Rick Snyder

Education
8:00 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Patience please, Muskegon Heights school leaders “building the airplane as we fly it”

Don Weatherspoon answers questions from Mary Valentine (top right) after a school board meeting following the repeal of Public Act 4.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This story is the fourth in a four-part series about how things are going so far in Michigan's first fully privatized public school district. Find part one here, part two here, and part three here.

The on-air version of the story. An expanded online version is below.

Students in Muskegon Heights are going through a lot of changes this year, because the entire school district was converted to a charter school system. After tackling some tough issues in the first half of the school year, the operators of the charter school system want the public to give them a full school year to put the changes in place.

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Politics & Government
2:45 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Expanding state-run school district a top priority for Governor Snyder

User Motown31 Creative Commons

Governor Rick Snyder says expanding a state-run district for struggling schools is one of his top priorities for 2013.         

The Education Achievement Authority is designed to turn around schools with persistently low student test scores. Right now, the authority oversees 15 public schools in Detroit.      

Snyder wants to expand the district across the state. The EAA would be able to take over schools that fall in the bottom 5 percent.

Bills to expand the system did not move in the final weeks of the legislative session.        

Snyder says more lawmakers would come around to the idea if they saw the state-run schools firsthand.          

The EAA has been operating for just four months. Opponents of the expansion say it’s too early to tell if the system is working.


Law
12:38 pm
Sun December 30, 2012

New Michigan law makes it easier to erase juvenile crimes

State capitol building (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a bill to make it easier for people to wipe juvenile crimes off their record.

The new law will allow people to go to court to erase up to three offenses a year after the case is closed, instead of five years. The old law allowed only one offense to be expunged.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Haveman, R-Holland, was easily approved in the Michigan House and Senate before the Legislature's recent adjournment.

Politics & Government
2:07 pm
Sat December 29, 2012

New Michigan law protects employees' online passwords

State of Michigan (file photo)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation into law aimed at prohibiting employers from asking job applicants and employees for online passwords and other account information.

The Republican governor signed the bill Friday sponsored by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt of Lawton and passed this month by lawmakers.

The measure also would prohibit educational institutions from asking for private account information and would penalize them for dismissing or failing to accept students who don't provide such details.

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Politics & Government
10:03 am
Sat December 29, 2012

Michigan governor making his way through 282 bills

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

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has been busy working his way through the 282 bills passed by the Legislature during the final weeks of the 2012 session.

The governor's office said he signed 53 bills on Friday and vetoed four. He has acted on a total of 186 bills and 95 are pending review.

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Law
1:19 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Gov. Snyder signed 19 bills today

Gov. Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan Facebook.com

Gov. Snyder signed several bills into law today that he says will strengthen communities and protect taxpayers.

This morning, Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta reported Rick Snyder signed an updated local emergency manager law to replace the one rejected last month by voters. 

Mr. Snyder also signed 18 other bills ranging from extending school loan programs to tracking pollution.

In a press release, the Governor said the new laws protect the Michigan economy.

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Politics & Government
10:38 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Report: Michigan's governor worked for $1 in 2011, made $1.9M

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

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder reported a gross income of about $1.9 million in 2011, when he says he gave back all but $1 of his state salary.

A federal income tax return reviewed by the Detroit Free Press says the Republican and former venture capitalist had capital gains income of just more than $1.3 million in 2011. He reported dividend income of more than $350,000, wages of $141,547, interest income of nearly $54,000 and real estate income of just more than $6,000.

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Politics & Government
10:35 am
Thu December 27, 2012

A stack of legislation on the governor's desk

State capitol building (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - With the snowstorm over, Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to take action on a stack of bills approved by Michigan lawmakers.

Snyder has been away from the state capital but took dozens of bills to his Ann Arbor-area home before Christmas. The storm made travel hazardous Wednesday and had an impact on his staff's plans to file bills in Lansing with the official state seal.

Spokeswoman Sara Wurfel says bill signings should pick up through the rest of the week.

The House and Senate approved about 300 bills before adjourning on Dec. 14.

Politics & Government
6:43 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Some changes to Michigan's gun laws quietly going into effect

State capitol building (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

In their “lame duck” session, state lawmakers passed a number of measures that would change state gun laws.    Governor Rick Snyder vetoed one of those bills last week.

But others are set to become state law.

The governor rejected a bill that would have let people with special permits carry concealed weapons into places like schools, daycares, and churches.

