Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Gov. Rick Snyder, U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson answer questions from MLive's statewide editorial board during tonight's live Ballot Bash event in Grand Rapids.

You can watch below:

The event has concluded. See highlights from MLive here, or watch the recorded event here.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Michigan Hall of Justice
User NewCityOne / flickr.com

The Michigan Supreme Court begins its new session this week. 

The first arguments beginning today will concern several issues, including delinquent taxes, Michigan's open meetings law, and governmental immunity from lawsuits.

Actively, the court is stacking up new cases for the coming months. Thus far, the justices have agreed to hear arguments on safety standards on construction sites and whether an armed robbery defendant was denied his right to effective legal assistance.

Lars Plougmann / Creative Commons

Today is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 4th general elections.

To register, you can stop by your local Secretary of State’s office or your county, city or township clerk’s office. Applicants will be required to present a picture ID or sign an affidavit.

Carmella Sabaugh is the county clerk and Register of Deeds of Macomb County. She says the clerk’s office will remain open and accept registrations until midnight on Monday.

“We have got a lot of last-minute registrations that way. The important thing is people have to be registered before they can vote.” 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

KALAMAZOO – Gov. Rick Snyder is more forcefully countering what he calls "the big lie" in his re-election bid – charges that he cut $1 billion in education funding in 2011.

His opponent, Democrat Mark Schauer, isn't shying away from the claim.

 “I would like to clear-up the biggest piece of hogwash on TV today.”

That quote was from Governor Rick Snyder at his first campaign town hall this week, pushing back on claims that his administration cut one billion dollars from the state’s education budget.

“They’re lying to you,” the governor told the town-hall audience on Tuesday evening in Kalamazoo.

And, it’s not just the governor, GOP officials and lawmakers have also released statement after statement calling the billion dollar cut a lie, as well as demanding TV stations pull the ad from rotation.

Mitt Romney
(courtesy of MittRomneyCentral.com)

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Mitt Romney’s recent Michigan visit, billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert’s testimony in Detroit’s bankruptcy trial and allegations that Ferndale police are issuing a disproportionate number of tickets to black drivers. 

Attorney General Bill Schuette has been reelected.
Bill Schuette

The Michigan Legislature has given final approval to bills that aim to "fully combat human trafficking and assist victims."

The bills now head to Gov. Rick Snyder.

Among other things, the bills would let victims clear their criminal records. Minors under age 18 suspected of prostitution would be presumed to be trafficking victims, and "johns" soliciting sex from minors would face tougher criminal penalties.

The Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta sat down with the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Terri Lynn Land  on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014.

She took questions from our statewide audience.

Terri Lynn Land served two terms as Michigan’s 41st Secretary of State (2003-2010). Land was elected to the Republican National Committee. She is a graduate of Grandville High School, and went to Hope College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

Lynn’s Democratic opponent in the race for U.S. Senator is Gary Peters. To listen to our Michigan Calling program with Peters, go here.

Tracy Samilton

Michigan Congressman Kerry Bentivolio is flying back to Michigan from D.C. to file with the Secretary of State as a write-in candidate.

Bentivolio lost the Republican primary to businessman David Trott in August.

Bentivolio says he's not running because he thinks he'll win. He's running to help out a friend – Republican Terri Lynn Land.

Land is behind in the polls against Democrat Gary Peters in the U.S. Senate race.

Bentivolio says many constituents have told him they don't like Trott, so they'll sit out the race rather than vote.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is lending support to GOP U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land.

Romney joined other Michigan Republicans today in Livonia. He said it’s important for Michigan voters to elect Land in November, so Republicans can regain control of the U.S. Senate. Romney says then the GOP will set the national agenda, not President Obama.

“We’ll be passing legislation that will get on his desk,” Romney told the crowd. “In Washington, (Land’s) voice will be one of those that takes us in a very different direction then the president has.”

Today on Stateside:

  • Married women keeping their maiden name doesn't raise any eyebrows these days – that's thanks to a ruling from Michigan's attorney general 40 years ago this week.
  • The Truth Squad has been probing candidates’ claims in the Senate race.
  • Michigan's Liberian community worries as Ebola threatens their loved ones.
  • Millennials are saying “no” to credit cards. We found out why from Detroit News personal finance columnist Brian O’Connor.
  • A University of Michigan research team said that the water in your bottle could be older than the sun.
  • An animal by-product you've never heard of is a key ingredient in perfume. It’s called ambergris.

