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Rick Snyder

michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his seventh State of the State address on Tuesday. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why the speech isn't considered to be one of Snyder's finest.

They also discuss the governor's push to save Medicaid expansion, Attorney General's Bill Schuette's stance on a Flint water crisis lawsuit, and education secretary nominee Besty DeVos' hearing on Capitol Hill.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

One of the big downsides to January in Michigan is the annual State of the State address. We have not been blessed with governors who are accomplished orators, at least not during the time that I've been editorial cartooning.

John Engler was so bad it was actually part of his charm. (That may be the only published instance where you will see "charm" and "John Engler" in the same sentence.)

He was an effective behind-the-scenes guy who was clearly uncomfortable speechifying. You could almost see the thought balloon above his head as he talked

Gov. Snyder delivers his 2017 State of the State address.
House TV

The environment came up a handful of times in Governor Snyder’s State of the State address.

The governor was often light on details, and he didn't talk about the Flint water crisis until halfway through the speech.

But Snyder did announce some new initiatives. He called for more investment in our aging infrastructure, announced a work group to study environmental justice issues, reminded the Legislature that he wants tighter standards for lead in drinking water.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his seventh State of the State address to the Legislature last night. Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry says this year's address was "curiously short on specifics and proposals" and lacked "any concrete proposal to make things better."

This Week in Michigan Politics, Lessenberry talks with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about highlights from last night, including Snyder's desire to "create more and better jobs" and his plan to crowd source ways to control invasive carp in the Great Lakes. They also talk about which topics got little or no attention from the governor, including the Flint water crisis and the scandal over the state's automated unemployment claims system. 


Rick Snyder / michigan.gov

Governor Rick Snyder has set a goal of getting Michigan’s population above 10 million people before the next U.S. Census. It was part of the governor’s seventh State of the State address delivered at the state Capitol.      

It’s been 10 years since more than 10 million people called Michigan home. Thousands fled the state through two recessions, and the near-collapse of the auto industry.

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

Governor Snyder focused much of the annual address on his achievements as governor, while also, insisting there is more work to be done.

Unlike last year, when the Flint water crisis took center stage, this year, Snyder did not address Flint until halfway thru his speech.

During the short time he did spend on Flint, he spoke about the work that has been done.

Governor Rick Snyder will deliver his seventh State of the State address tonight. My guess is that not many people will watch or listen; with this speech, they hardly ever do.

Abraham Lincoln famously said at Gettysburg that “the world will little note nor long remember what we say here.”

Lincoln was as wrong as he could be about his own words.

Gov. Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley at the Detroit auto show.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley took in the auto industry’s latest, at Detroit’s annual North American International Auto Show Monday.

“We’re leading the world here” in the “mobility industry,” Snyder said, noting the number of start-ups related to autonomous vehicle technology at this year’s show.

Snyder also hailed what he called “great announcements” recently that signal the “re-consolidation of the auto industry back in Michigan.”

That includes Fiat-Chrysler’s confirmation this week that it will invest $1 billion in two Detroit area plants; and Ford’s announcement last week that it will invest $700 million in its Flat Rock Assembly Plant as part of a plan to bring 13 electrified cars to market (all come attached to state incentives packages; so far no one will comment on the details of packages, and Snyder again declined to do so Monday).

Homes on Eberlein Rd. in Fraser were still restricted access on Friday. Most families displaced by the sinkhole should be able to move back next week.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has declared a state of emergency for Macomb County, following a sewer collapse and sinkhole in Fraser on Christmas Eve.

The declaration should open up more state funding for fixing the sinkhole, which will likely run into the tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Ford changed gears yesterday, with an announcement that it's canceled plans for a new factory in Mexico and will instead invest $700 million in its Flat Rock plant in Michigan. This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether pressure from President-elect Donald Trump influenced that decision.

