Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water & Light fired its general manager today during a brief, hastily called meeting. 

With little discussion, the BWL commission voted five to three to terminate J. Peter Lark’s contract. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is getting its fourth, and possibly its last, emergency manager.

Flint city finance adviser Jerry Ambrose is replacing outgoing emergency manager Darnell Earley. Earley is leaving after 15 months to take the same job with the Detroit Public Schools.

Voters approved term limits in November; so Grand Rapids will get a new mayor this year.

The first candidate to announce he’s in the running is Jared Funk. The 24-year-old may not have a job right now. He may not have a college degree either. But he’s got spirit.

“It’s the ideas and inspiration and enthusiasm of youth that I think the city really requires at this time and that it can be tempered by those who have more experience and who are wiser and more saged [sic] in politics and in governing,” Funk said.

Digital Archaeology / Flickr

A new commission will be tasked with finding ways to cut Michigan’s prison spending without compromising public safety. Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation on Monday creating the panel.

Michigan currently spends about $2 billion a year on its corrections system. Advocates say much of that money is wasted “warehousing” criminals who have already served their minimum sentences and who pose no threat to public safety.

.matter. / Flickr

  More low-level offenders will be able to have their criminal records erased from public records under a bill Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law Monday.

People will be able to ask the court that convicted them to erase up to one felony or two misdemeanors.

“We really think that this gives people with records a really meaningful second chance,” said Shelli Weisberg with the ACLU of Michigan.

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to start signing bills Monday as part of a package to boost state road funding. The legislation is contingent on a May ballot question that would raise Michigan’s sales tax from six percent to seven percent.

If voters approve the plan, the new revenue is expected to raise more than $1 billion for roads and infrastructure, $300 million for schools, $130 million for mass transit, and almost $100 million for local governments every year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has torn his right Achilles tendon and will be in a cast for six weeks.

The Republican governor told reporters Sunday that he felt a "pop" after jogging during a vacation in Florida. He's since visited doctors in Florida and Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint's emergency manager says he will not approve a return to Detroit's water system, even though the city's switch to using water from the Flint River has been rife with problems.

Flint ditched its water contract with Detroit, and began using water from the Flint River instead this spring.  Complaints surfaced early on about the water's taste. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state emergency loan board approved a modified firefighters contract that Emergency Manager Darnell Early says will save $600,000 in the first year, and $6 million dollars long-term. 

Firefighters had proposed their own concessions, but the State Treasury says those were rejected because they didn't achieve the same cost savings.

YouTube

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark discuss stories which seem new but are actually just more of the same. Dave Agema, President Obama and the 114th Congress are all giving Michigan a sense of Déjà vu.


Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes subject to clean-up by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
User airbutchie / flickr.com

A proposal to continue a wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program has been resurrected in Congress after falling short last month.

Rep. David Joyce, R-OH, introduced the bill Thursday. It would extend the soon-to-expire Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for another five years and authorize spending $300 million annually.

At this time next year, we will likely be poised to dive into the Michigan presidential primary season. You might find this slightly nauseating but the presidential campaigns are already ramping up, particularly on the Republican side.

Warren Evans on Instagram

With the start of the New Year, Warren Evans became the new county executive of Wayne County, and with it he's inheriting a daunting pile of problems.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes recently published the article "Fiscal fight fraught for Wayne County's Evans." He joined us to discuss what Evans has inherited from his predecessor, Robert Ficano, and what he can do to improve the county's financial situation.

Dave Agema
Dave Agema / Facebook

This year is starting off with some controversy for Michigan Republicans. Republican National Committeeman, Dave Agema, re-posted an article on his Facebook page that leveled attacks at African-Americans and Muslims.

This is not the first time Agema has courted controversy and there are renewed calls for him to step down.

John-Morgan / creative commons

One of Governor Snyder's first challenges of the New Year might come from his own party. There could be a push by Republican lawmakers to roll back the personal income tax rate.

Governor Snyder is gearing up to ask voters to approve a boost in the state's sales tax to pay for road repairs, so a call to cut individual income taxes might seem like a mixed message to some.

Detroit News Lansing Bureau reporter Chad Livengood joined us to talk about this. Listen to our conversation with him below.

