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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

STEVE CARMODY / Michigan Radio

The City of Flint is considering changing its charter, which could change how city government operates, taxes and more. It could stiffen ethics rules and change other rules to make city hall more transparent.

The Flint Charter Review Commission is proposing the changes. Cleora Magee chairs that commission and she joined Stateside to discuss.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is out with a report on the Flint water crisis that its authors intend will ensure that “another Flint does not happen again."

Commission chair Arthur Horwitz thanked Flint residents for sharing their stories during their year-long investigation.

“At a time when you placed  trust in virtually no government entity, you looked at this commission and department … and provided us with an opportunity to earn your trust,” says Horwitz.

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

An income tax rollback, a more transparent government and reducing auto insurance rates - those are some of the main priorities for House Republicans during this session. 

They rolled out the plan Thursday.

Passing a high priority piece of legislation is already underway. The income tax phase-out is moving forward quickly – over Governor Snyder’s objections.

Detroit's Freedom House may have to close

Feb 16, 2017
Nick Hagen / Freedom House

Detroit's Freedom House has lost its federal funding for the first time in more than 20 years. And it may have to shut down or substantially reduce its services.

Freedom House provides transitional housing and comprehensive services under one roof to asylum seekers who are fleeing persecution, rape and torture in their home countries. 

Executive Director Deborah Drennan said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development denied Freedom House's grant application in December, and Freedom House has appealed the decision.  

flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

State House Republicans are aggressively pushing through an income tax cut and rollback, despite numerous questions raised during a committee hearing about what funding cuts could happen in other areas if the bill passes.

A bill that would cut the state income tax and eventually phase it out altogether over 40 years was voted out of committee Wednesday. This happened after an hour and a half of testimony and over requests to hold off on a vote from some Democratic members.

Flint residents Laura and Sean MacIntyre stopped paying their water bills in 2016.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

People in Flint who have been getting the state to help pay their water bills appear to be losing that help.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver met with Governor Snyder on Tuesday. She was unable to get him to budge from the decision to put an early end to the state-funded subsidy program that helped people pay for the water they can't safely drink without a filter.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she felt “anger and disappointment” after a meeting with the governor this week, where he rejected her request to continue state credits on city water bills.

The state has spent $40 million on a credit on Flint water bills during the past 12 months.  The credits were for water that didn’t meet federal quality standards.  

However, Gov. Snyder says Flint’s water quality is now comparable to other communities.  The governor’s office says “residents don’t ‘have’ to use a filter,” though it is recommended in areas where pipes are being replaced.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

At a meeting with Detroit parents and school administrators earlier this week, one of the governor's advisors told the crowd "there's no way in the world" the state will close 38 failing schools this year.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will discuss what’s next for her city, now that the governor has refused to restart state credits on Flint water bills.

Gov. Rick Snyder met with Mayor Weaver Tuesday afternoon.  Snyder described the meeting as “constructive," but the governor is not budging on the decision to end state credits on city tax bills.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has signaled his support for President Trump’s law enforcement policies, raising some eyebrows around Detroit.

Craig spoke about Trump’s recent pro-police executive orders with Neil Cavuto on Fox News last week.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing is not yet Michigan’s next "sanctuary city."

After two and half hours of passionate, though civil, public comment, the Lansing city council decided to table the resolution.  

The resolution actually stopped short of declaring Lansing a “sanctuary city." Instead, it describes Michigan’s capitol city as a “welcoming” city. 

Stateside 2.13.2017

Feb 13, 2017

Today on Stateside, U.S. Senator Gary Peters talks about the current climate in Washington, Russian sanctions, Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Democratic resistance to the Trump administration's policies, and Peters' support of a missile defense base in Battle Creek. 

Governor Rick Snyder has laid out his budget plan for the coming year. He wants the state to save more, pay down debt and spend on infrastructure.

Republicans in the Legislature are not necessarily opposed to those ideas, but many of them are also calling for tax cuts, which means less money for those things Snyder wants.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

People for and against the idea of "sanctuary cities" are expected to be on hand for Monday night’s Lansing city council meeting.

Lansing officials have been weighing whether to make Michigan’s state capitol a "sanctuary city," by creating policies to protect undocumented immigrants from prosecution under federal immigration laws.  It’s a decision that could cost the city millions of dollars.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Authorities in Traverse City are reminding residents that their new congressman is a public figure but his staff uses space in a private building.

Large groups apparently have been eager to see U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman or his staff in northern Michigan, which could be discouraging others who want access to other businesses.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle  says Bergman's landlord asked sheriff's deputies to address the problem. Lt. Chris Barsheff says 50 to 100 people can't show up and "create issues."

kate wells / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Critics and supporters of Planned Parenthood have squared off outside a Detroit clinic during a protest over federal funding for the group.

It was one of many rallies around Michigan on Saturday.

The Detroit event attracted more than 300 people. The crowds on both sides of Cass Avenue were dominated by Planned Parenthood supporters who chanted and held signs in favor of abortion rights and access to health care. President Donald Trump was also a target.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A former chairman of the Michigan Republican party is leading the GOP again.

Ron Weiser was unanimously elected Saturday as chairman. Ronna Romney McDaniel stepped down to become head of the national party.

Meanwhile, Brandon Dillon was given another term as chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party. Both parties are holding conventions this weekend.

Weiser told 3,000 party members in Lansing that "united we win; divided we lose." McDaniel gave a farewell speech, saying President Donald Trump's victory gives Michigan "the respect it deserves."

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A record amount of money was spent in 2016 on Michigan state House races.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network combed through spending reports and other sources to determine $27 million was spent on House campaigns last year.   The previous record was $25.4 million in 2014. 

Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Rick Snyder rolled out his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year this week. Not everyone is happy, including some members of Snyder's own party. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lesseberry take a closer look at the governor's proposed budget. 

They also talk about the Detroit school board's threat to sue the state over possible school closures, Michigan's latest gubernatorial candidate, and the results of the state's election audit.

Stateside 2.10.2017

Feb 10, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear about Trump's less-talked-about executive order on immigration and how it's affected people in Michigan. And, in response to a listener's question, we learn what Michigan would lose if the EPA is eliminated.

Andrey Belenko / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal appeals panel in the 9th U.S. Circuit has upheld a lower court’s ruling against an executive order by President Donald Trump. That order temporarily banned people of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The three-judge panel suggested the executive order did nothing to make the nation safer, and that the Trump administration didn’t present any evidence that people from the seven countries were a threat to the U.S.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Michigan, joined Stateside to talk about the ruling it's effect on the Muslim community.

Two of the biggest topics of the week when it comes to Michigan politics involved the proposal to mandate employers to let workers earn paid sick time and the effort to put gerrymandering on the ballot in 2018.
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder released his budget proposal this week, and there's a lot of discussion about how the state's money will be spent, or not spent, in the upcoming year. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents are worried the burden of fixing their broken water system is once again falling on them.

Chanting “We don’t pay for poison water,” dozens of Flint residents filled the lobby at city hall to protest looming water shutoffs of people who haven’t been paying their water and sewer bills.   

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers
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.

people in voting booths
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. 

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