Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

Two unmarried people would be able to jointly adopt children together under a bill in the state House. Under current law, only married couples or single individuals can be grated parental rights to an adopted child.

Today on Stateside:

  • Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground joins us to talk about last night’s 16.7 inches of snowfall – Metro Detroit’s third-biggest snowstorm in recorded history.
  • Dana DeBenham, director of the Howell Conference and Nature Center, talks about the prediction made today by Michigan’s understudy groundhog.

  • Al Steinman, Director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University, describes the Great Lake’s high water levels, their causes and their consequences.
  • Blair Garrou, partner and co-founder of startup venture capital firm Mercury Fund, is an investor from outside Michigan who's interested in Michigan startups. Hear our conversation with him here, in The Next Idea story.
  • “Godfather of techno” Juan Atkins joins us to talk about techno music and its beginnings in Detroit.
  • Jeff Potter, Lansing resident and creator of OutYourBackdoor.com, chats about how now is the time to embrace winter.
  • It’s Just Politics co-hosts Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta discuss the possibility that Michigan legally recognize 300 same-sex marriages by the end of the week.
  • John Stempien joins us to talk about his experience as a pre-1980 adoptee in Michigan.

Michigan could see 300 same-sex marriages legally recognized by the end of the week if Governor Snyder decides not to appeal a federal judge's opinion on the matter. 

Listen above to hear “It's Just Politics” co-hosts Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta give the lowdown, and check out their story here.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow morning, Catholic Charities and UAW workers plan to distribute two thousand gallons of free water to Flint residents. 

It’s just the latest water giveaway in Flint. 

Last week, dozens of people lined up for cases of bottled water being given away by local businesses. 

Photos of people standing in line waiting for water have been seen around the state and the country.

http://toledo.oh.gov/government/mayors-office/

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A high-ranking city official says the mayor of Toledo is unresponsive while being treated at a hospital after suffering an apparent coronary episode and crashing his car into a utility pole. 

Potholes
Peter Ito / flickr

This week, Jack Lessenbery and Zoe Clark discuss some consequences of governing under a deadline. Gov. Rick Snyder’s 11th hour plan to fix Michigan’s infrastructure won support from legislators last month, but this week, the measure is hitting some potholes.


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In the very final hours of lame duck last December, state lawmakers slapped together a complicated road funding package that is proposal one, which citizens will be voting on in May.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s search for a consultant to help with its water problems is down to one, by default.

Only one company applied for the water consultant job.  

Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose says he “would have preferred more.” 

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Snyder administration says an official overseeing Michigan's prison food contract with Aramark Correctional Services has left the job after five months.

Ed Buss is an ex-Florida and Indiana prison chief. He began work Sept. 2 overseeing Michigan's three-year, $145 million contract with Philadelphia-based Aramark.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero saved the biggest news in his tenth State of the City address tonight until the end. 

The mayor proposed three city charter changes that would make Lansing's electric utility more accountable to city hall.

The Lansing Board of Water & Light has been under fire for more than a year.  

LisaW123 / Flickr

Some state lawmakers want to give voters an alternative to the May 5th ballot proposal to boost funding for roads. That measure would raise the sales tax from six percent to seven percent.

State Representative Anthony Forlini wants to pass a backup plan to raise the money. It would only take effect if voters reject the sales tax increase.

row of houses
Flickr user Michigan State Historical Preservation Office / Flickr

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan recently announced that more than half of Detroit home owners will see their property tax assessments drop by 10% .

"Here you have a mayor of Detroit who has, effectively, cut taxes two times in the last two years. When has that ever happened before?" asks Daniel Howes, whose article published in the Detroit News today evaluates the mayor's decision.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

Surprising no one who follows Grand Rapids politics, City Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss has announced she’s running to be the next mayor.

Michigan’s second largest city has never elected a female mayor, and Bliss has a good chance to become its first. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is expected to call for a major restructuring of the city’s electric utility tonight.

When Mayor Virg Bernero takes to the podium tonight to deliver his tenth State of the City address, who will run the Lansing Board of Water & Light will top of the agenda.