They also talk about former state Senator Gretchen Whitmer's announcement that she plans to run for governor of Michigan in 2018, and new Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller's response to the massive sinkhole in the city of Fraser. 


user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s ready to work with President-elect Donald Trump once he takes office later this month.

      

Governor Snyder says Trump has not responded to his congratulations messages, but he has heard from the transition team.  Snyder and Trump both share the experience of being business people without prior experience running for office.

Snyder says Trump needs to understand that governing is different than campaigning. And, Snyder says the chief executive needs to respect that most government workers know what they’re doing.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - It was an expensive year for Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to address Flint's water emergency and to rescue Detroit's school district from massive debt.

  Legislators also authorized higher speed limits and allowed the testing of self-driving cars on public roads without a driver or steering wheel. Other top laws include new medical marijuana regulations and the authorization of higher speed limits on rural highways.

The Ambassador Bridge could have a new neighbor (the Gordie Howe International Bridge) by early 2022.
Michael Carian / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There was a story in the Windsor Star recently about delays to the new bridge project between Detroit and Windsor. Anne Jarvis from the Windsor Star joined Stateside after reporting the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority has more-or-less gone from building the Gordie Howe International Bridge to explaining why it isn’t being built yet.

On the Michigan side, Andy Doctoroff is the special project adviser to Governor Rick Snyder and he’s the point person on the Gordie Howe International Bridge. He joined Stateside to give the Michigan side of the story. 

The big question on everyone's mind on both sides of the border is when will this bridge be completed? 

Gov. Rick Snyder formed a workgroup that made 69 recommendations on how the state of Michigan should manage and improve its mental health care system. The question is, how many of those recommendations will be turned into actual policies?
gophouse.com

Early this year, Governor Rick Snyder sent shock waves through Michigan's mental health care community when his proposed 2017 budget included changes in who would control the purse strings.

The Governor proposed taking much of the $2.4 billion mental health care system and switching that from public mental health organizations to private HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations).

A workgroup made up of state officials, mental health advocates, insurance industry representatives, state mental health providers, and others were formed to look at the issue.

Last week the group released a draft report that, in essence, saw the state reversing its course on shifting mental health funding, at least for now.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has signed into law legislation compensating people who’ve been wrongfully imprisoned.

Under the “Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act,” the compensation would amount to $50,000 for every year the individual was incarcerated, in addition to reasonable attorney fees and expenses.

“Michigan’s criminal justice system does a tremendous job, however there is always more we can do to make it better, particularly for those who have been wrongfully imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit,” Snyder said in a written statement.  

michigan.gov

Governor Rick Snyder has increased his legal defense budget for one of his private attorneys to $3.5 million dollars.

Snyder hired Warner, Norcross & Judd LLP last spring to represent him in the investigations into the Flint water crisis.

The contract for their firm at the time was for 249-thousand dollars. Over time, that cap rose to 2 million dollars before its most recent increase.  

Spokesperson for Governor Snyder, Anna Heaton, said as long as the Attorney General’s investigation is ongoing, there is legal work to be done.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder hopes experts may soon provide clarity on when Flint's tap water will be safe to drink without a filter.

  In an interview with The Associated Press, Snyder said he's looking forward to a January "data summit" to review the water quality.

  He said healing Flint is a long-term effort, and his administration is focused not only on the water system but adding jobs and opening more preschool slots for disadvantaged kids.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

If you've ever driven down a pot-hole strewn road, or needed  a filter just to drink your tap water in Flint, you know just how crappy parts of Michigan's infrastructure are right now. 

Now a special commission is expected to deliver a report to the governor next week, outlining what needs to be done to address the state's growing infrastructure needs.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Election 2016 triggered anti-Trump protests and vigils across the country, including some on college campuses in Michigan.

For This Week in Michigan Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss how schools should handle that conversation and the responsibilities of community leaders in places where post-election threats and bullying have occurred.

They also discuss Gov. Rick Snyder's trip to China and his priorities as he heads into the final two years of his term.


