Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor’s race is just a governor’s signature away from getting back on track. 

The race was thrown into chaos in April after the city clerk gave candidates the wrong date to submit petition signatures. No candidate submitted enough signatures by the correct deadline to qualify for the August primary. 

Tracy Samilton

It's the way of politics.

GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz delivered a well-received speech before a packed crowd at the Livingston County GOP Lincoln Dinner in Howell, Michigan on Wednesday.

But most people will only hear about the joke he made at Joe Biden's expense. 

Thetoad / Flickr

The Legislature has approved budgets for the coming fiscal year.

The K-12 schools budget was enthusiastically endorsed by Republicans and Democrats. Every school district in the state will see a funding bump of $70 to $140 per student under the new K-12 budget the Legislature just sent to Governor Rick Snyder.

Today on Stateside:

  • How much personal debt is too much? Dr. Kristin Seefeldt talks about why debt levels among poor, near-poor and moderate-income households has ballooned over the past decade. 
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan House is considering a bill that would exempt some footage obtained from police body-warn cameras from the Freedom of Information Act.

The bill would make police audio and video recordings taken in a private place, connected to an ongoing investigation, or relating to a civil action exempt from FOIA.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials with the United States Army and the city of Flint are apologizing to people in a city neighborhood jarred by a series of explosions on Tuesday.

The loud explosions were part of a training exercise at a former school building nearby. The event was not publicly announced beforehand. 

Leaders of TPP member states and prospective member states at a TPP summit in 2010.
user Gobierno de Chile / flickr

Michigan’s congressional delegation is divided on a major trade deal before the House this week.

Supporters say the "Trans Pacific Partnership" will boost jobs by expanding exports.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Christina Shockley and political analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about a bill that would stop welfare payments to families if one of their kids misses a lot of school, a proposal that would take away money from the working poor to help fund road repairs, and what could be the beginnings of a statewide or nationwide revolt over too much testing.

Today on Stateside:

- Bridge Magazine’s Nancy Derringer looks at tea party Republican Todd Courser’s approach to governing in Lansing.

- Can you ever recover from wounds you suffer as a child? Detroiter Kelly Fordon explores the broken lives of affluent kids in her short story collection Garden for the Blind.

John-Morgan / creative commons

A state House panel is eyeing the elimination of a tax credit for working poor families to help come up with more money for roads.

Representative Jeff Farrington, R-Utica, chairs the House Roads and Economic Development Committee. He says eliminating the state’s earned income tax credit would add about $120 million for road funding.

Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, and Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, speak of their experiences in Wayne County with parolees looking to find suitable jobs so they do not re-enter the corrections system.
user mihousegop / flickr

State Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, is a long-time proponent of bipartisan action in the House.

Once kicked out of the Democratic Caucus as punishment for locking horns with caucus leaders once too often and for occasionally crossing party lines and voting with Republicans, Santana is now serving his third and final term in the state House as vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The Michigan State House of Representatives in Lansing, Michigan
user CedarBendDrive / flickr

Todd Courser, the conservative freshman Republican state Representative from Lapeer, describes his early years as a "Huckleberry Finn childhood."

Now, he describes himself as "a barbarian warlord" who is "the conscience" of his party.

Nancy Derringer wrote a profile of Courser for Bridge Magazine titled, “Todd Courser hits Lansing like a cannonball.”

Shayan Sanyal / Flickr

Law enforcement groups and prisoner advocates alike are criticizing a bill meant to make it easier for some inmates to get out on parole.

The goal of House Bill 4138 is to cut corrections spending by safely reducing Michigan’s prison population. But the criticism came from all sides at a committee hearing on Tuesday.

What has happened to the once-esteemed Earned Income Tax Credit?  Everyone used to love it.

The EITC is the target this week as state House Republicans continue hearings as they look for ways to raise more than $1 billion for roads without raising taxes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint remains without any candidates on the ballot for the Aug. 4 primary after a judge ruled against a City Council member's request to get his name onto it.

State election officials say that City Clerk Inez Brown mistakenly told candidates their nominating petitions with at least 900 valid signatures were due April 28. The actual deadline was April 21.

Derek Key / Flickr

A state House panel on Tuesday will consider making it easier for some low-level inmates to get out on parole.

“The idea is that we’re trying to reduce our prison population in a way that is fair to everybody concerned, that saves taxpayer dollars, and that helps these individuals reintegrate back into society,” said bill sponsor state Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, who also chairs the House Criminal Justice Committee.

Michigan’s congressional delegation is divided as a major new trade deal tops the agenda this week.

The “Trans Pacific Partnership” would cover U-S imports and exports from a dozen nations.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are set to take final votes this week on the state budget.

