Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint has a better picture of where all its aging lead water service lines are.  But that picture is still incomplete.

Service lines connect city water mains to homes and businesses.  

The city’s failure to properly treat water pumped from the Flint River over an 18 month period damaged many pipes.  As a result, some have been leaching lead into the city’s drinking water.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver’s team at city hall is taking shape. 

Weaver fired the city’s police and fire chiefs, as well as the city administrator earlier this month. The three department heads were all appointed by Flint’s former emergency managers.

The city council will consider their proposed replacements tonight.

Weaver has tapped Timothy Johnson to be Flint’s next chief of police, Raymond Burton as the next fire chief and Sylvester Jones as city administrator.

Weaver says her appointments will bring needed change.

Some folks profoundly unhappy with Governor Rick Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis will make another attempt at launching a petition drive to recall him.

LucasTheExperience / Flickr

Organizers behind six efforts to recall Gov. Rick Snyder hope to get a green light from a state elections board Monday.

The state Board of Canvassers has rejected petition language for more than 20 recall efforts in recent weeks. But it did approve one to recall Snyder for his school reform policies.

Rev. David Bullock is offering petition language related to the governor’s handling of the Flint water crisis. He says that’s the issue that will motivate voters to get behind a recall.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s drinking water crisis is getting more attention from Washington.

Two senior members of Congress are due in Flint Monday.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings are the latest members of Congress to visit Flint in recent weeks.   

They will be joined by Michigan representatives Dan Kildee, D-Flint; Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn; and Brenda Lawrence, D-Southfield.

They will meet with Flint business leaders and get a briefing from federal officials on what’s being done to address Flint’s lead-tainted drinking water.

Syringe
VCU CNS / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Some Michigan lawmakers want to give school districts access to a drug that can save the life of someone who's overdosed on heroin or prescription painkillers.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is already available with a prescription in Michigan. Under a new pair of bills in Lansing, schools would have the option to stock and administer it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

 

State and local officials still are not doing enough to fix problems that caused lead pollution of drinking water in Flint, including having enough qualified workers to make sure the city water system functions adequately, a federal regulator said Friday.

 

  • A state official discusses the plume of toxic chemical headed for Ann Arbor’s drinking water supply. Michigan is out of step with federal regulations for risk.
  • Why was Detroit the center of building cars and trucks? A new book looks at the history of car companies. It’s called Lost Car Companies of Detroit.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is getting tens of millions of dollars from the federal government to tear down blighted buildings.

Last year, Congress approved spending $2 billion to fund blight elimination programs nationwide. 

The U.S. Department of Treasury today says Michigan is eligible for more than $300 million from the Hardest Hit fund. Nearly $75 million is available immediately.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, has been among those fighting for the blight money.

The Flint River
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In one of the worst outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in U.S. history, the city of Flint suffered nine deaths as a result. A Flint official reported the problem to the Centers for Disease Control, but the CDC was unable to move forward with an investigation. The reason? The state of Michigan declined the federal agency's assistance.

The official who reported the outbreak was Jim Henry, the Genesee County environmental health supervisor. He joined Stateside to explain what happened and how, he says, those nine deaths could have been prevented.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Chanting “No pipes, no peace," hundreds of people marched on Flint’s water plant today.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson led the marchers as they protested the city’s ongoing drinking water crisis.

Flint’s drinking water became contaminated with lead after an ill-fated decision to switch the city’s tap water source to the Flint River. Various agencies failed to ensure the water was properly treated to reduce its corrosiveness. The corrosive river water damaged aging lead pipes and lead solder, which has been leaching into the drinking water ever since.

  •  The Next Idea: Researchers at the University of Michigan are working on a braille version of tablet computers for blind or visually impaired people.
  • There’s an innovative idea from Israel that might be taking root in Detroit.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is a step closer to getting money from the state to replace lead service lines.

Governor Snyder says the state has approved a grant request from the city.

“That frees up $2 million that could be … several hundred lead service line replacements,” says Snyder.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says this is a “positive step.”

Detroit Land Bank Authority

Detroit leaders hope to solve a real estate riddle with some help from banks and non-profits.

The Detroit Home Mortgage program is designed to counter stubbornly low property values in the city.

Those low values mean low assessments — which prevents many otherwise-qualified homebuyers from getting traditional mortgages that cover the full sale price of the home, or include the cost of needed renovations.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal government appears close to approving at least part of Gov. Snyder’s request for a Medicaid expansion for Flint residents.

Snyder submitted a lengthy request to expand Medicaid coverage to thousands of Flint residents under 21 and pregnant women.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell met with local health officials in Flint to discuss the crisis.

