Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Stateside 8.26.2016

Aug 26, 2016

Today, we compare our state's rules on voter petitions with others across the country, and we meet a luthier in our Artisans of Michigan series. 

Signatures are collected for the MI Legalize campaign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As a citizen, you have a right to petition the government for redress of grievances. At the state level, that right and the right to put referenda on the ballot can be restricted or, in some cases, circumvented.

State Rep. Brian Banks was arraigned this week on charges of providing false information on a bank loan application in 2010.
Michigan House of Representatives / Public Domain

The Michigan Freedom Fund's website describes the group as supporting political conservatives who beat up bad policy that favors big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts and big government.

This week the chairman of the group, Greg McNeilly, wrote an opinion piece in The Detroit News calling some Democrats hypocrites because they have been lecturing Republicans about the need to distance themselves from their presidential nominee, Donald Trump, while making campaign donations to Democratic state Representative Brian Banks. 

Rep. Banks was arraigned this week on charges related to using false pay stubs when trying to obtain a bank loan. He faces three felony charges and one misdemeanor.

Michigan Democrats will be gathering at the Lansing Center on Saturday for their state convention.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Democrats are gathering for their state convention in Lansing tomorrow, and the Republicans are holding their convention in Grand Rapids today and tomorrow.

Ken Sikkema​ and Susan Demas joined us today for our weekly political roundup.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials are concerned the city may not be able to pay for recommended fixes to the city’s water system.

Today, the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee responded to a list of 44 recommendations made by a special task force set up by Gov. Rick Snyder in the early days of the Flint water crisis.

“We trust that those recommendations are putting into motion things that need to be done in order to right-size … the system to be safe and drinkable,” says Harvey Hollins, the man appointed to oversee the FWICC. 

Screencap from Google Maps / Google

A group of cities near the Great Lakes is appealing a decision to let Waukesha, Wisconsin draw water directly from Lake Michigan. 

Waukesha asked to divert water from Lake Michigan because its own water source is contaminated. 

Great Lakes governors approved the diversion, but many Great Lakes mayors disagree. 

A group of 120 of them – members of The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative – is appealing. 

The "Flint Sprint" will tackle 20 different projects in the city over the next 60 days.
Wikimedia user Flintmichigan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

People in Flint are wondering if they’ll ever have to stop worrying about proper filters, about the supply of bottled water, about giving kids a bath.

It’s been about a year since the lid blew off what the world knows now as the “Flint water crisis,” and the biggest development this week is another tug-of-war between Governor Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette over the Flint investigation.

But Daniel Howes of The Detroit News can see an upside in Flint’s struggles, as well as a challenge to Michigan at large.

Flickr user Jim Fruchterman/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

From the time Hilary Clinton first ran for President in 2008, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm has been one of her most vocal and visible supporters.

She was recently named part of Hillary Clinton’s transition team.

Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta spoke with Granholm to learn what her responsibilities would be in the Hillary Clinton administration, if Clinton is indeed elected.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Democrats will hold their state party convention in Lansing on Saturday.

This weekend’s convention may end up reflecting former presidential candidate’s Bernie Sanders' policies as much as party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Stateside 8.24.2016

Aug 24, 2016

Today, guests discuss the latest chapter in the public rivalry between Governor Snyder and State Attorney General Bill Schuette. And, we hear a tale of two elephants who left the Detroit Zoo for a better life.

michigan.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's a new chapter in the very public rivalry between Governor Snyder and State Attorney General Bill Schuette.

This time, they're going at it over a circuit judge's order that bars state health workers from having any contact with the Genesee County Health Department and McLaren Hospital of Flint over new cases of Legionnaire's Disease. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about political pushback on Melissa Gilbert's request to get her name off the November ballot and whether enough justice is being done in a $2.7 million school supplies kickback scheme in Detroit.

Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss the latest news from Flint, including the lead crisis and a hometown hero who brought home her gold medal.  

Suzanna Shkreli will officially appear on the ballot

Aug 24, 2016
Suzanna Shkreli, the Democratic Party's new candidate for Michigan's 8th Congressional District
Suzanna Shkreli / Facebook

She is the underdog in the eighth district congressional race, but Suzanna Shkreli is happy to be officially on the ballot. Shkreli will replace Melissa Gilbert as the democrat on the ballot. Gilbert dropped out of the race citing health reasons. Shkreli is running against incumbent Republican Mike Bishop. Shkreli says nothing will change in her campaign now that she's on the ballot.  "I'm excited to finally be officially announced, however, nothing changes," she says.

Stateside 8.23.2016

Aug 23, 2016

Today, we hear a local NAACP leader explain how a report stressing the divide between Detroit and Grosse Pointe schools is flawed. And, we learn about the probable cause of rashes in Flint.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

A big section of Michigan’s economy is being targeted by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 98.2% of businesses in Michigan are small businesses. The SBA defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees.

Local government meeting room in Lansing.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report on the fiscal health of local governments in Michigan raised the question of whether those governments feel the steam running out of the recovery from the Great Recession.

The Michigan Public Policy Survey was performed by the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

CLOSUP administrator Tom Ivacko joined us today to talk about their most recent findings. 

