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Stateside 1.17.2017

Jan 17, 2017

Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing is today. DeVos is pro-charter schools, but today we hear why one charter school teacher from Detroit is anti-DeVos. And, a mom from Manistee explains why her kids have a future now, thanks to the President-elect.

From left to right: Macomb County County Executive Mark Hackel, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, and Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller
From left to right: Macomb County government, City of Warren, GOP.gov

Metro Detroit's infamous Macomb County might be "the most politically craziest county in Michigan, if not the planet."

Courtesy of Jerry Isler

All this week on Stateside, we look at how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect Michigan residents, hospitals and governments.

According to the Health and Human Services Department, some 20 million Americans have gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. President-elect Donald Trump has made repealing and replacing Obamacare a top campaign pledge, and in recent days, Congress has taken steps to quickly repeal much of the ACA once he takes office.

What would such a repeal mean for families who rely on the law for their coverage?

Courtesy of Renee White

On Jan. 20, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as our 45th President of the United States.  The election was one of the most contentious in recent memory and has exposed or inflamed serious divisions in American society. All this week on Stateside, we’ll speak with Michiganders who were drawn to the President-elect’s message about their hopes for the new administration.

Renee White is a substitute teacher from Manistee. She’s also a mom worried about her kids in today’s economy.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Thousands showed up at a rally in Warren on Sunday where Democratic Presidential Candidate and Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, along with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, all joined together vowing to fight Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

It was one of dozens of rallies held across the country in support of Obamacare.

Michigan Senator Gary Peters joined Stateside to discuss the rally and what he’s hearing from Michigan voters and lawmakers with regard to the ACA and Republican repeal efforts.

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

As Governor Rick Snyder prepares to deliver his seventh State of the State address, a potential candidate to replace him has called for ethics rules that would align Michigan with what the federal government requires.

Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) has proposed a federal law to require state lawmakers to disclose their sources of income and possible conflicts of interest. That’s the same standard applied to members of Congress.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

With President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration just days away, some Michigan Congress members are speaking out about his latest Twitter feud.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis called Trump an illegitimate president during an interview with NBC News. Then, days before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Trump fired back at the civil rights hero on Twitter saying he was “all talk”.

Now Lewis and over twenty members of Congress are speaking out against Trump by boycotting his inauguration.

Stateside 1.16.2017

Jan 16, 2017

Today, we learn why Trump's business experience ultimately won over one Detroit area surgeon. And, we take a pilgrimage to the late Marvin Yagoda's Marvelous Mechanical Museum. 

Today's silent march in Ypsilanti.
Courtesy of Lynne Settles

There is extra special importance to this Martin Luther King Day in Ypsilanti.

Remarkably, it was 150 years ago on this day that abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass spoke in Ypsilanti – one of three visits Douglass made to the town.

Today, Ypsilanti High School students are marking both MLK Day and the Douglass visit with a silent march to the site of that speech that happened in 1867. In commemoration, they’re also opening an art exhibit.

VoteBusuitoWSU.com

On Jan. 20, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as our 45th President of the United States.  The election was one of the most contentious in recent memory and has exposed or inflamed serious divisions in American society. All this week on Stateside, we’ll speak with Michiganders who were drawn to the President-elect’s message about their hopes for the new administration.

The inauguration of Donald Trump as our 45th President is Friday. Stateside has been speaking with people in Michigan who supported the President-elect.

Dr. Michael Busuito is a plastic surgeon who was just elected to the Wayne State Board of Governors.

The Davert family.
Taylor'd Photography/Courtesy of Melissa Davert


All this week on Stateside, we look at how the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect Michigan residents, hospitals and governments.

The future of the Affordable Care Act is in doubt. President-elect Donald Trump wants to scrap it and replace it, and the Republican majority in Congress is on board with that idea.

According to government figures, nationwide, since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion began, about 20 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage. Census data show that the uninsured rate in Michigan in 2015 was cut in half. It’s now at 6.1%, down from 12.4% uninsured in 2010.

But, there are problems. Some families are worse off.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In Lansing, the city council will try again tomorrow to pick a new leader.

The council traditionally picks a new president in January. And as is somewhat traditional, they’re having trouble agreeing on who it should be.

The council has met twice already this year, but no one has garnered enough votes to win the center seat on the council horseshoe. Tuesday’s meeting will give the 8 council members a chance to break their deadlock.

This is a pivotal year for the Lansing city council, with four seats up for election this fall.

We used to be a pretty big deal in Congress but, now, Michigan’s House delegation is in a re-building season.

A new session of Congress has been sworn in in D.C. and for the first time in generations none of our Michigan Representatives are committee chairs.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Preparing Flint’s water plant to treat water from a new Lake Huron pipeline will take a few years.

Problems at the water plant helped to create Flint’s current troubles with lead-tainted tap water. 

JoLisa McDay, Flint’s interim utilities director, told a town hall meeting Wednesday that it’s about more than buying new equipment. 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is back in session, and the bills are rolling in. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry look at a bill that would phase out the state income tax, and another that would end daylight saving time in Michigan.