* Listen to the full show above.

Terri Lynn Land
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The race to fill Carl Levin's seat in the U.S. Senate is one of the most hotly contested in the country.

The sheer number of campaign ads attests to that: Democrat Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land, volleying charges and counter-charges.

Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler has been truth squadding the Peters and Land campaign ads. 

Spangler says that Gary Peters has been accusing Terri Lynn Land of lying about her support of the 2008-09 auto bailout. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Livonia will be the center of Michigan’s political landscape on Thursday.  

Republicans and Democrats are both planning big rallies in the Detroit suburb tomorrow.

The Republicans roll into town first. Their event will be headlined by former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.  

The event’s being called “CommMITT to the Comeback” rally. Top Republican candidates will be there, from Attorney General Bill Schuette to U.S. Senate nominee Terri Lynn Land. 

Noticeably absent is Gov. Rick Snyder.

It’s looking more and more like Republicans and Democrats are doubling-down on getting female voters to the polls in November. As Rick Pluta and I talked about last week in It’s Just Politics:

Michigan is not a decisively blue state because so many Democrats sit out during the mid-term elections … It’s largely why we have a Republican governor, attorney general and secretary of state (many Democrats stayed home on Election Day four years ago). So, the challenge for Democrats is to convince Democrats to get out and vote, especially younger voters, minorities and females, who are statistically more likely to stay at home. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been hearing SO much about the so-called ‘War on women’. 

But, really, it’s a ‘war FOR women.' Women’s votes. Young women’s votes.

We linked to this anti-Obama ad that’s been airing for the past few weeks:

Detroit Public Schools

Detroit City Council recently voted to strip Kevyn Orr of most of his powers as the city's emergency manager. Now, the Detroit Public School Board is hoping to oust their emergency manager as well.

Under Michigan's current emergency manager law, local officials can vote to strip EMs of their power with a two-thirds vote after 18 months.

The Detroit school board voted Monday evening with the belief that Jack Martin’s tenure as emergency manager would end this week.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss Detroit’s water shutoffs, Detroit Public School’s emergency manager and updates from the campaign trail.

CDC

Congressional candidates in mid-Michigan appeared together in a debate Tuesday night. The 8th District candidates were asked about the usual topics, and one very unusual topic.

Ebola.

The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States turned up in Texas.   

The man flew to the U.S. from Liberia in West Africa before he was diagnosed with the deadly virus. Officials say the unidentified patient is critically ill and has been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since Sunday.

Today on Stateside:

  • The crisis grows for Michigan football: Shane Morris did suffer a concussion. Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon shared his thoughts.
  • Fifty years ago, Ford gave America the Mustang, and America has loved it ever since. We look at the Mustang's past and its future.
  • Poet and writer Keith Taylor is here with his picks for our fall reading.
  • Detroit is getting serious about the luxury car business, but Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes doubted things would be any different this time.
  • First Write A House program winner Casey Rocheteau will be leaving Brooklyn to start her new life in her new Detroit house north of Hamtramck.
  • We explored the cloth doll Raggedy Ann’s strong roots in West Michigan.

*Listen to the full show above.

Through the 2014 election season, Michigan Radio is providing opportunities for listeners to learn about the important issues being discussed and hear from many of the candidates running for office.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The race for Michigan governor is moving into its final weeks.

Gov. Rick Snyder held the first of 10 town hall events last night in Kalamazoo on the campus of Western Michigan University.

  

Snyder was greeted by a group that wants to make him a one-term governor.  Protester JoeAnne Peterson is a retired teacher who's angry with the governor for several reasons, including right-to-work laws and increasing taxes on Michigan pensioners.

“I do have a right to say you took. You didn’t ask,” Peterson said.

Photo courtesy of Michigan's Attorney General office / michigan.gov

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says his office will investigate a possible murder-for-hire plot involving a prison food service worker.

Michigan State Police suspects an Aramark employee of approaching an inmate of an Upper Peninsula prison about having another inmate killed.

The Detroit Free Press first reported the story last week. Now the attorney general’s office says it will launch its own investigation into the incident. It says the local State Police post in Sault Ste. Marie requested the investigation.