You may not have noticed, but Gov. Rick Snyder is in China this week, on what his administration is calling his sixth “investment” mission to the world’s newest economic superpower.

This particular trip is designed, the governor’s office says, to help establish Michigan’s global leadership in “autonomous vehicle technology,” which is industry-speak for cars that will drive themselves, at least to some extent.


After Tuesday’s historic election, Republicans will continue their firm control of Lansing.

Going into last week, predictions, even among Republicans, were that the GOP would lose at least some seats in the state House of Representatives. There were times, in fact, during the campaign, that some even wondered whether Democrats might take control of the House.

Courtesy Michigan Radio

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that today is Election Day. Voters today will decide on a President, members of Congress, state legislators and various ballot proposals.

With our votes having so much weight, some Michigan residents posted about the day on social media.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Update:  A federal judge's order that would have prevented Michigan from enforcing a state law to keep voters from taking photos of their ballot in the Nov. 8 election has been overturned. So for now, no ballot selfies on election day.

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about the state's push to try and re-instate a ban on voters taking “selfies” with their ballots. We also discuss Gov. Rick Snyder's veto of legislation to overhaul Medicaid and the legacy of Tom Hayden in today's tumultuous political climate.


Governor Rick Snyder
Flickr user Michigan Municipal League / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

An Ingham County Circuit court denied a Flint resident’s request for an investigation into Governor Rick Snyder Tuesday.

Governor Snyder has said his use of tax dollars to pay for his legal counsel on issues surrounding the Flint water crisis was appropriate because the investigations relate to his official duties as governor.

But Flint resident Keri Webber filed a complaint earlier this month asking a court to appoint a one-judge grand jury to investigate Snyder for criminal wrongdoing.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lawsuits keep piling up in the wake of the Flint water crisis. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about a new complaint that calls for a grand jury criminal investigation into Gov. Rick Snyder's legal fees. We also talk about another challenge to Michigan's 180-day time limit on collecting petition signatures and upcoming visits from vice-presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence.


Researchers at Virginia Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents. Dr. Edwards and his team there were among the first to call attention to lead contamination in Flint's water.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

A Flint resident is asking the Ingham County Circuit court to convene a one-person grand jury to investigate Governor Rick Snyder’s role in the Flint water crisis.

Keri Webber’s complaint says the governor unilaterally approved spending two million dollars on lawyers in violation of state law and the Michigan Constitution. The complaint says the governor can’t approve a contract in which he has a personal stake.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A complaint filed in Ingham County calls for a grand jury investigation into Governor Rick Snyder’s spending on a legal defense team. It accuses him of misconduct and abusing taxpayer dollars.

The legal action takes aim at Governor Snyder’s hiring of a private law firm to look out for his interests as state, federal, and county prosecutors conduct criminal investigations into the Flint water crisis.

The complaint says the governor violated the Michigan Constitution and state procurement laws by unilaterally approving a contract that he has a personal stake in.

Governor Rick Snyder is not on the ballot this year but he is using Election 2016 to burnish his image and protect his legacy.  

The Detroit News is one of several newspapers that have traditionally endorsed the Republican nominee, but have decided against it this year.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

It's time for another political roundup with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas.

This week Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a legal opinion that poorly performing schools in Detroit can be closed at the end of the year, which runs counter to what Governor Snyder’s office has been saying.

The Snyder administration concluded that since the schools are part of a newly created district, they have three years before the state could step in and close the worst-performing schools.

Just another example of the attorney general and the governor butting heads.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Members of the Civil Rights Commission say there is evidence the Flint water crisis was partially the result of discrimination.

The Commission is working on a report that will include policy change recommendations to prevent similar problems. It's evaluating the water crisis from a civil rights perspective, and is looking at a finding of Governor Rick Snyder's Flint Water Advisory Task Force.

The Task Force found that environmental injustice played a role in the crisis and how it was handled. 

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