They also discuss Education Secretary nominee Betsy Devos' rescheduled confirmation hearing, Detroit's newly elected school board, and Gov. Rick Snyder's upcoming State of the State address.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan says it has money to replace faucets in as many as 4,000 Flint homes.

  The state says brass faucets and other brass components can contribute to lead in drinking water. The state plans to target Flint homes that still are showing high lead levels, despite improvements in water quality elsewhere in the city.

  Homes that qualify will have one kitchen faucet and one bathroom faucet replaced. Some plumbing will also be replaced. Health department Director Nick Lyon says it's a "vital step" in helping residents.

Stateside 1.13.2017

Jan 13, 2017

Today, we talk to Sen. Debbie Stabenow about why she opposes the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education. Plus, we chat with the head of the state Department of Transportation about Michigan’s role in developing driverless cars.

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

The new Michigan legislature was in session this week, and there has been no shortage of topics to discuss.

To help sort through it all in Stateside's weekly political roundup is Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader; and Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some Michigan House Democrats are making voter reform a primary goal for the new session.

With only two session days of the year under their belt, several lawmakers have introduced legislation that would, among other things, allow no reason absentee voting and automatic voter registration.

State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn, is a bill sponsor. He said these bills packages are long overdue.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Republicans in Congress are working quickly to set the stage for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. The Senate’s Republican majority took the lead in the effort. At this point, it does not appear that they have a clear plan for a replacement healthcare policy.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow joined Stateside on Friday to discuss these recent developments in the U.S. Capitol. She said that the lack of a replacement plan is a problem.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr

In just five years, more than 35% of American households could find themselves unable to afford water bills.

That’s the startling conclusion of a new study from Michigan State University.

Today, we speak with the head of Michigan's Democratic Party, Brandon Dillon. Also, despite a scientific consensus that Flint water quality is improving, Flint residents are still skeptical. We get Congressman Dan Kildee's take on yesterday's Town Hall meeting in Flint.

Flint residents packed a town hall meeting yesterday to hear a “progress report” on their drinking water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents packed a town hall meeting last night to hear a progress report on their water.

As EPA Region 5 Acting Regional Administrator Robert Kaplan said on Stateside on Wednesday, an array of scientific tests and data show that the water is improving, but as people were told last night by the EPA, Flint's tap water isn't safe to drink unless its been run through a filter.

MichiganDems.com

There is no way to sugar-coat the results of the November election if you're a Democrat. It was a disaster, anyway you cut it.

How do Democrats regroup, re-calibrate and rebuild?

That's the job of the Chairman of Michigan's Democratic Party Brandon Dillon and he joined Stateside to talk about it.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan legislature is back in session yesterday. The House of Representatives formally welcomed 42 new state representatives, chose their seats, and formally elected new Speaker of the House Tom Leonard. 

Bipartisanism was Leonard’s main message, and the session started in that spirit with Leonard’s nomination. Democratic Leader Sam Singh seconded Leonard’s nomination also urging bipartisanism during the term.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver (at the podium) was joined by national and local experts to discuss the latest Flint water test results.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Government and independent experts told people at a town hall meeting in Flint last night that the city’s lead-tainted tap water is improving. But audience members remained skeptical. 

Stateside 1.11.2017

Jan 11, 2017

It's a new year and a fresh start for the Michigan Legislature, with a new session kicking off today. We meet the new speaker of the state House. Plus, we hear about what happened when the state automated its unemployment claims system. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A report from the state auditor general says Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency isn't doing enough to collect the delinquent taxes from employers.   

In 2013, after the state began using an automated system to identify cases of unemployment insurance fraud, more than 20,000 people were wrongfully accused, with an error rate of 93%. Staff at the agency have since moved away from the automated system, and the director has been reassigned to work on special projects.

For those who were targeted by the faulty computer system, however, changes at the agency may offer little consolation.

The new House Speaker, Tom Leonard from DeWitt, wants to bring civility back to the political process in Lansing.
GOPHouse.org

It's a new year and a fresh start for the Michigan Legislature with a new session kicking off today.

In the State House, there are 43 new members and a brand-new speaker: DeWitt Republican Representative Tom Leonard.

Leonard joined Stateside to talk about his path to House Speaker. Starting out as a college kid wanting to be the next Jerry Maguire to law school and later a prosecutor and a politician.

He talked about his new role as House speaker, and what his priorities are for the Legislature in 2017. He would like to see the teacher pension system fixed and he plans to be a champion for mental health reform (especially among prisoners).

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Some Flint residents have said they're worried that Flint's water will meet federal standards and get the "all-clear."

For This Week in Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and Michiga Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what government leaders need to do to ensure that people don't feel the process in Flint isn't being rushed. 

They also talk about whether we'll see a political shift from Gov. Rick Snyder during his final two years in office, a bill that would repeal Michigan's school turnaround law, and the odd mix of electric vehicles and SUVs at the North American International Auto Show


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