Durene Brown's basement has now flooded several times. She has yet to hear back about a claim filed in May.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is about to process an “unprecedented” number of claims, although it’s uncertain what claimants can expect to get out of the process.

It’s the result of a July 8 rainstorm that caused sewage to back up into basements across a swath of Detroit’s east side. A similar, smaller event happened in the same area just last week.

DWSD has urged affected residents to file claims, and many have.

There is a saying in politics that three-quarters of what you do in a campaign doesn’t matter -- you just don’t know which three quarters until after the campaign is over.

That’s because there are so many variables that can make a difference once the voting starts, so candidates, campaigns, and political parties do all they can to gain every marginal advantage.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is boosting his presence in Michigan. Michigan's campaign for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is expanding from one to seven senior staffers. 

Dave Doyle is the Executive Vice President for Marketing Resource Group. He says this is a big commitment to Michigan and shows that the campaign sees Michigan as a battleground state.


“The important thing is the expansion of the staff,” he says. “They’ve basically gone from a one man operation to seven people. So that’s again pretty significant.”

Stateside 8.22.2016

Aug 22, 2016

Today, we're introduced to Michigan's newest political party. And, we hear how the battle over straight-ticket voting is shaping up to be a logistical nightmare for those preparing the ballots.

Ballot in a voting booth
MICHAEL DORAUSCH / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Election day is drawing near. It’s less than 90 days away.

And still the battle continues over straight-ticket voting - that's where you can check off just one box at the top of the ballot to vote for every candidate in the party of your choice.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed an emergency motion with a federal appeals court. He’s asking the appeals court to overrule lower court rulings that blocked the new GOP-led law that eliminates straight-ticket voting in Michigan.

“It’s really simple. Proposal A says if we have to pay, we should have a say,” Ross told us.
flickr user justgrimes / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you find yourself dissatisfied with choices offered by the two mainstream political parties, you’ve got a new choice.

The Working Class Party got itself onto the Michigan ballot after more than 50,000 people signed petitions. That’s more than the 31,566 signatures required by election law.

Mary Anne Hering of the Working Class Party joined Stateside to talk about the party’s platform, and introduce the candidates we’ll see on the ballot this November.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Members of Congress remain on their usual summer break.     

Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee hopes money for Flint’s water crisis will be near the top of the agenda when Congress returns to work after Labor Day.

The Flint Democrat admits there are some other pressing needs that also need to be addressed, in particular the Zika outbreak and Opioid epidemic.

“Our effort will be to not get through another budget cycle, as we go into the fall budget deliberations, without addressing Flint,” says Kildee.

flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made a pitch for the support of factory workers and African-American voters today at a campaign stop at the Lansing suburb of Dimondale.

His speech focused largely on the economy and border protection.

Part of his pitch for African-American support was to blame Detroit’s crime, poverty and unemployment on the Democratic leadership, including his rival Hillary Clinton.

Stateside 8.19.2016

Aug 19, 2016

Today, we hear how slightly tighter air quality regulations could save lives in Detroit and elsewhere. And, a human rights activist reflects on a federal judge's ruling against a transgender funeral director in Michigan.

A report says as many as 15 people sent complaints to the Attorney General Bill Schuette's office more than a year before an investigation into the water crisis was launched.
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

The Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) reported this week that Flint residents contacted Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office long before he launched an investigation into what became known as the Flint Water Crisis.

Democrats have accused the Republican of ignoring those complaints, and only beginning an investigation after news media coverage became so prominent.

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas join Stateside for their weekly political roundup to talk about the issue.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan auto workers and labor leaders gathered Friday morning to oppose Republican nominee Donald Trump’s visit to Dimondale, Michigan later that day. The group gathered with a very clear message: Donald Trump would a “disaster” for Michigan.

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer and several members of the United Auto Workers attacked Trump’s statements about moving car production outside of Michigan and his failure to release his tax returns. They said Trump is not on the side of the American workers.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Contractors will soon start replacing lead service lines at more than 200 Flint homes.  But first they need the homeowners’ permission.

The city has hired three companies to fully or partially remove hundreds of service lines.  Representatives of those three companies (WT Stevens Construction Inc., Johnson & Wood Mechanical and Goyette Mechanical) will begin fanning out in specific neighborhoods targeted because their residents are particularly at risk from lead exposure. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Six state workers accused of criminal wrongdoing in the Flint Water Crisis are getting their state paychecks once again - and Flint’s mayor is not happy that.

The six suspended state workers are charged with a total of 18 felony charges. They were initially suspended without pay, but their pay was reinstated this week.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver doesn’t think the six should be getting a state paycheck.

“It makes you question what people’s priorities are,” Weaver told reporters today.  

The expanded legislation would protect more people reporting overdoses
Sharyn Morrow / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Opioid tracking in Michigan is getting an overhaul in the future. A state task force has been working on using millions of dollars to put a dent in Michigan’s opioid drug problem. A big portion of the money and resources will go toward a new opioid tracking system.

Michigan’s current system, MAPS, keeps track of opioid prescriptions and use by patients. That helps law enforcement and medical professionals keep opioids out of the hands of drug abusers.