policy Conference

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

  The 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference began today at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

Political and business leaders are gathering to discuss the major issues and challenges facing Michigan, and to hear from guest speakers.

Statewide elections are just five months away, so both parties have a lot of work to do between then and now.

We got the views from the Michigan leaders of both parties.

Joining us from Mackinac Island, we welcomed the chair of the Michigan Republican Party, Bobby Schostak, and the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, Lon Johnson.

*Listen to the interviews above.

Politics & Culture
7:12 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  Many in state government tout the fact that more jobs have been created in the past 10 years, but these are not necessarily high wage jobs with benefits; sometimes not even enough of a paycheck to raise a family of four above the poverty line.

On today’s Stateside, what does it mean if the economy is creating a majority of low-wage, unskilled jobs?

Later in the show, we listened to the winners from Michigan Radio's Great Michigan Read "One Minute" story-writing contest. The theme for the contest was "Hidden branches of your family tree: Unexpected stories that changed the way you think of yourself or your family."

But first we get an update on the happenings at the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Politics & Government
5:07 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Land and Peters disagree at forum on Mackinac

Gary Peters official photo
Credit Peters campaign

The Republican and Democratic candidates for Michigan’s open US Senate seat pitched themselves to business people at a conference on Mackinac Island today.

Peters and Land made back-to-back appearances at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac conference.

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Politics & Government
4:37 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Campaign to raise minimum wage to $10.10/hour turns in petition signatures

Credit Perezhilton.com

Activists from the Raise Michigan coalition have turned in petition signatures to raise Michigan’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017.

That’s despite a new minimum wage law signed by Governor Rick Snyder just one day earlier.

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Politics & Government
12:34 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Watch two of Detroit's top leaders speak at the Mackinac Policy Conference

More than 1,500 statewide businesses, government and community leaders will be at this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, May 28 through May 30.

The conference will feature speakers, stakeholders and panelists discussing issues in STEM education, workforce development, public policy, and more.

You can join a live chat and screening for two sessions with two of Detroit's top leaders: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

The chat and screening will take place on a social screening platform called OVEE (Online Video Engagement Experience).

Watch and discuss Mayor Duggan's keynote address today at 4:45 p.m. by clicking here. You can also add this event to your calendar.

And you can watch and discuss Kevyn Orr's keynote address on Friday, May 30, at 9:45 a.m. by clicking here, or add it to your calendar.

Politics & Government
8:15 am
Wed May 28, 2014

This week in Michigan politics: Minimum wage and Mackinac

Credit Flickr user borman818

In this Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the passage of a new minimum-wage bill and the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Week in Michigan Politics interview for 5/28/14

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Politics & Government
8:12 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Legislature approves $8.15 Michigan minimum wage

Credit Perezhilton.com

Michigan workers making the minimum wage will get a raise in September.

Gov. Rick Snyder quickly signed the legislation tonight, before organizers of a petition campaign to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour submit signatures Wednesday.

The new law boosts the state’s minimum wage to $8.15 an hour this year. It will gradually increase the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour by 2018. After that, it will rise with inflation.

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Stateside
4:44 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Bridge to Canada takes a back seat to politics in Lansing

A conceptual image of the bridge.
Credit buildthedricnow.com

What's up with the building of the new bridge between Detroit and Windsor?

It appears that the bridge is taking a back seat to politics in Lansing. 

As the Detroit News editorial team wrote, "Gov. Rick Snyder should not still be herding cats to get the new bridge build across the Detroit river."

Much of the opposition to the new bridge continues from Republican lawmakers, even after it was assumed that a new bridge was set to go.

So, now what?

Republican state senators have put in language in a transportation bill that would stop the state from purchasing land for the new bridge. 

John Pappageorge is a Republican state senator from Troy, and he joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
4:41 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Michigan House looks to fast-track minimum wage hike

Credit Thetoad / Flickr

We know that last week the state Senate gave speedy approval to a minimum wage measure.

Now the House is giving a fast-track to its own version, and both are designed to kill off a citizen petition drive to put the question of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour on the November ballot.

Why is the House acting on this issue so quickly?

And what do Michigan voters think about raising the minimum wage?

Kathleen Gray, a political reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us from the State Capitol.

*Listen to the story above.

Politics & Culture
3:24 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder wants it. Big business wants it. And Canada is willing to foot the bill for it.

So why is the new bridge between Detroit and Windsor being sidetracked by politics in Lansing and foot-dragging in Washington?

Also, today on Stateside, a new study finds that female parolees and probationers who live in poor, high-crime neighborhoods, lack the support systems that those in more affluent areas have. That’s not a huge surprise, but how does this impact their chances of winding up back in prison?

And the state House is taking up a proposed increase to the minimum wage.

We know that last week the state Senate gave speedy approval to a minimum-wage measure.

Now the House is giving a fast-track to its own version, and both are designed to kill off a citizen petition drive to put the question of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour on the November ballot.

Why is the House acting on this issue so quickly?

And what do Michigan voters think about raising the minimum wage?

Kathleen Gray, a political reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us from the State Capitol.

*Listen to the story above.

