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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Andrew Pennebaker / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state of Michigan is asking a judge to drop an order that requires water delivery in Flint for residents who don't have a filter.

In a court filing Tuesday, the state says tests show Flint water is in compliance with federal standards for lead. Separately, Virginia Tech expert Marc Edwards says his tests also show significant improvement.

Still, the state and Edwards both say residents should not drink unfiltered tap water.

It's been a year since Flint's emergency declaration, and today we learn what's behind the ongoing tug-of-war between the state and a federal judge. And, our series continues: we discuss who should resentence juvenile lifers – a judge or a jury.

“I don’t think these are radical ideas, to act justly, to think deeply, to think critically," Kuilema said. "In fact in a post-truth moment, I think that’s what we need more of.”
Ryan Grimes / Michigan Radio

 


To some, the idea of a “watchlist” raises uncomfortable thoughts and worries about infringement on people’s constitutional rights.

There’s a basis in our history for those concerns: the “Red Scare” from Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950s. The post-9/11 Terrorist Watchlist, with its various secondary lists, such as the no-fly list.

As lawsuits challenge the constitutionality of these watchlists, courts are ruling that these lists are treading on due process rights spelled out in the Constitution.

And now there’s a new website called Professor Watchlist. Its self-described mission is to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

Professor Watchlist is a project of Turning Point USA, a conservative youth group founded by Charlie Kirk in 2012.

Joseph Kuilema is a Calvin College professor who teaches social work. His name was added to the Professor Watchlist a few weeks ago because of an op-ed he wrote addressing institutional racism and white privilege.

National Guardsmen delivered bottled water in Flint earlier this year.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Here we are at the one-year anniversary of the declaration of emergency in Flint, and we’re in the midst of an all-out tug-of-war between the state of Michigan and federal judge David Lawson.

Twice now, Judge Lawson has ordered the state to deliver bottled water to certain Flint residents.

But the state continues to fight that order.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

After a lot of back and forth in the courtroom, a federal judge halted the presidential ballot recount in Michigan last week before it was finished.

For This Week in Michigan PoliticsMorning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what we've learned from the recount process and whether state law makes it harder to recount precincts most likely to need a recount.

They also talk about a couple of bills from this year's lame duck agenda.

One of the bills would've tightened up voter identification laws, but the Senate plans to adjourn for the year without taking it up. The other, which won approval from the Legislature, will provide some compensation to people who've been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated.  

 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A year ago today, Flint, Michigan’s mayor declared a state of emergency because of lead contaminated drinking water.  

That attracted national outrage and sympathy, as well as millions of gallons of donated water.

But a year later, donations have slowed to a trickle and unfiltered water is still unsafe to drink.

From their hometown streets to the halls of the nation’s capital, Flint residents have spent 2016 demanding drinkable water.

But as the year nears its end little has really changed.

Michigan Republican Party chair McDaniel picked to run RNC

Dec 14, 2016
migop.org

President-elect Donald Trump wants Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel to be national party chairwoman, in part as a reward for the party carrying Michigan for the first time in 28 years.

The choice of McDaniel to serve as Republican National Committee chairwoman was confirmed Tuesday night by a person familiar with Trump’s decision. The person asked for anonymity because the announcement has not yet been made.

user eyspahn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The attorney for Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein says a state inquiry into ballot irregularities shouldn’t focus strictly on problems in Detroit.

The recount last week turned up large discrepancies in 20 Detroit precincts between the number of votes counted and the number of ballots that were stored. That was before the recount was stopped by a court order.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

The vote recount in Michigan has ended. But it did reveal some problems.

The Secretary of State is planning to audit several Detroit polling places because of irregularities. The number of ballots in the recount containers did not match the number of voters who signed in. In other counties, there were some additional discrepancies as well.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has given Flint permission to build an approximately three mile section of water pipeline to link the city to the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline to Lake Huron.

The Flint segment of pipeline will supply raw lake water from the KWA pipeline to Flint's water treatment plant.

According to Bryce Feighner, chief of the MDEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Radiological Protection, this is an important step for Flint.

Today we kick off our series Michigan's Juvenile Lifers: Who Gets a Second Chance? And, we learn what's moving through the legislature and what's not in these final days of Michigan's lame duck session.

Michigan's lame duck session ends on Thursday.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week marks the final few days of the 2015-2016 session of the state Legislature. Soon it will be “curtains down” on lame duck.

As Zach Gorchow of Gongwer News Service puts it, it’s time to see which bills are dead, which are “extremely sleepy” and which are alive in these final days of lame duck.

Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

As this infographic shows, only Pennsylvania ranks higher than Michigan when it comes to handing out life sentences without the possibility for parole to juveniles.

The U.S. Supreme Court says states have to review these sentences for all those who were convicted and sentenced as juveniles, and that "life without the possibility of parole" should only be reserved for "the rarest of juvenile offenders, those whose crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility."

Click on the graphic to see more.

There’s one more week of “lame duck” in Lansing as the Michigan Legislature wraps up its 2015-2016 session.

