Rick Snyder

Politics & Government
1:58 pm
Sat May 11, 2013

Michigan road funding talks still at standstill

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - High-level talks over fixing Michigan's deteriorating roads are at a standstill.

Republican and Democratic leaders can't agree much on how to even proceed.

Feeling burned by passage of a right-to-work law, Democrats won't consider tax increases without public assurances that Gov. Rick Snyder will veto other legislation. Democrats want a repeal of a law guaranteeing better wages on government construction projects taken off the table, along with talk of dividing the state's electoral votes proportionally.

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Politics & Government
10:22 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Snyder administration has concerns about Medicaid plan, but says it's a good start

Governor Rick Snyder's administration is "encouraged" by a House Republican plan to overhaul Medicaid in the state. 

But it's concerned about language that would kick able-bodied adults off the program after four years.

Department of community Health director Jim Haveman says the House plan is "a good starting point" for negotiations.

"I'm really cautiously optimistic that, by the time this is done over the next two weeks, we'll have a bill that we all can be very supportive of and we can collectively go sell and get the waiver from the federal government."

The federal government is offering to pay for an expansion of Medicaid that would add hundreds of thousands of Michiganders to the program. But Republican leaders in the state Legislature say they're not willing to expand the system without major changes.

Washington would have to approve the state's alternative to the plan.

Education
12:43 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Buena Vista school district could be headed down the path to an emergency manager

Parents and children embrace during last night's Buena Vista School Board meeting
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A Saginaw area school district that's closed its doors has now asked the state to review its finances.

That's the first step toward a state appointed emergency manager.

But the move does not guarantee the District's 400 students will be back in class anytime soon.

The Buena Vista school board heard from parents and students last night, angry about the abrupt and apparent early end of the school year.

“If we don’t get these kids back in school…we’re going to be the ones who destroyed their lives,” one upset father told the school board. 

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Politics & Government
5:16 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Just how public is our government?

Gov. Rick Snyder talks to reporters at the Lansing Center.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

How transparent should the process of our government be?

That’s the question behind the use of “work groups” or “task forces” — unofficial, closed-door committees being created in Lansing to help design and craft policy.  Following the revelation of the so-called “skunk works” education work group that was made public by the Detroit News two weeks ago, we wanted to look at how these groups operate in Lansing. Have work groups increased under Governor Rick Snyder? What’s the possible impact on our democratic system of government?

Chad Livengood from the Detroit News and Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the growing awareness of Lansing’s work groups, and how voters can know who or what is influencing these committees.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
4:15 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Who’s betting on an online lottery system?

Gov. Rick Snyder wants to implement iLottery, an online lottery system.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

How would you like to buy lottery tickets online?

Governor Rick Snyder bets you would.

His administration is asking for more than $3 million to launch an online lottery system called iLottery, where buyers could purchase tickets right from their computers.

But the plan has foes in both the state House and Senate, who are maneuvering to block online lottery gaming.

Dave Eggert, the Lansing reporter for the Associated Press, fills us in on the ongoing battle for digital lottery.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
7:39 am
Wed May 8, 2013

In this morning's news: Election results and a state of disaster in Michigan

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Michigan's local election results

  • Dane Slater was re-elected Mayor of Troy. He was appointed after former Mayor Janice Daniels was recalled. Slater defeated primary opponent Marty Knollenberg.
  • Citizens in Benton Harbor voted overwhelmingly to raise property taxes to support city services. The city is running in the red. The millage represents about 20 percent of the city’s income.

State of disaster declared in Michigan

"Governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of disaster across much of Michigan due to storm- and flood-related damage last month. The proclamation makes state resources available to help the weather-stricken areas. The disaster proclamation covers the cities of Grand Rapids and Ionia in west Michigan, and 19 counties in the western Upper Peninsula, northern lower Michigan and southwest Michigan," Rick Pluta reports.

Politics & Government
12:47 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Have Jase Bolger and L. Brooks Patterson kissed and made up?

L. Brooks Patterson using his comb to imitate an infamous mustache.
WKAR's Off the Record YouTube

Not exactly.

Right after Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, R, made the "Adolf" comment about Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger, he was challenged.

"Isn't that a little over the top?" asked "Off the Record" host Tim Skubick.

"Yeah, I want it to be!" replied L. Brooks Patterson.

