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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Steve Carmody / MICHIGAN RADIO

With so much happening around Michigan and in Washington D.C., Stateside invited U.S. Sen. Gary Peters to stop by to explain what's important to him and to Michigan right now. The Senator has a number of legislative items he's working on for the state and for the Great Lakes, but he also took the time to talk about former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony and President Trump’s tweets.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new tax break for redeveloping blighted land in Michigan is now law.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bill Thursday as he sat in the gutted lobby of a 120-year-old office building in downtown Saginaw. The Berringer building has sat unused for years as a series owners have tried and failed to renovate it.

teacher with two students
department of education / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Top lawmakers in the state Legislature have reached a tentative agreement with Gov. Rick Snyder about changes to the state’s teacher retirement system.

 

House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, and Senate Majority Leader Meekhof, R-West Olive, have been aggressively pursuing a plan to shut down the state’s hybrid pension and 401(k) system. Meekhof and Leonard want to put all new hires into a 401(k) plan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds many of Michigan’s state lawmakers have been penalized for not properly filing their campaign finance reports.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network scoured through state records and found fifty percent of current state lawmakers have paid fines for failing to follow Michigan’s campaign finance reporting requirements.

Executive Director Craig Mauger says most paid small amounts, while a few had to pay thousands of dollars.

The Michigan state capitol building
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There’s no end yet to the standoff between Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature’s Republican leaders that’s delayed wrapping up the state budget. But they are talking again.

 

 

Bottles of water
Flickr user Daniel Orth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Nestle wants to draw more spring water from its well in Osceola County.

As Michigan decides whether to approve Nestle’s request, there's a group with an especially large stake in that decision: Native American tribes who have treaty rights to those waters.

Spartan stadium
Flickr/Ken Lund / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Three Michigan State University football players have been charged with sexual assault stemming from an incident in January in which they allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on campus. 

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the this case and others, including former Olympic gymnastics and MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Grand Rapids police officer directing traffic.
Flickr user lincolnblues / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Grand Rapids will add an extra million dollars in next year’s budget to improve community and police relations. But city leaders still haven't decided how that money will be spent.

In April, many people in the city were outraged over an incident in which Grand Rapids police officers held five unarmed black boys at gunpoint. That same month, the city released a study showing that police were more likely to pull over black and Hispanic drivers than white drivers.

So yesterday, city commissioners decided to add a million dollars per year over the next five years for that goal. They just didn't decide how to spend the money.

Everyone’s back to the political games in D.C. and Lansing now that lawmakers are back from the annual Mackinac Island Policy Conference where one of the agenda items on the to-do list was restoring political civility.

Flint resident holding protest sign again  Phil Stair.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Genesee County Land Bank official resigned today, a day after a tape surfaced of him using a racial epithet to describe Flint residents.

dugganfordetroit.com

At the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference this week, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan flatly explained to a mostly white audience the systematic racism that shaped the city of Detroit and the surrounding region. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessnberry talk about the impact of Duggan's speech and his vision for Detroit's future.

Stateside 6.2.2017

Jun 2, 2017

Lt. Gov. Calley joined Stateside today. He said a part-time legislature would give voters "more efficient" government and better laws. And, an EPA science advisory board member offers his take on pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord.

As state political leaders leave the Grand Hotel after this week's Mackinac Policy Conference, there's a state budget waiting for them to settle and approve in Lansing.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Mackinac Policy Conference wrapped up today. Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team, Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta​, were on the island covering it all week.

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley announced a government reform initiative, but it was not the announcement many expected him to make. Republicans are in the preparatory stages of dropping their names in the hat for Michigan’s next gubernatorial election, and it was thought that Calley could announce his candidacy at this year’s policy conference.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
Michigan House Republicans

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley said he would make a big announcement at the Mackinac Policy Conference. It was widely expected that he would announce his candidacy for Governor. That’s not what he did.

Instead he released a ten point plan he calls “Clean Michigan’s Government.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, with his two-year-old granddaughter on his lap and United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon looking on on the [far right], signs the COP21 Climate Change Agreement on behalf of the United States on April 22, 2016
Thomas Cizauskas / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump announced the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. The agreement calls on participating countries to make efforts to limit global temperature rise.