Politics & Government
2:37 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Report identifies 84,641 structures and vacant lots in Detroit that need help

The main image on the report released today.
Credit Data Driven Detroit

The number comes from a much-anticipated report on the state of decay in Detroit's neighborhoods and what can be done about that decay.

The final report from the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force is titled, "Every Neighborhood Has a Future...And It Doesn't Include Blight."

The report's authors say a combination of blight removal and investment in Detroit's neighborhoods should be the goal for the city's leaders.

From the report:

Structure removal alone will not be enough to fully transform Detroit’s neighborhoods. There must be a concentrated reinvestment in Detroit’s neighborhoods, which will allow for the rebuilding of value.

The report draws heavily on a technology project aimed at cataloging buildings in the city. The Motor City Mapping Project relied on teams of people going out, snapping photos of a building or lot, and then attaching information to that cataloged parcel.

Here's how it worked:

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Politics & Government
12:47 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

The Michigan Senate will decide the fate of the Detroit rescue package

Inside the Michigan Senate.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The $195 million Detroit rescue package moves to the Michigan Senate this week after easily clearing the state House by wide margins.

Gov. Rick Snyder is hoping for speedy action to get the deal wrapped up no later than early June.

“I would remind people our work is not done,” Snyder said. “I’d like to thank the House for their wonderful work, but we still have work to get done in the Senate. Hopefully, we can get that done in a prompt fashion, but this is a great opportunity to move Michigan ahead.”

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Politics & Government
2:19 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Wolf hunt supporters deliver their petition signatures Tuesday

Last year, nearly two dozen wolves were shot and killed by hunters in the Upper Peninsula during a state sanctioned wolf hunt.
Credit USFWS Midwest

After spending months collecting signatures, hunting groups plan to deliver their petitions to the Secretary of State’s office tomorrow.

The petition is aimed at cementing a wolf hunt in Michigan law.

In November, voters will decide two ballot questions challenging state laws allowing the state to authorize a wolf hunt. Last year, nearly two dozen wolves were shot and killed by hunters in the Upper Peninsula during a state sanctioned wolf hunt.

Wolf hunt opponents say the hunt is unnecessary for a species just recently removed from the endangered list.

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Politics & Government
11:43 am
Mon May 26, 2014

The end of the road may be coming for Michigan's Driver Responsibility fees

People with driving violations, like drunk driving, have to pay the fees which can climb to a couple thousand dollars.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan is edging closer to ending its very unpopular Driver Responsibility fees.

The state fees were created a decade ago to help raise much needed-money for the state budget.

People with driving violations, like drunk driving, have to pay the fees which can climb to a couple thousand dollars.

Joe Haveman is a state representative from Holland. He says the fees are unfair.

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Politics & Government
8:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Wayne County getting much-needed cash from its treasurer; report finds he owes more

Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz
Credit via Wayne County

Struggling Wayne County will get a much-needed cash infusion, thanks to its own treasurer’s office—and the county’s auditor general thinks it should get even more.

Michigan’s largest county is in major financial trouble, running a deficit of at least $175 million and growing.

The state recently approved a deficit-elimination plan that includes steep cuts and possible asset sales. And there’s been lots of speculation about a possible emergency manager coming down the road.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

2 from Michigan champion the A-10 in Congress--and right now, they're winning

An A-10 Thunderbolt
Credit wikipedia

If Congress has its way, it looks like the country’s fleet of A-10 warplanes will keep on flying for at least for another year.

The Obama Administration has repeatedly tried to retire the A-10 “Warthog,” an aircraft with origins in the Cold War era. The Defense Department says it’s now obsolete.

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Politics & Government
3:06 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

New Michigan law waives fees for vets seeking job licenses

Two bills unanimously approved by the Legislature would waive fees for veterans applying for occupational, security and alarm licensing fees if they were honorably discharged.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws waiving fees for Michigan veterans seeking certain job licenses from the state.

Two bills unanimously approved by the Legislature would waive fees for veterans applying for occupational, security and alarm licensing fees if they were honorably discharged.

Snyder says the bills "will help connect our veterans to job opportunities that may have not been available otherwise." Approximately 680,000 veterans live in Michigan.

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Politics & Government
1:55 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

Turning to Michigan casinos to help collect unpaid child support

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the future, parents who fail to pay their child support might be risking more at Michigan casinos than they realize.

A state House committee recently approved a package of bills to streamline and improve child support collection. One of the bills would require casinos in

Michigan to check to see if big winners owe back child support. Casinos already check to see if big winners owe back taxes.

Ken Kurtz is a state representative from Coldwater. He says this would not be a major inconvenience for casino operators.

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Politics & Government
3:02 pm
Sat May 24, 2014

Duggan: "We got enough" in grand bargain bills

Mike Duggan

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he “completely supports” the Detroit aid package being debated in Lansing, despite the conditions attached to it.

The 11-bill package would put $195 million in state funds toward the $816 million “grand bargain:” a deal to smooth Detroit’s trip through bankruptcy by minimizing cuts to retiree pensions, and shielding the Detroit Institute of Arts’ assets from city creditors.

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