Patterson was upset about how Bolger has handled the discussion around proposed changes Michigan's no-fault auto insurance law.

You can watch the exchange here:

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Politics & Government
7:27 am
Tue May 7, 2013

In this morning's news: MI Rep might join FBI, Palisades leaks into Lake MI, Detroit showing promise

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers candidate for FBI director

A group representing FBI agents and retirees says it wants Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) to be the next FBI director. Rogers worked as an FBI agent before being elected to the Michigan Senate. He was later elected to Congress.

Seventy-nine gallons of radioactive water in Lake Michigan

The Palisades Nuclear Plant shut down yesterday after a release of slightly radioactive water into Lake Michigan.  Seventy-nine gallons drained into Lake Michigan near South Haven on Saturday.

"The agency does not know exactly how radioactive the water was, but based on general knowledge of where the water came from there is no risk to public safety," reports Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith.

U.S. Education Secretary finds promise in Detroit

Yesterday U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Governor Rick Snyder visited public schools in Detroit and a school in the state’s Education Achievement Authority. The EAA is a controversial entity meant to turn around some of the state’s worst public schools.

"US Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he’s “very encouraged” by improvements he’s seen in Detroit schools."  reports Michigan Radio's Jake Neher.

Stateside
5:26 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Budget showdown at the State Capitol

State Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Ifmuth Flickr

Last week, we saw a flurry of voting at the State Capitol as lawmakers put together the next state budget, which is expected to total about $48 billion.

The Republican controlled State House approved spending for schools and colleges as well as a budget to fund the rest of state government.

The State Senate, also controlled by Republicans, approved about half of its budget plan with more votes scheduled this week.

The votes set the stage for negotiations between the two chambers in May.

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Politics & Government
10:43 am
Fri April 26, 2013

How much money should Michigan keep in its piggy bank?

Piggy bank.
Alan Cleaver Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder and lawmakers don't agree on how much money to set aside in Michigan's savings account.

The rainy day fund was nearly empty when the Republican governor took office after a decade of job losses and budget crises. He successfully built it back up to more than $500 million and is hoping to add another $75 million.

Snyder says a healthy cash reserve is good for the state's credit rating and prudent in case there are future economic downturns.

But the GOP-led Senate next week is expected to approve a budget without extra money in the account. Some legislators say savings are robust and the $75 million should go to other priorities instead.

The House is more in line with Snyder. Lawmakers will negotiate their differences next month.

Education
9:41 am
Thu April 25, 2013

After it was outed, secret education group will now meet in public

Richard McLellan of the Oxford Foundation helped develop a plan to make sweeping changes to the way education in Michigan is funded.
Richard D. McLellan Wikipedia

Chad Livengood of the Detroit News revealed the group that met in secret, which dubbed itself a "skunk works" last week:

A secret work group that includes top aides to Gov. Rick Snyder has been meeting since December to develop a lower-cost model for K-12 public education with a funding mechanism that resembles school vouchers.

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Politics & Government
1:46 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Michigan lawmakers look to address immigration issues at state level

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State officials are weighing in on the immigration debate. Democrats in the state House Tuesday introduced a package of bills to change the way the Michigan treats immigrants.

Under the legislation, the state would offer in-state college tuition to some undocumented students. It would also create an office to coordinate resources and services for people hoping to become U-S citizens.

Representative Jeff Irwin says the legislation includes language he thinks Republican leaders in Lansing could support.

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Politics & Government
8:51 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Commentary: What price reform?

Lessenberry commentary for 4/24/2013

Last week, Governor Snyder announced plans to drastically limit benefits for those terribly injured in catastrophic auto accidents. And, as expected, legislation to do that was introduced yesterday.

Acting on behalf of the governor, State Representative Pete Lund of Shelby Township introduced two bills that would radically change how much care the badly maimed can get.

Currently, those benefits are administered and paid by an agency called the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association, usually called MCCA. That would be scrapped in favor of a new Michigan Catastrophic Care Corporation, which would cap medical coverage at $1 million. Once a severely injured person’s care hit that limit, they would be out of luck. 

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Education
12:00 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

With Education Summit, some hints and questions about Snyder's education priorities

Business leaders and others share their thoughts on the future of Michigan’s education system Monday.

