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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Many Flint residents are upset that the city has started threatening to put liens on homes that are delinquent on their water and sewer bills.

Last month, the city of Flint sent out notices to more than 8,000 water customers.  The notices advise customers to either pay their delinquent water bills, or the city will put a lien on their home.   The delinquent bills amount to nearly $6 million.   

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Democrats in Lansing have renewed their mission for a Voter Bill of Rights.

Democrats in the state House attempted to pass a resolution to amend the Michigan Constitution last year. This time, State Representative Jon Hoadley is spearheading the effort.

Hoadley said a Voter Bill of Rights would empower people and let them know their voices are heard.

“The entire process from registering to vote in Michigan to dropping your ballot in the ballot box hasn’t improved in 20 years while other states, Red and Blue, have left us in the dust,” he said.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Last night (May 2) voters in Ann Arbor and Kent County approved funding for schools. Two proposals that would have allowed the construction of wind farms spanning several townships in Huron County were defeated.

Schools in Michigan are not supposed to start the year until after Labor Day.  It is state law.

picture of donald trump
DONALDJTRUMP.COM

President Donald Trump talks a lot about "renegotiating" NAFTA.

There are few places that would feel the fallout from changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) more than Michigan and Ontario.

Craig Mauger

This story was produced as a collaboration between Michigan Radio and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Graphics by Kaye LaFond. 

Michigan lawmakers who will decide whether to hand health insurance plans a major victory this spring have received about $1 million in contributions from committees and executives connected to the plans.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, voters across Michigan will decide whether to renew local taxes that fund public schools.

And voters in one Michigan community will be asked to vote for a millage renewal, that they’ve already rejected twice.

The state closed the Buena Vista school district in 2013.   Its students were divided among three other districts, including Saginaw public schools.

Since then, Buena Vista voters have twice shot down a renewal of a school millage on local businesses.

'Wind farm' takes on a new, and for some uncomfortable' meaning in Huron County
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The future of wind turbines in Huron County goes before voters Tuesday.

The county already has the largest number of turbines in Michigan, with 475 turbines already operating.   

Tuesday’s ballot questions would open the door to another hundred or more.

That’s not what farmer Robert Gaffke wants.  

He raises cattle and sheep on his 200-acre organic farm in Port Hope.    Gaffke doesn’t have any turbines on his property, but says the turbines are slowly spilling across the property line on his neighbor’s land.   The blades make a noticeable wooshing sound.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Marijuana legalization advocates will rally at the state capitol Monday, as they plan to try and get a legalization question on the state's 2018 ballot.   

Defer Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Park.
Appraiser / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Public schools in Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham are already charging tuition for students outside the district who want to attend. Now, because of budget cuts and declining enrollment, it looks like Grosse Pointe Public Schools might follow suit.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The next phase of Flint’s lead pipe replacement gets underway this weekend.

To date, slightly more than 850 service lines have been replaced, as part of the city’s response to pipes leaching lead into Flint’s drinking water.

The goal this year is 6,000.  

“With more work crews in the field starting next week, service lines to 900 homes will be replaced each month, so we’ll really start making progress,” says Flint Mayor Karen Weaver. 

A map showing cities sending a bus to People's Climate March.
Michigan Climate Action Network

Several hundred people from Michigan got on buses today to ride all night to Washington, D.C., to attend the 2017 People's Climate March.

Andrew Sarpolis with the Sierra Club organized the bus leaving from Detroit. He says many of the buses sold out early.

"Flint filled up almost a month ago," he says. "Our bus filled up a week in advance, and I believe the Ann Arbor bus as well, so all across the board, we're really seeing a lot of interest in going to this march."

Stateside 4.28.2017

Apr 28, 2017

Tomorrow is President Trump's 100th day in office. Today on Stateside, we hear from a Manistee mom and Detroit-area surgeon who continue to strongly support the president. And, our Artisans of Michigan series stops on a residential street in Highland Park, where a hat maker works.

Laura Nawrocik / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Three years ago, not long after the city of Flint switched its water source to the Flint River, residents began to complain about the quality of the water coming into their homes.

The State of Michigan, however, denied the problem for a long time. It wasn’t until activists and news media proved there was a problem that the state finally did something.

This week, the state Senate passed a supplemental appropriations bill which included federal dollars for Flint. Stateside’s Lester Graham spoke with Arlan Meekhof, the Republican Majority Leader of the Senate, about that bill, and the future of funding for Flint.

Stateside 4.27.2017

Apr 28, 2017

Today on Stateside, state Sen. Ananich of Flint says he "was lied to like everyone else." And, a former adviser to President Nixon explains why you won't make America great by undercutting the public good.

exterior of the Michigan state capital
Pkay Chelle / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The weekly political roundup on Stateside tackles a few of the biggest stories of the week. Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, joined the show to break it all down.

Photos courtesy of VOTEBUSUITOWSU.COM and Renee White

After the 2016 Election, we talked to a few Donald Trump supporters and asked about their vote. With the first 100 days of the Trump presidency just around the corner, Stateside reached out to a couple of those Trump supporters to get their thoughts on his performance as Commander in Chief so far.