But Snyder signed a measure that would streamline the permitting process for handguns.

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Politics & Government
6:38 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Snowstorm delays action on bushel of legislation on Michigan Governor's desk

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

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - How does a bill become a law? It can take extra time when there's a Michigan snowstorm.

Gov. Rick Snyder took dozens of bills to his Ann Arbor-area home before Christmas. Spokeswoman Sara Wurfel says the snowstorm Wednesday created delays and prevented staff from getting some legislation returned to Lansing to be filed as new laws.

Politics & Government
3:05 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Michigan Gov. Snyder touts major accomplishments in 2012

Michigan Gov. Snyder talks about 2012 accomplishments with reporters today.
Gov. Snyder Twitter

Governor Snyder says despite mounting political tension, his second year in office brought about many major accomplishments.

During a year-end roundtable with the press today, the governor touted a number of policies he says will move the state forward.

They include an agreement to build a new international crossing in Detroit, a phase-out of the state’s tax on industrial equipment, and a regional transit authority for southeast Michigan.

Snyder had to be asked before he made any mention of some of 2012’s controversies, including the new “right-to-work” law, and emergency managers.

He says lawmakers in 2013 should not let those issues get in the way of bipartisanship.

"That’s the start of the process to bring people back together, to say ‘we’re looking beyond just people saying they’re fighting, but we should be looking to service our citizens,’" said Snyder. "Because what really matters is customer service to our citizens, not hard feelings over some other particular issue."

The governor also said the “right-to-work” law is already attracting attention from businesses looking to move to Michigan.

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It's Just Politics
2:23 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Governor Snyder's push for a new message for the New Year

Governor Rick Snyder
Snyder Administration

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta. Friday, December 21st, 2012

Governor Rick Snyder held a year-end roundtable with reporters today.  That’s on top of the public bill-signings and one-on-one interviews and meet-ups he’s held with various reporters and editorial boards in the past few weeks. These meetings are a December staple of the Lansing political-journalism culture. But, today’s additional roundtable with reporters raises the question: after hours and hours already spent being interviewed, why is the Governor holding yet another meeting with the press?

A likely answer: The governor wants to reset the conversation, at least a little, and shift some attention from controversies like Michigan’s new right-to-work law and his veto of concealed weapons legislation to some good news stories – or, at least, what he calls good news stories.

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Politics & Government
10:03 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Commentary: Recall elections

Lessenberry commentary for 12/21/12

Governor Rick Snyder has signed so many momentous bills in the last week that some which normally might have gotten headlines have been almost overlooked. One was yesterday.

This is a new law that makes it harder to recall state officials, meaning to remove them from office by a special election before their term is over. There’s bound to be a lot of grumbling that this is anti-democratic, that the lawmakers did this to protect themselves from being removed by outraged citizens. 

Well, I am sure that may have been a motivation for some. But in fact, making recalls harder is a good thing. Good for democracy and our state, and will make it easier for lawmakers to do their jobs.

Here’s why. We already have a system of recalls -- it’s called elections. Officials serve short terms. House members have to run every two years. State senators and most other state officials, including the governor, every four years. Only judges serve longer.

In order for representative democracy to work, elected officials sometimes must make unpopular decisions. Washington did, Lincoln did, the Roosevelt’s and Reagan did. State legislators, ditto.

But in recent years, any time Michigan lawmakers have done something some faction doesn’t like, it’s been common to start hollering “recall.”

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Politics & Government
3:04 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Governor signs phaseout on business and industrial equipment tax

A123 Systems Inc. Facebook

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a plan to phase out the state’s tax on business and industrial equipment.

Manufacturers, in particular, say the tax discourages investment in Michigan.

Charlie Pryde is a lobbyist for Ford.

“We believe the reform package the governor is signing today will make Michigan more competitive for manufacturing and Ford Motor Company more competitive in the intensely competitive automotive manufacturing marketplace,” Pryde said.

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Politics & Government
9:28 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Commentary: Good news for Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 12/20/12

Whether or not you are from the Detroit area, you may well have wondered about the ongoing issue of the street lights.

There’s been constant discussion about the fact that at least half the lights never come on. This is not a great selling point for a city with a major crime problem.

So, why doesn’t Detroit just replace the lights? How expensive can new bulbs be? Well, it turns out that isn’t the real problem.