It’s expected to include $500,000 to conduct a study on education funding. The goal is to find out how much it costs to educate a student in Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This may be a pivotal week for efforts to get Flint’s mayor’s race back on track.

The state House may vote this week on a bill that would allow Flint to hold an August primary for mayor. 

A screw up by the city clerk meant no candidate filed their petition signatures on time.    

Khimich Alex / Wikimedia Commons

The Home Builders Association of Michigan wants to remove Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) from the state's residential building code.

AFCIs use a computer chip to detect potentially dangerous arc faults in a home's wiring system. If one is detected, the AFCI shuts down power before an electrical fire can start.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Jeb Bush says Michigan is a critical state for Republicans running for president in 2016. The former Florida governor made multiple stops in Michigan on Thursday.

In the afternoon, Bush was in Lansing giving the kind of speech you’d expect from someone eyeing the Republican nomination in 2016. He touted his record as governor of Florida a decade ago and criticized the Obama administration’s economic policies.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White and Eugene Robinson with the Washington Post.
Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, is joining Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White for a discussion on race, health, education and culture during a session hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers want Flint’s city clerk to get more training and supervision.

Or she can resign or be replaced.   

The demands are part of a bill to let Flint hold a mayoral primary in August. 

The city clerk threw the mayor’s race into chaos when she gave the candidates the wrong filing deadline.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

When a struggling city is on its knees, every dollar is precious.

So the idea that millions in federal funds are being lost is appalling.

But a new report from the Government Accountability Office shows that's exactly what's happening in Detroit and Flint, as well as Camden, New Jersey and Stockton, California.

Liz Farmer is a public finance writer for Governing Magazine.

Today on Stateside:

  • What do voters think of Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to overhaul public education in Detroit?
     
  • Chris Benson is getting ready to retire after serving almost 20 years as a tour guide at the state Capitol.
     
  • The poetry of Tarfia Faizullah gives a voice to hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi women who were raped during the that country's Liberation War.
     
  • A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows federal grant money is being lost in Detroit and Flint, as well as Camden, New Jersey, and Stockton, California as those cities lose city employees after austerity cuts.
     
  • Gang members, like everyone it seems, are increasingly using social media. But what are they using it for? A new study sheds some light on this question.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Voters believe providing education for Detroit students is the state's duty, but don't think Governor Snyder's recent proposal is the way to do it, according a recent poll conducted by Public Sector Consultants and Michigan Radio.

Of the 600 likely voters polled, 82% agreed the state has an obligation to provide a quality education to all kids in Detroit, but answers varied when it came down to how to fund that education. 

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

A state elections board has given a green light to a petition drive to ban prevailing wage requirements in Michigan.

The petition language mirrors legislation currently in the state House that would end laws requiring union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects. Those bills appear to be stalled.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons http://tinyurl.com/oall5zn

The state is holding a public hearing Wednesday on a request to add autism to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. 

Lisa Smith of Van Buren Township filed the request to add the disorder to the list.

Smith said her autistic son's severe behavior stopped after taking medical marijuana orally to treat a different condition.

Colleen Allen, president of the Autism Alliance of Michigan, said alternative treatments for the disorder require more study.

On today's program:  

  • There are some 37,000 names in the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry, but there are questions about whether the registry is doing what it is intended to do.
  • A discussion with Chris Skellenger of “Buckets of Rain.” Skellenger moved from a landscape company on the Leelanau Peninsula to urban farming near Detroit.
  • Viviana Pernot talks about her short film about the homeless in Ann Arbor and those who help them. The film is called “The M.I.S.S.I.O.N.”
  • There’s a new idea floating around the state Capitol about how to boost funding for roads. Some say legalizing and taxing marijuana would help.
  • The name “Fruehauf” is an iconic one in American transportation history. It was a Detroit-based blacksmith, August Fruehauf, who invented a semi-trailer to haul lumber.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are some 37,000 names listed in the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Michigan has the fourth-highest per-capita number of people on its list.

But there are questions about Michigan's registry – whether it's really keeping us as safe as we like to think.

People with misdemeanor offenses are listed alongside rapists, pedophiles, and hard-core offenders.

A federal judge recently declared parts of Michigan's registry law to be too vague, even unconstitutional.

J.J. Prescott is a law professor at the University of Michigan. And he's a widely recognized authority on sex offender laws.

Prescott says the state's attempt to monitor these sex offenders may actually contribute to recidivism, as those on the public list are ostracized from society. 

"It's public shaming to the point where somebody might actually say, what's the difference? I'm living as a pariah, miserably, outside of prison," says Prescott.

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