Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

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Bills to expand access to medical marijuana in Michigan may be benefiting from efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

 At least three Michigan groups are already pursuing petition drives to legalize marijuana in 2016. 

Today on Stateside:

Mark Grebner, President of Practical Political Consulting, talks about the expected voter turnout for Proposal 1 next week and what that could mean for proponents.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts joins us to discuss the city’s plans to swap out all of its streetlights for LEDs, with hopes of reaping economic, safety, and environmental benefits.

Trumbull Ave. is a new collection of poetry set in Detroit. We talk with poet Michael Lauchlan about his new book.

The rumor that Governor Snyder will run for president is out there and Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry tries to reveal the rumor’s origins and any possibility of truth.

Michigan Radio’s Jennifer Guerra talks about her special State of Opportunity documentary, Mr. Knight’s Neighborhood, which describes Coach Jimmy Knight’s role as “King of Second Chances” for kids at Cody High School in Detroit.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Governor Rick Snyder today renewed his opposition to allowing people to openly carry firearms in schools. He made the remarks while pro-gun activists rallied down the street outside the state Capitol.

 “What we’d like to see as a compromise is to allow concealed carry in schools. That will help alleviate the problem of any disruptions caused from carry,” said rally organizer Brady Schickinger, who directs the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s financial emergency is over, and the city is regaining a degree of local control.

Gov. Snyder issued the order today lifting the city’s “financial emergency” designation.  

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A week from today we’ll know the results of Proposal 1, the ballot measure that changes how fuel is taxed in Michigan to fund road repairs. It also increases the sales tax from 6% to 7%. Some of the extra revenue would go to schools.

It’s a controversial measure. There are vocal supporters and vocal opponents, but what will that actually mean in terms of voter turnout?

Gov. Rick Snyder.
gophouse.com

There is continuing speculation about whether Gov. Rick Snyder will run for president. Recent trips around the country to sell Michigan’s story have only fanned the rumor flames that Snyder is, indeed, considering a run.

The facts as they stand now are as follows: the governor is making trips across the country, talking up Michigan. He’s been in places like California and Washington D.C, neither of which are typical early indicators of a run, as Ohio or New Hampshire might be.

Kate Wells

Detroit has struck a deal with the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, the Moroun family, which gives the company a strip of city-owned land they need in order to build a second bridge span.

The bargain: a land swap between Detroit and Moroun

The three acres surrounding the Ambassador Bridge are currently part of Riverside Park on the city’s southwest side.

user Marlith / flickr.com

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry breaks down what happened during the U.S. Supreme Court's hearing over gay marriage bans in Michigan and other states, why the state Senate also held a hearing on a religious freedom bill that same day, and why Michigan has the highest insurance rate in the country and possible changes to fix that. 


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Jerry Ambrose had the shortest tenure of any of the city of Flint’s emergency managers.

It started in January 2015 and ended today.

But he has been there almost since Gov. Snyder put the city under state receivership after a ‘financial emergency’ was declared in 2011.

american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / Flickr

On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over same-sex marriage, state lawmakers took testimony on a bill that could shape how some businesses react to the court’s ruling.

State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, introduced the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). He says Senate Bill 4 would simply protect religious practices against government interference.

user H.L.I.T. / Flickr

Last year, 876 people died in Michigan car crashes, according to the state police.

Another 71,000 were injured.  

Some of those injuries were catastrophic, leaving people with lifelong brain damage, in wheelchairs, or hooked up to ventilators.

Today on Stateside:

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on the challenge to same-sex marriage bans in Michigan and three other states. Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics co-host Rick Pluta reports.

U of M's music department makes a flute-like musical instrument using the stalk of a dead giant agave plant. Professor Michael Gould explains. 

Robbie Howell / Flickr

Michigan's hospitals say they could be forced to make major cuts to their trauma centers if bills to overhaul the state's no-fault auto insurance law go through.

All Michigan drivers are required to buy no-fault auto insurance. A portion of premiums goes into a fund for unlimited medical care for catastrophic crash victims.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city leaders are discussing a city budget without a deficit.  That’s a very big deal. 

“For the first time, in a decade, the city of Flint, as of July 1, will be in a positive financial situation,” says Flint Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose.

Ambrose delivered the proposed city budget to the city council Monday.

Today on Stateside:

Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network explores what we can expect to hear tomorrow from the Supreme Court justices on Michigan’s historic same-sex marriage case.

Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics co-host Zoe Clark speaks with Stateside's Cynthia Canty about why lawmakers are staying mum on the May 5 road-funding vote. 

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Wayne County Executive Warren Evans today rolled out a financial recovery plan he says could save the county's general fund $230 million over the next four years. 

Alternatively, if no action is taken, Evans said the county's deficit could balloon to more than $170 million by 2020.

A majority of Michigan's 148 state legislators did not respond to an Associated Press survey asking them how they'll vote on next Tuesday's road-funding ballot proposal.

As Dave Eggert with the Associated Press reports:

Thirty-one, or 21 percent, of the Republican-controlled Legislature's 148 members sent back responses to a short email with three questions. The vast majority — 23 — came from among 58 Democrats, with all but one saying they would vote for the constitutional amendment. Of the eight Republicans who answered out of 90, three were in support.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s one week to go before Michigan voters decide if they will support a one penny increase to the state sales tax. 

Union supporters will spend part of this week towing a school bus around the state.    You’ll know it if you see it. It’s the one with a massive concrete block crushing its windshield.

Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to take up the historic Michigan-based case that could determine the legality of same sex marriage throughout the United States.

The Court will hear arguments on four same sex marriage bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The Justices will weigh the rights of voters who approved the bans, the rights of gay and lesbian couples who want to be married, and the rights of same-sex couples who are already married in states that allow it.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s corn growers are hopeful Congress will soon pass Trade Promotion Authority.  That will fast track new trade deals in Asia and Europe.

Jim Zook is with the Michigan Corn Growers Association.

He says the corn market needs a boost, with the price the farmers receive for their corn is at or below the break even price.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan stores that handle ‘money orders’ may soon have to post the fees they charge

State representative Leslie Love says many poor Michiganders use ‘money orders’ to pay their bills. 

Love says fees ranging from 50 cents to two dollars may not sound like much to many people. 

Michigan company facing $558K fine for worker's death

Apr 24, 2015
user gadgetgirl / Flickr

A  Michigan plastics company is facing $558,000 in fines for safety violations, including those that led to a worker's death.

Last June, Grand Rapids Plastics employee Russel Scharenbroch was crushed to death inside a horizontal injection molding machine he was cleaning.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

A private prison near Baldwin, Michigan could re-open, adding 150 jobs to the economy, under a bill sponsored by state Rep. Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo. The prison operated from 1998 through 2005 as a private youth facility, and was open again briefly later housing inmates from California. It closed again in 2011. 

WNEM-TV

 

 

Saturday marks the first anniversary of the city of Flint’s switch from Detroit water to the Flint River. It has not been an easy transition.  

 

“Here’s to Flint," Mayor Dayne Walling said as he raised a glass of water during a small ceremony at Flint’s water plant last April.  

 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack believes farmers can do more to combat climate change. 

He spoke to an audience of farmers and agri-business leaders this afternoon at Michigan State University.

Vilsack says farmers are very familiar with the effects of climate change.

  Today on Stateside:

  • Our latest essay for The Next Idea explores the concept of "responsible innovation" through haiku, the traditional Japanese poetry of three lines with five, seven and five syllables.
  • Vintners in Michigan could have another disaster on their hands this year. Interlochen's Peter Payette reports.
  • Our Poetically Speaking series continues with Margaret Noodin’s Weweni, a collection of poems in Anishnaabemowin and English.
Classroom
User Motown31 / Creative Commons

We’re starting to hear early reports about Governor Snyder’s plan for restructuring public education in Detroit. The school landscape there is very fractured right now, with a combination of traditional public schools, charters, and the Education Achievement Authority.

Today on Stateside:

  • Governor Rick Snyder explains Proposal One, the plan that would increase road funding by increasing the state’s sales tax.
  • In working towards the New International Trade Crossing Bridge, the relationship between the United States and Canada is being put to the test, as Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry discusses.

  • John Truscott, who sits on the commission that governs the state Capitol Building, talks about reopening the building to the public on Saturdays.

Thetoad / Flickr

Nearly 20 years ago, in the midst of a deep budget crunch, the state decided to close the Capitol to visitors on the weekends.

But now, as of June 6, you’ll be able to again visit the state Capitol on Saturdays.

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The relationship between the United States and Canada has been a figurehead of sorts for international cooperation and friendship between two neighbors.

Efforts to get the New International Trade Crossing Bridge up and running, however, continues to test that international friendship.

Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s political analyst, recently wrote an opinion piece for Dome headlined, “Cross-Border Chivalry on Life Support.”

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