Lame duck - the period between the November election and the end of the year - is when the going gets weird in Lansing.

mark brush / Michigan Radio

The city of Lansing will reach a major milestone this week when crews replace the capitol city’s last remaining lead service line. The last lead line is scheduled to be replaced on Wednesday.

Service lines connect homes and businesses to city water mains.

A decade before Flint’s lead tainted tap water became a national scandal, utility crews in Lansing started replacing aging lead service lines.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - With just days left in the two-year term, the Michigan Legislature may be inching toward votes on what's billed as a comprehensive rewrite of state energy laws.

It's legislation that Gov. Rick Snyder has made clear is his highest priority.

The bills have divided majority House Republicans. They would update policies that govern the regulation of utility giants and their competitors, require minimum amounts of renewable sources of electricity and set efficiency benchmarks.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

The ballot recount in Michigan is over. This time, it’s for good.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry take a look at the short-lived recount and some of the problems it exposed at the polls, particularly in Detroit. They also look at a bill that would make it legal to hunt wolves in Michigan if the bill makes it through this year’s lame duck session in Lansing.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Congress has approved a wide-ranging bill to authorize water projects across the country, including $170 million to address lead in Flint's drinking water. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Thousands came out to what President-elect Donald Trumped dubbed his victory tour Friday night. He thanked voters for flipping Michigan for a Republican president for the first time in decades.

Trump covered a lot of ground, speaking for about an hour to a packed Deltaplex in Grand Rapids.

He promised to repeal Obamacare and bring factory jobs back to Michigan.

The biggest round of applause came after Trump promised to use “extreme vetting” of refugees and immigrants from certain countries.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court has shut down the last legal avenue to re-starting the statewide recount of presidential election ballots.

In a three-to-two decision, the court denied the appeal filed by Green Party nominee Jill Stein. She was trying to get an order to resume the recount after it was stopped by a lower court. 

Michigan's lame duck session ends on Thursday.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The lame duck session for the Michigan Legislature is a time when politicians in Lansing often push through unpopular or controversial bills. Remember the right-to-work law in 2012

This year has been no different as there have been a number of proposals that have been floated through the lame duck session. However, in an unexpected turn, four big ones have been pulled back, which surprised many observers, including Susan Demas and Ken Sikkema who joined Stateside for their weekly political roundup.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Commercial water customers in Flint who haven’t paid their bills could be shut off next week.

On Thursday, the city posted shutoff notices at businesses that are delinquent on the water and sewer bills.

Businesses, including two apartment complexes, have been told to pay up by next Thursday or lose water service.   Local charities are making arrangements to assist tenants of the apartment complexes find new places to live if their water and sewer service is cutoff.   Water service was part of the rent people living at the apartment complexes were paying. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

At one time, Detroit’s black families had one of the highest home ownership rates in the nation. Now that rate is among the lowest. Every year in Detroit, thousands of people lose their homes to tax foreclosures. In many cases, it is unnecessary. The city is accused of illegal taxes and denying tax exemptions homeowners deserved.

When I got to Darryl and Alisa Beavers' house, I was greeted by Jackson, their small dog. They’ve been living in a three-bedroom, two bath, 1,600 square foot home on Detroit’s east side. There are a lot of nice houses in this neighborhood.

Today, Jill Stein joins us on Stateside to discuss the fate of Michigan's recount effort and the future of the fight for elections everyone can trust. And, a recovering addict tells her story to help others fight opioid addiction.

Joe Brusky / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On Nov. 30, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested a recount of votes in Michigan. That request was the beginning of a frantic week of legal battles as county clerks rallied staff and resources to undertake the recount.

But now the statewide recount appears to be over after the ruling that came from Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith last night. He lifted the restraining order that triggered Monday’s start to the recount. The Board of State Canvassers then canceled its meeting earlier today.

Though the recount effort seems to have reached its limit, Stein said not yet.

Downtown Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Congress is moving forward with millions of dollars for the Flint water crisis.

The House approved $170 million to help Flint replace pipes and deal with health issues tied to the city’s lead-tainted tap water. 

The money is part of the Water Resources Development Act, which includes funds for many infrastructure projects across the U.S.

But it’s Flint’s ongoing drinking water crisis that drew the most attention to the legislation.  

“Flint needs action,” says Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, “this bi-partisan legislation delivers that.”

Rick Pluta / MPRN

We followed the twists, turns, and drama surrounding Michigan's presidential recount. Green Party candidate Jill Stein requested the recount in Michigan (and in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) after stories circulated about the need for a robust auditing system of elections in the U.S. (Read more about that here.)

We hear an election observer's take on recount laws dating back to the 1870s. And we learn how to prevent prolonged sitting (even if you have a desk job) to stave off the harm it does to the body.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The legal battles over the statewide recount of Michigan's presidential election results have been raging.

At the same time, another story is clearly emerging: Precincts that cannot be recounted because of Michigan's recount law, which dates back to 1954.

Craig Camp / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission says the state is wrong to eliminate minimum wage protection for workers on some small farms. 

According to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs' Wage and Hour Division, small farms with fewer than 500 man-days in any quarter of the previous year are exempt from paying the minimum wage.  A "man-day" means any day during which an employee works at least one hour. 

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