Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Gov. Snyder is taking heat regarding decisions made by his Emergency Managers that lead to the Flint water crisis
Gov. Rick Snyder / screengrab

A state elections board has rejected a petition seeking to recall Governor Rick Snyder over the Flint water crisis.

The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers says the petition is premature since there are still inquiries underway into what happened in Flint, and the allegations are unproven. Democrats and Republicans on the board voted to reject the petition, which says Snyder is “culpable” for the contamination.

Jeb Bush
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says a slimmed-down tax code and fewer environmental regulations would boost the economies of manufacturing states – and promises to adopt that sort of “pro-growth” strategy should make the Republican ticket attractive to voters in industrial states like Michigan and Pennsylvania come November of 2016.

“The only way to grow income for the middle class and lift people out of poverty is to grow the economy, and I know how to do it,” he told a crowd gathered at the Kent County Republican headquarters in Grand Rapids.

wikipedia

Democrats in the state Legislature want to establish water as a “human right” under state law. It’s part of a package of bills meant to address tap water contamination and mass water shutoffs in cities like Flint and Detroit.

“What we’re seeing is a complete disregard for human life, human safety, and the future of our children,” said Melissa Mays, a Flint resident who says her entire family has health problems because of contaminated water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Secretary of State has released the initial list of Republican and Democratic candidates who will appear on the March 8 presidential primary ballot.

The Republicans:

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Michigan’s use of emergency managers. The Flint water fiasco, the decline of the Detroit Public School system – that all happened under the watch of state-appointed emergency managers.

While much has been said and written about Detroit getting through bankruptcy quickly, there are a lot of long-lasting effects of the city’s time under an emergency manager, including, but certainly not limited to, Belle Isle Park being turned over to state management, which some Detroit residents find frustrating.

user alkruse24 / Flickr

With the roads funding plan behind them, the Michigan Legislature is on break until December. When they return, fixing Detroit Public Schools will be at the top of the legislative agenda.

Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a controversial plan for DPS that would start a new district responsible for educational instruction and general operations while leaving the roughly $500 million in legacy debt with the old district.

  • Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality is asking the city of Flint for information that would show where the city's lead service lines are. Federal regulations require those homes to be sampled to determine the health of the water system, but Flint doesn't know where those houses are. Lindsey Smith gives us an update.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s presidential primary ballot will begin to shape up this week.

Michigan’s Republican and Democratic presidential primaries are March 8. 

But who gets a spot on the ballot? Hundreds of people are running for president of the United States. Of course, you’ve heard of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But how about John Blyth or Mike Diggs?

Protesters in Flint.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be watching over the state of Michigan's shoulder to make sure our drinking water is safe.

The EPA will audit the state's drinking water safety program after the state Department of Environmental Quality admitted it failed to use the correct protocols when it approved the switch to the Flint River as the primary source of drinking water for Flint.

That mistake led to dangerously high lead levels in that city's drinking water.

Flint's Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee joined us today to discuss the EPA’s audit.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be watching over the State of Michigan's shoulder to make sure our drinking water is safe. Flint's Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee joined us today to talk about the EPA's audit.
  • Nearly five decades after fighting as an infantryman in Vietnam, Tim Keenan of Traverse City realized it was time to go back to Vietnam.
Jake Neher / MPRN

State lawmakers are taking a three-week break for deer hunting and Thanksgiving.

  

And they’ll have a lot of work waiting for them when they return to Lansing.

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry explained the politics behind the freshly passed roads funding bill and how it won't actually fix roads for a few years. He also gave an update on the Flint drinking water crisis and how it resulted in a new mayor in that city. 

Lars Plougmann

Michigan would end straight-ticket voting under a bill that cleared the state Senate on Tuesday.

Voters would no longer be able to fill in one dot to vote for all candidates representing one political party on a ballot.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that will increase fuel taxes and registration fees and re-prioritize spending to raise more than $1 billion to fix roads.

Today on Stateside:

  • Over the past few days, thousands of federal inmates were released from prison due to a change in the way the federal government sentences drug criminals. Brandon Sample gives us a closer look at the largest one-time release of federal prisoners.
     