The United States joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries who did not sign on to the accord.

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is getting pushback for his big announcement earlier this week. Calley says he’ll push for a ballot proposal that would make Michigan’s legislature part-time.

Calley and other advocates say it’ll help clean up Michigan’s government. They argue it would cut down on taxpayer expenses and lawmakers should have to live and work at home under the laws they pass.

But even term-limited lawmakers, with no dog in the fight are arguing against the proposal.

Soo Locks
Jim Newsome / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan’s congressional delegation is getting ready to fight for a big piece of federal spending on infrastructure. They want roughly $1 billion to upgrade the shipping lanes of the Soo Locks.

“There’s been no comprehensive improvement in the locks in over 50 years, and we are concerned we are on borrowed time,” said  Senator Debbie Stabenow.

The locks in Sault Sainte Marie don’t have enough room to handle modern, larger ships. The locks also have a lot of aging components. 

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
Michigan House Republicans

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is raising his profile ahead of an anticipated run for governor next year.

Calley used a conference of political and business leaders this week to roll out a government reform agenda.

The plans include making it easier to get information from the government, forbidding elected officials from going directly into lobbying the state, and financial disclosure by politicians.

Mark Schlissel
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

One of the big topics during this week's Mackinac Policy Conference is higher education: how to help schools turn out the workforce that Michigan's businesses need, while also tackling funding challenges.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel is attending the Mackinac Policy Conference. The University Research Corridor  – consisting of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State – recently released its latest report on contributions those schools make to Michigan in the areas of life, medical and health sciences.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Progressive Democrats are using Flint’s water crisis as a backdrop for a battle over the federal budget.

On Thursday, a group of Flint residents and Progressive Democrats gathered outside the city’s water treatment plant to promote an alternative to President Trump’s budget plan.

Rep. Justin Amash takes questions from constituents in Grand Rapids.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Congressman Justin Amash faced more than two hours of harsh questioning from constituents at a town hall event in Grand Rapids last night.

It was Amash’s first town hall since his controversial vote in the U.S. House to support the Republican health care bill, known as the American Health Care Act or AHCA.

Governor Snyder at the Mackinac Policy Conference in 2014
flickr user A Healthier Michigan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder spoke out against a toxic political culture that he says it’s getting in the way of practical problem-solving.

           

The governor was speaking to a gathering of business and political leaders at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference on Mackinac Island. The conference’s organizers put civility in politics on the agenda.

 

LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Democrats in Lansing are taking another run at expanding the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Democratic State Rep. Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo and Senator Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor have introduced bills to expand civil rights protection to people who are LGBT.

flickr

For the first time since he's been governor, the leaders from the state House and Senate have signed a target budget agreement without Rick Snyder's input. House Speaker Tom Leonard and Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof want to close the pension system for new Michigan teachers and only offer a 401k. Governor Snyder's not a fan of that idea.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s new firefighters will have brand new helmets and other gear when they start work later this summer.

Flint firefighters respond to more fires than most departments in the state, and their gear shows the added wear and tear.

Stateside 5.30.2017

May 30, 2017

Today we learn who stands to gain if Michigan moves to a part-time legislature. And, new songs from a Michigan bluegrass musician show "there's hope in the midst of every calamity."

The Mackinac Policy Conference kicks off today.
David Ball / creative commons

For Michigan’s elected officials, business leaders and many in the media, the place to be this week is Mackinac Island.

Today marks the opening day of the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference, put on by the Detroit Regional Chamber. That means four days of sessions, speeches, discussions, receptions and networking.

state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lt. Governor Brian Calley is speaking at an event this afternoon at the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Many observers believe today he'll announce a ballot drive to make Michigan a part-time legislature state.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The increasingly crowded field of candidates running for Michigan governor in 2018 may grow by one more later today.

Then again, it may not.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has long been seen as a potential candidate to succeed his boss, Gov. Rick Snyder, who’s time in the governor’s office is winding down because of term limits.

A ballot campaign to make Michigan a part-time Legislature state could be on the horizon - an effort, perhaps, to make state government more efficient, but the effort carries at least a whiff of gubernatorial politics.

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