The Governor’s Education Summit comes just on the heels of revelations about a secret education reform work group in Lansing—and questions about how much the Governor’s vision for public education jibes with theirs.

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It's Just Politics
2:26 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Your electric car is ruining Michigan's roads

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

This week's It's Just Politics is all about the politics of gas taxes; there’s a turbo-charged effort this week at the state Capitol to pull together a transportation funding package that will most likely include some kind of increase in the gas tax. Governor Snyder continues to say that he wants at least $1.2 billion dollars more in annual transportation funding. And, even though everyone seems to agree that Michigan’s roads are in dire condition… not everyone can agree on how to pay for the repairs.

It is a complicated state of affairs. Everybody hates the disease. But no one likes the cure: more money for infrastructure. That’s a good reason why the gas tax hasn’t been increased in Michigan since 1996, under then-Governor John Engler.

It’s not as simple as just raising the state gas tax (which is currently 19 cents per gallon). As we know, raising taxes is not typically part of the recipe for reelection, and every House member and state Senator who is not term-limited is up for reelection in November 2014, along with Governor Snyder.

Dealing with this road funding conundrum is complicated by the fact that we pay a lot of different taxes at the pump. There’s the state gas tax and the federal gas tax. We also pay the state sales tax, which goes to schools and local governments. It doesn’t pay for roads. That’s why a lot of people want to either exempt fuel sales from the sales tax or turn a portion of it over to road funding. But that’s a problem because then you’re taking a billion dollars from schools and local governments, both of which are not feeling a lot of love from Lansing lately. So, cut the sales tax from the cost of buying fuel and you’ve suddenly got yourself a new (billion-dollar) problem.

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Stateside
5:08 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Governer Snyder's take on Immigration reform

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The so-called gang of eight have released their immigration reform proposal.

The formal introduction of the bipartisan bill  known as the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” was filed last night at 2 a.m.

The 844 piece of legislation would enact sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration laws.

President Obama says the bill is a compromise that doesn’t give everyone everything they want, but he’s urging the Senate to move forward with it.

So we took a look at the man who likes to call himself the nation’s most pro-immigration Governor - Gov. Rick Snyder.

Rick Pluta Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network was with the Governor this afternoon and tells us what he had to say about the introduction of this bill.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
8:35 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Snyder: No state layoffs tied to sequestration, but there will be program cuts

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State officials say they don’t expect they’ll have to lay off employees due to the loss of $150 million dollars in federal funds this year and next. That’s how much the state is expected to lose because of the budget standoff in Washington.

The state budget office says it has a plan that averts public employee layoffs.

But Governor Rick Snyder says the state has no plans to replace the money lost because of sequestration – which amounts to about four-tenths of one percent of total state spending.   

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Politics & Government
5:16 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Pro Right-to-Work group now targeting Governor's road plan

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The conservative group that pushed for Michigan to become a Right-to-Work state wants Governor Snyder to drop his call for higher taxes to pay for repairing Michigan’s roads.

The governor wants the Legislature to approve higher gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees to raise more than a billion dollars to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads.

Scott Hagerstrom is the state director of Americans for Prosperity. He says Michigan shouldn’t be raising taxes.

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Transportation
12:54 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Report: Proposed Detroit-Windsor bridge gets key permit

An artist's conception of the proposed new bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor
http://buildthedricnow.com/

Backers of a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor are expected to announce that the project has cleared one of the final hurdles later today.

The Windsor Star reports that Governor Snyder and other supporters of the Detroit River International Crossing will announce that the bridge project has finally received a permit from the U.S. Department of State. .

A forty year old federal law gives the State Department the authority to approve international bridges.

The permit is seen as a key step in the 2 billion dollar bridge project.  

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Stateside
5:00 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

The latest on Snyder and the Republican party

Rick Snyder's proposals clashed with Republicans in the capitol
Tiberius Images / Flickr

Let's talk relationships - political relationships.

Governor Snyder wants $1.2 billion a year for rebuilding of Michigan roads. He has also proposed increased gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, which haven't gone over well with state Republicans.

He's also said he wants to expand Medicaid using money from the federal government under provisions in the Affordable Care Act, which hasn't been warmly received by Republicans either.

So where does this rift leave the Republican party, and what does it say about Governor Snyder and his leadership style?

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