She says no decision has been made on the governor’s Medicaid expansion request.

Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The top lawmaker in the state House says bankruptcy should be on the table as a way to help resolve Detroit Public Schools’ financial crisis.

Both the state House and Senate have plans that would commit hundreds of millions of state dollars to help restructure the district and pay down debt.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A state House committee has OK’d an emergency spending measure to help Flint residents with a portion of their water bills. The budget would reduce the water portion of Flint residents’ future water and sewer bills.

The $30 million dollar appropriation is on a fast track to be approved by the entire state House. 

The budget measure was adopted and sent to the House floor by the GOP-controlled House Appropriations Committee. But not without attempts by Democrats to add money to forgive all of Flint residents’ water bills, instead of just 65 percent.

user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

State House Republicans are offering their own proposal to aid Detroit Public Schools.

Like similar legislation in the state Senate, the bills would restructure the state’s largest district and commit more than $70 million a year from the state to help pay down its debt.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Next week, crews will start digging up lead pipes in Flint.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says a training exercise will take place next week for city crews to learn how to remove lead service lines. 

It’s a step in a process that may end with replacing thousands of lead pipes. 

wikipedia http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Southfield Mayor Ken Siver is expecting a large turnout at tonight's public meeting on a hotly debated oil and gas drilling proposal.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is holding the meeting to get more public input about whether the MDEQ should grant a permit to  Michigan-based Jordan Development Corporation, LLC to drill  for oil and gas on Southfield land owned by the 14,000-member Word of Faith International Christian Center.

Judges could see raises under bill heading to Snyder

Feb 17, 2016
Brian Turner / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Some Michigan judges could see a boost in future paychecks, under a bill that cleared the state Legislature this week.

Right now, pay for lower-court judges is tied to state Supreme Court justices' salaries, which haven't gone up in years.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said it's impossible in today's political climate to raise Supreme Court justices' pay.

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about Flint's role in the democratic race for president, and Governor Snyder volunteering to testify about the Flint water crisis in front of Congress. Lessenberry also talks about Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's fight against the Obama administration's rules for Michigan to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 31 percent by 2030. 


flickr user Motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The clock is ticking, and Detroit’s Public Schools is edging closer toward bankruptcy. The district could run out of money as soon as April, due to $515 million of crushing debt.

Governor Rick Snyder made the Detroit Public Schools a key part of his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. State lawmakers have begun acting on measures to help put some kind of rescue plan in motion, but nothing has been cleared and sent to the governor’s desk.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says the federal government has not been held fully accountable for its role in the Flint water crisis.

  

The governor says he’s cleaned house at the state Department of Environmental Quality and is ready to do more. But he says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also to blame.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Two presidential candidates paid a visit to Michigan on Monday.

In Ypsilanti, more than 9,000 people packed Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center today to see Bernie Sanders speak. 

  • Thousands of newly-released documents prove how state bureaucrats shrugged off worries about the Legionnaires' outbreak in Flint. A team of Detroit News reporters, including Chad Livengood, dug through this latest document dump.
  • Many of us have seen the heartbreaking scenes and photos from the Syrian refugee crisis and wondered: how can I help?
NAACP President Cornell Brooks says "the way you can measure trust is when you have a timeline, a deadline and a price tag."
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The NAACP is giving Gov. Rick Snyder 30 days to come up with a “timeline, deadline and price tag” for fixing Flint’s water crisis.

After that, the national civil right organization is threatening “direct action” protests in Michigan.

National NAACP president Cornell William Brooks laid out a 20-point plan for Flint’s drinking water crisis. The plan includes repealing Michigan’s emergency manager law, free home inspections and a new ‘state of the art water system’ in Flint. 

Brooks says it's time Gov. Rick Snyder delivered a specific plan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she didn’t think Friday was “a bad time” to fire three top city officials.

Some have questioned the timing of Weaver’s decision to let go of Flint Police Chief James Tolbert, Fire Chief David Cox and City Administrator Natasha Henderson last week.

This comes as the city struggles with its drinking water crisis.

“I can’t wait for the water crisis to be ended because we don’t know when that will happen,” says Weaver. 

The three officials were hired by Flint’s former emergency managers.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s only three weeks until Michigan’s presidential primaries. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have spent time this month campaigning in Michigan. Republican John Kasich is campaigning in the state too. Republicans and Democratic candidates will hold debates in Michigan next month.  

But Republican and Democratic candidates, as well as third party groups like political action committees, are not rushing to buy up ad time on Michigan TV stations.

Pages