People loading cases of bottled water into an SUV
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

All nine state water distribution sites will remain open for at least another month in Flint.

A settlement of a lawsuit gave the state the option to close two of the sites starting in May.

But Mission Flint spokeswoman Tiffany Brown says the number of people picking up cases of bottled water at each of the sites is still high enough to warrant keeping them open.

Brown says Flint residents would receive plenty of notice if the decision to close one or more the sites is made. 

Sen. Jim Ananich at Stateside's live show in Flint: "Michigan should lead the way [in water quality standards]. We should have the best standards of anywhere in the country and other people should follow us and we should start that here in Flint."
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

This week brought an important development in the future of Flint and its drinking water.

Mayor Karen Weaver says she wants Flint to return to a long-term agreement with the Detroit-based Great Lakes Water Authority. This reverses the plans to connect Flint to the new, competing Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).

The Michigan Senate Minority Leader, Senator Jim Ananich, D-Flint, joined Stateside's live show in Flint last Saturday to talk about the state of the city and why something needs to be done about the water rates. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Donald Trump was elected President by pledging to "Make America Great Again." 

Economist Marina von Neumann Whitman thinks the proposed Trump budget would deeply harm the very things that make our country great.

Gun in holster on hip
Teknorat / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM / cropped from original

Wednesday was the annual Second Amendment March in Lansing. Gun enthusiasts took to the Capitol for speeches and mass open-carrying of firearms.

According to the march’s website, they met for a, “peaceful gathering to demonstrate the political strength of Michigan’s legal gun owners and Second Amendment advocates.”

Dean Greenblatt is an attorney in Bloomfield Township. He represents Michigan Open Carry in several pending court cases.

University of Michigan Professor Rosina Bierbaum says scandals like Flint's water crisis have eroded public trust in the safety of drinking water
Courtesy of Raiz Up

Three years ago this week, officials switched Flint's water source to the Flint River, sparking the water crisis there. The river wasn't properly treated, and began corroding lead water pipes, which then leached lead into the drinking water.

Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry talks to Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about why it took the city so long to listen to residents' concerns. 

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Fraser, Michigan will finally get funding for a sinkhole that opened up in a residential neighborhood last Christmas.

Lawmakers have been at odds over whether to give Macomb County a grant or a loan.

Now the Michigan Department of Transportation has agreed to send the money to make the necessary repairs.

“We are very happy for Macomb County that everybody came together and came to a resolution on this,” said State Rep. Jeff Yaroch, R-Richmond. “It was very reasonable for the state to help in this, which is a state of emergency.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Today, people in Flint marked the anniversary of the start of the city’s drinking water crisis.

It was three years ago, when Flint officials pushed the button switching the city’s tap water source from Detroit to the Flint River.  Improperly treated river water damaged pipes, which then leached lead into the drinking water.

Since then, Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water has drawn national attention and local protests.

Supporters of Jose Luise Sanchez-Ronquillo rally in front of ICE offices in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Supporters of Jose Luis Sanchez Ranquillo say they expect to know as early as Tuesday if he faces imminent deportation, or has a chance of remaining in the U.S.

The Ann Arbor father of two is fighting to say in the country. 

Family members say Sanchez was detained after what he thought was a routine immigration check-in last week.

That’s not a new thing. But anecdotally, immigration attorneys say it seems to have picked up steam in the early days of the Trump administration.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Today, a judge put a recall campaign against Flint’s mayor back on track.

Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey Neithercut says Genesee County election officials were correct when they approved language in a recall petition against Mayor Weaver.    

The petition language cites the mayor signing a contract to hire a new trash hauling company for the city of Flint in response to an 'emergency.' A court later issued an injunction blocking the city from hiring Rizzo Environmental. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Genesee County judge is scheduled to hear arguments Monday concerning a recall petition targeting Flint’s mayor.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has been in office for a year and half.    

There have been several efforts to recall her from office. But so far only one has received the green light from the Genesee County Election Commission.

The sinkhole in Macomb County.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature is back in Lansing after a two week break. Before they left for vacation, lawmakers in the House and Senate were at odds over how to fund a fix for the sinkhole mess in Macomb County. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether legislators will be able to play nice long enough to get this sorted out.

state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan Republican legislators are divided when it comes to the budget.

The Detroit News reports the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services cut energy assistance and food aid in what’s known as “Heat and Eat.”

So far about $200 million face cuts from Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed budget. Senator Jim Marleau, who chairs the subcommittee, says he’s received marching orders from Senate Republican leaders in an attempt to cut the state income tax or pay down state debt.

Screen grab taken from Karen Spranger's Facebook page

It's been a bumpy first few months in office for new Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Karen Spranger and her staff.

Last night, the county ethics board met to discuss ethics complaints filed by a former top aide, someone Spranger fired shortly after taking office.

The meeting ended with a $100 fine against Spranger for an ethics violations, a fine she intends to appeal.

But that is just scratching the surface of what's happened since Spranger was elected last November.

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