AUDIO

Today on Stateside:

  • Republicans will push to roll back the personal income tax rate.
  • Popular buzz has pegged this as a pretty miserable flu season. Are stats backing this up?
  • The Kiwanis Club started just about one hundred years ago in Detroit.
  • Mandatory testing days for Michigan's 11th graders this year are doubling - even tripling, in some areas.
  • Michigan singer/songwriter Abigail Stauffer has a new album out this week called Where I’m Going.
  • This type of snow might not show up on your radar app.

migop.org

Some controversial Facebook posts have re-kindled the condemnation and defense of Michigan’s controversial Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema.

Agema recently re-posted an article to his Facebook page ostensibly written by a defense attorney that takes aim at African Americans. The post has since been removed, but not before an MLive columnist took a screenshot and wrote a piece about it. Agema also posted about Muslims following the terrorist attack in Paris. He says U.S. and Michigan leaders refuse to recognize that Muslims are “the enemy.”

Michigan's next Senator Gary Peters.
U.S. Representative Gary Peters

This week in Michigan Politics, Jack and Emily discuss President Barack Obama's Detroit trip as well as the state's outgoing and incoming US Congress members.


Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

West Michigan Congressman Justin Amash was part of a small wave of Republicans who voted against John Boehner for speaker of the House today. Boehner’s leadership position wasn’t really in question, but the defection was the largest in recent history.

Amash and Boehner have a history that’s been tense at times.

This is the second time Amash has voted against Boehner for House speaker. The first time was a couple of years ago, shortly after Beohner kicked Amash off the budget committee.

Atlantic Council / Flickr

Five new members of Michigan's congressional delegation were sworn into office today: Democrats Debbie Dingell and Brenda Lawrence, and Republicans Dave Trott, Mike Bishop and John Moolenaar.

We spoke with Dingell about how she’ll differ from her husband, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, John Dingell; how Michigan will do now that giants like Dingell and Senator Carl Levin have retired; and how she wants to convince weary, skeptical voters that Michigan's five freshmen actually will be bipartisan.

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI).
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

The 114th Congress begins today. Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) joined us from Capitol Hill.

Listen to our conversation with him below.


Today on Stateside:

  • Dan Kildee talks to us about the start of the new Congress
  • Body cameras for police officers
  • Car tech is big at the Consumer Electronics Show
  • The vintage words we should bring back in 2015
  • A new cancer program helps survivors before and after treatment
Office of the Wayne County Executive

The new Wayne County executive, Warren Evans, has kicked off his term by announcing a 5 percent cut to  the salaries of all his appointees.  

Evans said the move will save Wayne County taxpayers $1.2 million. He said he will also make nine fewer executive appointments than his predecessor.

Today on Stateside:

  • Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press looks ahead to the 114th Congress.
  • A new year and a new budget, we serve up some money strategies to start 2015.
  • The future for music teachers in Michigan.
  • The Leo Sarkisian Collection, one of the world's most extensive and valuable collections of African music, has come to the University of Michigan.
  • How the four-thousand square foot Detroit Dart Club in Detroit's midtown got its start.
  • And a new year means a new budget. We ring in the year with some finance tips that will affect your bottom line.
Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne.
Dwight Burdette / wikimedia commons

President Obama will visit Michigan this Wednesday to deliver remarks at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne. 

The 114th Congress gets to work tomorrow. It’s a Congress that will be led by Republicans in both the House and Senate for the first time in 8 years.

Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press breaks down what we can expect.

Listen to our conversation with Spangler below.

User: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia Commons

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says he’d like all of his officers to wear body cameras by 2016.

Hadley has some concerns about citizens’ privacy and the costs, but he thinks the cameras will be worth it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council is expected to fill two vacant seats on Monday.

The vacancies were created when two Flint city council members were elected to other offices in November. Former councilman Sheldon Neeley was elected to the state House of representatives. Former councilman Bryant Nolden is taking a seat on the Genesee County Board of Commissioners. 

Universty of Michigan QB Devin Gardner sacked by Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun during the 2013 MSU-UM football game.
User: Michigan State Spartans / facebook

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Governor Rick Snyder’s air gun legislation veto, a new criminal justice commission, and legislation that forbids Michigan public university athletes from unionizing.


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says Republican lawmakers should not be too quick to adopt tax cuts this year.

“I think people should work under that assumption, that it could be very difficult. And, first, let’s make sure we’re being fiscally responsible.”

Nevertheless, some incoming GOP lawmakers say they’d like to cut the state income tax.

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