  • The Rovi Media Collection is the largest media collection in the country: CDs, DVDs, and video games. All entertainment, and now all in the care of Michigan State University.

     

Lloydpictures.com

It was 2008 when Michigan launched a generous tax-credit program to lure Hollywood filmmakers here. At the time it was so popular, only one legislator voted against it. And Hollywood came: big stars, big productions could be seen shooting throughout the state.

A deli that accepts food stamps
Flickr user Eric / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A Michigan senate bill would let some state workers arrest people for retail trafficking of food stamps and other benefits.

The bill would give a small group of specialized state agents power to arrest retailers without a warrant if they have probable cause.

Currently, agents with the state Department of Health and Human Services can only take action against benefit recipients engaged in trafficking.

Today on Stateside: 

These 14 states were in the bottom of the rankings. Michigan was ranked the worst.
Center for Public Integrity

Fiftieth out of fifty states.

That's where Michigan ranks in a report released today by the Center for Public Integrity.

The last time we wrote about this, Michigan ranked 43rd out of 50. 

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Now that state lawmakers have cobbled together a roads package, the spotlight can turn to fresh priorities.

For example, fixing Detroit’s collapsing school system.

The governor estimates it will take more than $700 million to rehabilitate Detroit’s public schools and warns that if the state doesn’t tackle the mammoth school debt, things will only get worse.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A meeting this week may help produce an update into a possible federal probe of Flint’s water problems.

Congressman Dan Kildee says he plans to meet this week with Regional EPA director Susan Hedman to discuss the status of an investigation into Flint’s drinking water problems.

Kildee says the investigation has to look beyond just assessing blame.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s new mayor says she wants her city to return to total local control.

Soon after Karen Weaver took her oath of office as Flint mayor, she called on Governor Snyder re-instate total local control in her city.

“I do not embrace the current governance model on a moral or political basis,” Weaver told the standing room crowd that packed the city council chambers to watch her take her oath of office. 

Tom Casperson

State Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, announced early Monday that he will run for the 1st U.S. House District, which represents northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

He is the first Republican to officially announce to succeed Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, who is retiring. Casperson has served almost 11 years in the Michigan Legislature.

 There’s been lots of debate over the past few days about the political wisdom of going ahead in Michigan with a couple of ballot campaigns after similar efforts suffered big defeats last week in Houston and Ohio.

OH to MI? Apples to oranges

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A one-man effort to recall Governor Rick Snyder from office faces a big hurdle this week.

Angelo Brown says Governor Snyder deserves to be recalled because of the role his administration played in the Flint drinking water crisis.

Brown’s recall petition accuses the governor of being “culpable” in the decisions that lead to the use of corrosive Flint River water as the city’s drinking water source. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s new mayor will be sworn into office at noon Monday.

Karen Weaver started the year as a Flint businesswoman.  She’ll end it as Flint’s mayor. 

Weaver defeated incumbent Mayor Dayne Walling in last week’s election.

Weaver emerged as the least known of a four person field in the August primary and campaigned hard on the city’s water problems.

When she takes the oath of office, she’ll become the first woman elected mayor in Flint.

Weaver will be mayor of a city still under control of a state oversight board. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor-elect Karen Weaver will be sworn in on Monday.   But she’s starting with less power than her predecessors.

When he took office six years ago, outgoing mayor Dayne Walling appointed more than a dozen top city officials.   But incoming mayor Karen Weaver can not appoint a single department head.

One of the last decisions by Flint’s last emergency manager was to give all personnel decisions to the city administrator. 

Michigan Attorney General's office

NEW YORK (AP) - Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is embarking on a $10 million-plus ad campaign to take on opponents of President Barack Obama's plan to reduce power plant carbon emissions.

  Bloomberg's Independence USA political action committee announced plans Friday to run TV spots aimed at the attorneys general of Florida, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder paid a visit to Hamtramck’s BanglaTown Friday, to officially open the Bangladeshi American Public Affairs Committee’s new headquarters there.

That Bangladeshi community is aiming for a higher profile among Metro Detroit’s immigrant enclaves.

Snyder again proclaimed himself “the most pro-immigrant Governor in the country.” And he says Bangladeshi-Americans are exactly the kind of immigrants Michigan needs.

Today on Stateside:

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