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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

PROFESSOR KIT JOHNSON / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

There is another executive order on immigration issued by President Donald Trump, beyond the travel ban of seven majority-Muslim countries.

This executive order gave U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) broader discretion to arrest undocumented immigrants. The result has been a quick uptick in arrests, more people in detention centers, and an immigrant community that is more fearful of being deported.

Gary Johnson
Gage Skidmore / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state primary is still 18 months away, but Michigan Libertarians are taking steps to get ready now.

In November, presidential candidate Gary Johnson received more than 170,000 votes in Michigan. That was plenty to qualify Libertarians as a major party in the state's 2018 primary.

But there's a lot of work left to do for the party to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Members recently held a special convention to vote on new bylaws to bring the party in line with state election laws.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

More than 600 people showed up to a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Justin Amash Thursday night. It was his second Grand Rapids town hall in less than a month and it was the second time so many people showed up they had to close the doors and turn people away.

Some Michigan members of Congress have been criticized lately for avoiding constituents.

But town halls are not new for Amash. The Republican says he’s always felt taking unscripted questions from his constituents, in person, is part of the job. But under the new administration, the crowds have been major.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s elections chief says it appears there were 31 instances of people casting two ballots in the 2016 election, but it doesn’t seem to have changed any results. That was the finding of audits of the election results, as well as a separate inquiry into ballot irregularities in Detroit.

Harrietta Hills Trout Farms co-owner Dan Vogler wants to produce up to 300,000 pounds of trout at the historic Grayling Fish Hatchery.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, is proposing a ban on certain types of fish farming in the Great Lakes region.  

In Fenton today, Kildee said federal laws are needed to replace a patchwork of state laws in the region that are insufficient to regulate the aquaculture industry.    

“These fish farms create all sorts of pollution…and increase the likelihood of significant impact on habitat,” says Kildee.  

Here are Kildee’s two bills:

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is stopping a pair of financial lifelines that helped Flint residents through the city’s water crisis.

A year ago, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation reimbursing Flint residents who were charged for water they could not safely drink. The money has been critical to city efforts to encourage Flint residents to run water through their taps in hopes of facilitating efforts to heal the damage done by improperly treated Flint River water.

Tamekia Ashford / Detroit Health Department

Detroit's Public Health Director is running for Governor in 2018.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed made his announcement after resigning from his health position on Monday. The 32 year-old former Rhodes scholar hopes to center his campaign around inclusion and equality in Michigan communities. 

aol.com

The Secretary of the Marquette County Republican Party has stepped down after he tweeted the suggestion that violent protestors at the University of California - Berkeley should be shot.

Dan Adamini says he resigned so he isn't a distraction to the work of the Republican Party.

"Whenever you join an organization, you want to do it because you can be helpful," said Adamini. "And with all the hateful messages and death threats that have been coming not just to me but to other people in the party, I thought it would be best if I stepped aside." 

The Michigan State Capitol
Aunt owwee / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Snyder's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018 came out this week.

One thing it did not contain is a tax cut. That's something many Republican lawmakers want to push through.

One such lawmaker is Laura Cox, chair of the House Appropriations Committee and Republican Representative for the 19th District, representing Livonia. Cox joined Stateside to talk about what she would like to see changed with Michigan's tax policy. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s largest skilled trades union has agreed to train more Detroit residents in construction work.

The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights says three of its local units will commit to new targets.

Those include making sure that Detroiters make up at least 25% of new apprentices, and tripling their Detroit membership in the next 10 years.

Stateside 2.8.2017

Feb 8, 2017

On Stateside today, we break down Gov. Snyder's just-released new budget for Fiscal Year 2018. And, as scientists say reducing emissions is no longer enough to combat climate change, we learn of new ways to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Gov. Rick Snyder formed a workgroup that made 69 recommendations on how the state of Michigan should manage and improve its mental health care system. The question is, how many of those recommendations will be turned into actual policies?
gophouse.com

Budget season in Lansing is officially underway: Governor Rick Snyder released his new budget for Fiscal Year 2018 today.

To break down the $56.3 billion package, Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief, and Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, joined Stateside today.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder included tens of millions of dollars to help fix the Flint water crisis in his proposed budget.

Nearly $49 million of the governor’s $56 billion dollar budget blueprint would go toward funding programs aiding in Flint’s recovery. Money is earmarked for early childhood and other health related programs.

The governor says the funding will help continue many programs already in place. 

user Marlith / Flickr

The Jackson City Council has voted 5-2 to expand its non-discrimination ordinance to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

The new ordinance bars discrimination against LGBT people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

"There was consensus and agreement that no one should have to live in fear of losing their jobs,  being evicted from their house, or refused service at a restaurant or a store because they happen to be a member of the LBGT community," said Derek Dobies, Jackson's vice-mayor and a city council member. Dobies supports the new ordinance.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Despite efforts to reduce lead levels in Flint’s tap water, some homes continue to test with levels far above the federal action level.  

But a consultant may soon recommend a simple response.

Newly-arrived Syrian refugees in Oakland County
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Is there a link between crime rates and refugee resettlement in the U.S.?

One group’s research suggests there is--a beneficial one, and that one Michigan city has benefited the most.