Today on Stateside:

  • Food stamp cuts are looming for some Michigan families.
  • Nearly 14 billion years of history in one course: The Big History Project is designed to change the way our kids learn history.
  • Living in the Upper Peninsula means you might drive 60 miles one way to get to a well-stocked grocery store. We looked at food insecurity in the U.P.
  • Water shutoffs to Detroiters who haven't paid their bills are not going to stop – that was the result of a ruling today by federal bankruptcy judge Stephen Rhodes.
  • Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reported on the Cody Comets' first game on their new field, named "Hope Field."

* Listen to the full show above.

SST inc.

A Detroit Police Department pilot project is using gunfire detection technology to reduce gun crime.

Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said the ShotSpotter system identifies "gunfire in a specific area wherever the technology is set up." He said it is designed to also pinpoint the location, time, and direction of gunshots.

Rick Snyder wants the U.S., not Canada, to pay for the Ambassador Bridge's customs plaza.
Michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder told a business conference in Grand Rapids today that he expects the new international border crossing between Detroit and Ontario will provide a boost to the entire Michigan economy.

The bridge will be largely financed by the Canadian government, which agreed to pay for both sides of the bridge after the Michigan Legislature balked at funding the project. However, Snyder believes it to be the United States' responsibility to to pick up the costs of the U.S. customs plaza. 

Lame ducks?
Simone Walsh / Flickr

This is the last week the state Legislature is scheduled to meet before the November election. Lawmakers probably won’t take up any controversial bills until their “lame duck” session in December.

Supporters of legislation to add LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law are still optimistic lawmakers will pass it before the end of the year.

“I’m pretty heartened by the openness that [state House Speaker Jase Bolger] has shown to us in having those discussions,” said Shelli Weisberg with the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union .

“But it’s going to be tough.”

Weisberg admits it would be a setback if the bill has to wait until 2015.

“I think it does make it harder to go into a new legislative session because we’ve got new members and we have to really put forth a whole new, kind of fresh education effort,” she said.

Gov. Rick Snyder says his top legislative priority before the end of the year is boosting funding for roads and infrastructure.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he wants to relax term limits on state lawmakers.

Lawmakers could also approve bills to relax restrictions on medical marijuana in Michigan during their lame duck session.

The persuadable voter. Political independents. There are not as many of them as there used to be. And they don’t seem to be the center of this campaign season as they have been in previous years (remember the ‘Soccer Mom’ or ‘Security Mom’?).

This year’s campaigns seem much more focused on getting out base voters. And, that is why we present a bold prediction: President Barack Obama will come visit Michigan before Election Day.

Democrats have pinned their hopes this year on Democratic-voter turnout. Michigan is a decidedly blue state. Democrats have a five or six-point behavioral - that is how people vote, not what they call themselves - advantage in Michigan. That advantage is why Democrats have won the last six presidential elections in Michigan.

But, Michigan is not a decisively blue state because so many Democrats sit out during the mid-term elections. And, that gives Michigan Republicans their best changes in statewide races. It’s largely why we have a Republican governor, attorney general and secretary of state (many Democrats stayed home on Election Day four years ago).

But, there’s another part of the equation: Republicans can’s win on their own. Yes, Michigan Republicans typically have a turnout advantage in mid-term elections, but it doesn’t get them all the way to victory. To win, Republicans have to win at least a slim majority of the independents who turn out to vote.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT –  The federal government has launched the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative in Flint to improve the city.

In January, Flint was chosen to be a part of the program, also called SC2. The program uses experts to work alongside city leadership, community organizations, local business and philanthropic foundations to support the cities' visions for economic growth and development.

Michigan State Police

DETROIT – The U.S. Small Business Administration says it's making low-interest disaster loans available to home and business owners in Detroit-area counties that suffered massive flooding last month.

The Friday announcement followed President Barack Obama issuing a federal disaster declaration the day before. That action makes available funding to those affected in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

user memories_by_mike / Flickr

This Week in Review, Jack 
Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss the latest polls for Michigan’s governor and U.S.Senate races, Detroit’s decision to keep emergency manager Kevyn Orr on board for now, and the latest scandal with Aramark, the state’s food services provider.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s a lot of money being spent to elect Michigan’s Supreme Court justices.

The eight candidates running for three open slots on the Michigan Supreme Court have spent nearly $700,000 on TV ad buys as of this week.  

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