The Tricycle Collective / via Facebook

Most Detroit households should see some relief on their property assessments this year.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s office says about three-quarters of households should see their assessments knocked down 10-20%. Outside of 25 “stable neighborhoods” where the city believes property values are truly on the rise, all city homeowners should see some kind of relief.

John-Morgan / creative commons

An economic study says the May ballot proposal to raise the state sales tax could also collectively cost Michigan taxpayers $100 million more in federal income taxes.

The ballot proposal would raise the state sales tax by a penny on the dollar.

Michigan teens would be able to pre-register to vote under a proposal in Lansing.

The measure would allow 16 and 17 year olds to fill out their voter registration paperwork when they get their driver’s licenses. The state would mail their voter cards when they turn 18.

Paul Engstrom / Skillman Foundation

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is asking Detroit area businesses to offer at least 5,000 summer jobs in 2015 to Detroit teens and young adults.

He addressed more than 100 business leaders yesterday at the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.  

"For every dollar a business puts in to employ a young person, the mayor will match," said Kristen McDonald of the Skillman Foundation, one of the sponsors of the newly re-launched Grow Detroit's Young Talent program.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Cars started lining up at dawn today at a Flint business giving away free water.

Concerns about the safety of Flint’s tap water has created high demand for bottled water. 

But many Flint residents say they have trouble paying for what little bottled water is still sitting on store shelves. 

via city of Detroit

Detroit officials say they’re confident the fledgling Great Lakes Water Authority will work out—despite concerns and complaints from some suburban officials questioning its future.

The GLWA gives regional players a larger role in running Detroit’s city-owned water system, which services some 4 million customers in southeast Michigan.

NWF / screenshot from YouTube video

With national attention being paid to the Keystone XL pipeline, Michigan Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters have introduced amendments to the controversial legislation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Giving women a stronger voice in Michigan is the goal of a new coalition.

MI-Lead is composed of more than 30 organizations, from civil liberties and reproductive rights to business associations and unions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics, Jack and Emily discuss anguish over Flint’s water, a plan for some Detroiters to pay half price on auctioned homes and a new gun bill moving ahead in Lansing.


taxcredits.net

Flint's general fund deficit has gone from $19 million to $9 million in two years, and is on track to being eliminated entirely in five years.

That's according to an audit presented to the city council Monday night.

The second bit of good news for the city's fiscal health was legacy costs.

via Detroit Economic Club

Former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr was back in town Tuesday for an “exit interview” before the Detroit Economic Club.

Orr reiterated that municipal bankruptcy was the only real option for Detroit, but insisted both he and the city got through the process relatively unscathed.

“We got really lucky,” Orr said of his team. “We managed to get out of here without selling anything. I managed to get out without being indicated, so that’s sort of a badge of success,” he added, to audience laughter.

police officer directing traffic
Flickr user lincolnblues / Flickr

The Grand Rapids City Commission unanimously decided this morning to approve requiring city police to wear body cameras.

Michigan Radio's West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith says the decision is part of a $1.5 million public safety plan that was unveiled earlier this month. The plan also includes hiring more police officers, a study of racial profiling in the area, and creating more inclusive hiring practices for the city, according to Smith.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Jackson city council tonight will discuss asking voters for a big tax hike to pay to repair the city’s crumbling roads.

Like other Michigan cities, Jackson’s roads have been getting worse for several years.

via buildingdetroit.org

Detroit city workers, retirees and their immediate relatives could soon qualify for a 50% discount off the purchase price on some city homes.

The deal would apply to vacant homes auctioned off by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. That online auction has been one of Mayor Mike Duggan’s signature initiatives.

Update Monday, January 26th:

The ax has fallen.

This afternoon, Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) and the Republican caucus developed a response that was both ruthless and nuanced to the Democratic insurgency on the House Appropriations Committee.

Abby Rosenberg / Flickr

State lawmakers will try again to crack down on animal cruelty in Michigan.

A state Senate panel will take up a pair of bills on Tuesday that would increase penalties for serial animal abusers. The worst offenders – those who abuse 25 or more animals or who have three or more prior convictions – would face felony charges and up to seven years in prison.

Similar bills failed to clear the Legislature last year.

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