A few weeks ago, I talked to Glenda Price, a member of the city’s financial advisory board. She had just had a tour of the lighting department. She told me “the wonder is that any of the lights come on at all.” Some of the equipment is a century old.

Not only is it worn out, there is no way to get spare parts. So technicians jury-rig things, and cannibalize some machinery to keep other parts going.

But there’s only so much they can do. There’s hope now, however. Yesterday, Governor Rick Snyder came to Detroit to sign legislation allowing the city to appoint an authority that will be able to issue bonds, raise money, and fix the lighting system.

That was one of the less controversial results of the legislature’s now-famous lame duck session. Additionally, the governor signed a law making it easier for the Downtown Development Authority to help Mike Ilitch build the new hockey arena and entertainment complex he wants in the city.

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Politics & Government
10:14 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Snyder signs multiple bills in "exciting day for Detroit"

Detroit Red Wings' owner Mike Ilitch, right, reaches to shake Governor Snyder's hand. Snyder signed legislation to subsidize a proposed new Red Wings arena.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder was in Detroit Wednesday to sign several bills he says will boost the city's long-term fortunes.

One bill establishes a Regional Transit Authority to fund and operating mass transit in southeast Michigan.

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Education
1:33 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

'Student revolt' threat affecting schools in Genesee County

About a half dozen Genesee County school districts are dealing with a bizarre internet rumor of plans for an armed ‘student revolt’ this Friday.

Police are investigating the alleged revolt, in the wake of last week’s school massacre in Connecticut and the Mayan ‘end of the world’ prophecy.

Grand Blanc schools Superintendent Norm Abdella says messages have been swirling on social media sites that students were planning to bring weapons to schools in Genesee County on Friday.

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Politics & Government
8:49 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Commentary: Gun control and the governor

Lessenberry commentary for 12/19/12

By now, you’ve probably heard that Governor Rick Snyder yesterday vetoed the bill that would have allowed anybody to carry a concealed weapon into elementary schools, or other places, like churches and day care centers, where they are now banned.

This is being hailed as a great victory for gun control. The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Mike Green of Mayville, was very disappointed that the governor wouldn’t sign it.

The fact is, however, that this really isn’t a victory for gun control at all. There are a lot of myths about what happened here. So allow me to try to puncture them.

First of all, it would have been politically impossible for any governor in a major state to have signed this bill four days after the Newtown massacre. But it is important to note that all indications are that Governor Snyder would have vetoed this bill even if 20 first-graders hadn’t been murdered in their classrooms last Friday.

The day before the shooting, Snyder’s director of legislative affairs told Senator Green that the governor would veto it unless schools were given the option to “opt out,” to say, that sorry, we are not allowing concealed weapons here.

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Politics & Government
7:21 am
Wed December 19, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Governor Snyder vetoes gun bill

Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed legislation that would have allowed people with concealed pistol permits to carry their guns in school buildings. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"He said that school security measures in Michigan needed a thorough review. He also wants to find a way to better incorporate community mental health workers into schools. Snyder also said in his veto letter to the Legislature that the bill had a fatal loophole that didn't allow for those public institutions -- schools, churches, day care centers and stadiums -- to opt out of the new legislation and prohibit weapons from their buildings. The law specifically addressed only private buildings."

Earlier this week Snyder said the Connecticut shooting would play a role in his decision on the bill.

Snyder's approval rating drops 28 points after right-to-work

"A new poll from a firm that primarily does work for Democrats finds a huge drop in approval for Governor Rick Snyder among Michigan voters. Snyder has a 56-percent disapproval rating, after he supported and signed bills that make it harder for unions to collect dues. That's a 28-point drop," Tracy Samilton reports.

Flint names interim school superintendent

"The Flint school board last night picked a longtime district administrator to be its interim superintendent. Larry Watkins retired from the Flint school district in August. But he applied for the interim job when Flint’s former superintendent announced her retirement last month. Watkins takes charge of a school district that’s running a budget deficit in the millions of dollars," Steve Carmody reports.

Law
10:39 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Lansing raising money for gun buy back program

Last week’s school shooting in Connecticut is inspiring the city of Lansing to hold a second gun buy-back program.

The capitol city’s last gun buy-back program collected nearly a hundred firearms in August.  People who turned in hand guns or semi-automatic weapons got gift cards in exchange.

The city hopes to collect ten thousand dollars in private donations for its next program.

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero says the initiative will get guns off the street and help keep the community safe.

Lansing has seen a dozen homicides this year.

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