The research is from a group called Partnership for a New American Economy. It’s a nationwide group of mayors and businesspeople who tout the benefits of immigration.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

After Senate hearings, debates, protests, a Saturday Night Live parody, and an unprecedented tie-breaking vote by the vice president, Betsy DeVos is now the U.S. Secretary of Education. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what her confirmation process reveals about the state of affairs in Washington.

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There could soon be tighter restrictions on the public’s access to information in bids for state business. A state Senate committee has adopted a bill that would shield information on bidders’ trade secrets and finances.

State Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) says the Freedom of Information Act discourages businesses from bidding on government work. Jones says his bill matches a standard used in 42 other states and by the federal government to protect confidential information.

Michigan state Capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Education, public safety, and paying down the long term debt will be Governor Rick Snyder’s top priorities when he unveils his 2018 budget Wednesday.

Some Republicans in Lansing are really hoping to make some aggressive tax cuts this year. Especially since Michigan has a $330 million surplus in the budget.

But as Governor Rick Snyder gets ready to roll out his budget plan, he’s shying away from major tax cuts.

State Budget Office spokesperson Kurt Weiss said tax cuts need to be balanced with replacement revenue, even though there is a hefty surplus.

Nearly 500,000 people were estimated to have attended the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21.
Courtesy of Tashmica Torok

The organizers of last month's Women’s March on Washington are out to prove that it wasn't just a one-off event.

A second "action" is in the works, followed by eight more during the first 100 days of the Trump administration.

The Ford plant in Flat Rock is currently making Mustangs and Lincoln Continentals, but there's something new on the horizon.
Steve Shotwell / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

During the presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump blasted Ford Motor Company for building cars in Mexico. But despite the rocky start, a recent Bloomberg piece explains how Bill Ford, Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, is trying to maintain a relationship with the president.

The Flint Water Treatment Plant.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. - A consultant says the cost of upgrading Flint's water treatment plant is estimated at $108 million, up slightly from an earlier estimate.

The Flint Journal says the recent report by engineering and construction company, CDM Smith, includes $37 million for the construction of two, 21-million gallon water storage tanks and more than $34 million for pump and transfer station upgrades.

A December draft report put the cost at $105 million.

Stateside 2.6.2017

Feb 6, 2017

Today on Stateside, we dive into this question: If special deals make sense for billionaires, why not for long-term Detroiters hoping to stay in their homes? And a guest explains why it seems insurers "don't hear the voice of the people" as they move to control mental health care. (Did you see the fireball last night? We talk about that today too.)

Courtesy of Michele Oberholtzer

The Next Idea

“Detroit's greatest paradox is its abundance of space and its scarcity of quality housing.”

That’s the opening salvo in writer Michele Oberholtzer’s opinion piece for Model D.

At one time, Detroit’s population was almost double what it is now. As people left, so did quality housing. That puts people still in the city at risk, Oberholtzer said.

“The housing is often under code, or not up to par,” she said. “And the moment that a person leaves the home that they live in, that property is subject to scrapping and blight.”

COURTESY OF SAMARITAS

Travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries are enjoying tearful reunions with loved ones across the United States and the state of Michigan. This after a federal judge ruled against President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban.

Airlines around the world allowed people to board flights as usual to the United States.

The Toad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The question of how to improve Michigan's $2.4 billion mental health care system has been on the front burner for the better part of a year.

The latest twist came when Michigan's 11 Medicaid health plans called on state policy makers to give them a greater say in controlling the system. But it was concern over this very action, of moving control of mental health services out of the public's hands and turning it over to for-profit insurance companies, that sparked the year-long dialogue in the first place.

The move blindsided those who were working on a proposal they thought everyone had agreed upon, including the health plans. Among them is Kevin Fischer, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Michigan

Members of the Flint Charter Review Commission release a draft of their recommeded changes to the document.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint voters will decide later this year if they want to approve sweeping changes to their city charter.

In 2014, Flint voters approved setting up a special commission to study possible changes to the city’s charter. The charter’s been in place since 1974.

When this process started, Flint was under state receivership and being overseen by an emergency manager appointed by the governor. A state-appointed panel still oversees the city, but the mayor and city council are now in charge of the city's day-to-day affairs.

A legal battle over redistricting in Michigan could soon be underway.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

Letters are being sent to some 60 attorneys, legislators and ex-legislators, staffers and ex-staffers, Governor Rick Snyder, and many others, telling them: Anything you have related to the 2011 redistricting process, you better keep it. We’re talking drafts of maps, emails, instructions, and confidential analysis.

A full Senate vote on Besty DeVos' U.S. education secretary nomination is expected next week.
BetsyDeVos.com

Michigan is one of two states that don't apply public records laws to the governor's office and the Legislature. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry look at bills from a bipartisan group of lawmakers who want to expand the state's Freedom of Information Act.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

They also talk about this week's settlement of a major lawsuit over the state's automated unemployment claims system, opposition to Betsy DeVos' nomination as U.S. education secretary, and former Snyder chief of staff Jarrod Agen's new job in the White House.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

National Democratic Party leaders will gather in Detroit today to discuss the party’s future direction.

Party leaders are still assessing their setbacks from the 2016 election, and looking ahead to 2018 and beyond.

The forum will feature several candidates for the party’s open chairman seat. Among them is Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana

He thinks the party needs a fresh start, by focusing more attention on local and state-level politics.

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