Rick Snyder

Politics
4:16 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Michigan motorcyclists wait for the governor to decide on major change to state helmet law

Time is running out for Governor Snyder to decide if he’ll sign a major change to Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law.

The governor has until Monday to decide if he will OK the change which would allow riders over 21 to ride without a helmet for the first time since the 1970’s.

Rusty Bongard is the spokesman for ABATE, a group of Michigan bikers who have  been lobbying for the helmet law’s repeal.   He says they’re not just waiting to see if the governor will sign the helmet bill into law.

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Detroit
6:45 am
Thu April 12, 2012

Mayor's office to present budget to City Council

Ifmuth Flickr

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing's office is presenting the city's 2012-13 fiscal year budget to the City Council. The presentation is planned for 11 a.m. Thursday.

The annual budget process comes about a week after Bing, the council and Gov. Rick Snyder's office agreed for Michigan to have a role in fixing Detroit's $200 million budget deficit and long-term fiscal restructuring.

Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis said this week that the city is "nowhere near where" it "needs to be" in the budget process due to the time spent negotiating the agreement with Snyder.

A financial advisory board called for under the deal is expected to have little input on the upcoming budget. It will make recommendations to the mayor and help the city when Detroit begins preparations for 3-year budgets.

Commentary
10:47 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Commentary: Farewell to the Michigan State Fair

Virtually nobody paid much attention, but the last faint hope that the Michigan State Fair would somehow be revived ended this week.

Two days ago, Governor Rick Snyder signed bills authorizing the state to give up ownership of the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit. Those 163 acres would be returned, the governor’s office said, “to productive uses.“

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Politics
7:55 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Strong push to turn Detroit's Belle Isle into state park

The Scott fountain on Belle Isle
demccain flickrriver

Governor Snyder is pushing for a plan that would turn Detroit’s Belle Isle into a state park.

Detroit and the state have signed a consent agreement that, among other things, lays out broad plans to restructure the city.

One of those listed: a plan for the city to lease Belle Isle to the state. The state’s Park Endowment fund would then pick up the maintenance costs.

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Education
4:34 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Governor Snyder: financial emergency exists at Muskegon Heights Public Schools

Governor Rick Snyder has determined a financial emergency exists in the Muskegon Heights school district. The next step is for the governor to appoint an emergency manager to the district.

“Ensuring a quality education for students in Muskegon Heights is our top priority,” Snyder said in a written release issued Tuesday afternoon.

“The appointment of an Emergency Manager is the logical next step  in restoring financial stability to the troubled district, and in fact, is a step that has been requested by members of the Muskegon Heights Board of Education,” Synder said. Unlike any other city or school district, the school board in Muskegon Heights asked for a state takeover back in December.

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politics
3:39 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Language of recall petition against Rick Snyder approved

The Washtenaw County Elections Commission has approved the language on a recall petition  against Governor Snyder, by a two to one vote.

The commission member who opposed the language argued that the first sentence on the petition is unclear. 

The sentence reads, “Governor Snyder has abused the children of Michigan.”  The petition then lists things like cuts to school funding and food aid.  

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Politics
4:14 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

It's official: Former state fairgrounds in Detroit up for re-development

A sign designating the Michigan state fairgrounds as a historic site.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has signed bills that pave the way for transforming the former Michigan state fairgrounds at 8 Mile and Woodward in Detroit.

The land has largely sat idle since former Governor Jennifer Granholm cut state funding for the fair in 2009. Until then, it was one of the nation's longest-running state fairs.

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Politics
6:04 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Hurdle today for group trying to recall Michigan's governor

A yard sign from the unsuccessful first attempt to recall Gov. Rick Snyder
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A group that wants to oust Governor Rick Snyder will launch its second effort to collect enough signatures to put a recall question on the November ballot.

It will go before an election commission this afternoon looking for permission to let the petition drive go forward.

The group Michigan Rising gathered half a million signatures last year, but that was well short of the 800 thousand names of registered voters needed to put a recall question on the ballot.

The group will ask an elections panel in Washtenaw County – where the governor lives – to approve its petition. By law, the panel may only rule on whether the petition clearly states the reasons for the recall.

Michigan Rising cites the state’s emergency manager law and cuts to school funding as the reasons to recall the governor. If the petition is approved, the recall campaign will have six months to gather signatures.

Governor Snyder’s spokesman says he is focused on his on his job and expects this recall effort – like the one before it – will fail because people will see he is making tough-but-necessary choices.

Michigan State Fair
5:46 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Governor to sign bills allowing sale of Michigan State fairgrounds

Michigan’s state fair had a very long run. It was first held in 1849, making it the second oldest state fair in the country.

But the event lost money most years after 1970.

The 2008 fair ended with a deficit of $362,000.00.

Attendance dropped 39% over the final eight years of the Fair’s existence.

In 2009, Governor Jennifer Granholm ended all state funding for the fair, and it closed.

On Monday, Governor Snyder will sign bills which will authorize the state to sell the property.

The 157 acre property is located just east of Woodward Avenue, close to 8 Mile.

Any money made from the sale of the Fairgrounds will be added to the state’s general fund.

Politics
6:49 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Snyder on Detroit consent agreement: "Let's go"

Governor Snyder says he’s happy Detroit leaders have signed off on a “historic” consent agreement, but now it’s time to get moving on the restructuring plan the deal calls for.

But at a Thursday roundtable with reporters, Snyder said Detroit’s fiscal problems have been building for decades, and won’t be solved overnight.

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Politics
12:01 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Read the Detroit consent agreement, Michigan Gov. Snyder to hold media roundtable

There's a lot to talk about now that the Detroit City Council narrowly approved a consent agreement with the state.

Gov. Snyder's office says the Governor, state Treasurer Andy Dillon, and Director of Urban Initiatives Harvey Hollins will hold a media roundtable this afternoon at 2 p.m. to discuss the agreement.

You can read the Detroit consent agreement here.

Politics
3:57 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Michigan gets an "F" on "Corruption Risk Report Card"

Michigan fails the integrity test.
State Integrity Investigation

In the opening of his State Integrity Investigation piece, reporter Chris Andrews shows us why Michigan gets the failing grade:

The campaign finance system here has more holes than I-94 after a spring thaw. Big spenders and special interests can easily shovel millions of dollars into election activities — secretly if they choose... And the financial disclosure system for state elected officials?

Well actually, there isn’t one.

Welcome to Michigan, the “Trust Us” State when it comes to transparency. Reform efforts are frequently launched, sometimes debated, always shelved.

The State Integrity Investigation is a project of the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International.

The project aims to "expose practices that undermine trust in state capitols -- and spotlight the states that are doing things right."

You can see how all the states stack up here.

Clearly, Michigan is not going to make the highlight reel.

Overall, after looking at 330 specific measures of "state integrity," Michigan ranked 43rd among the 50 states.

And while Lansing has not been rocked by scandals seen in some other state capitols around the country, Andrews writes there are "glaring holes," when it comes to transparency in money spent to lobby lawmakers, and in the money spent to elect or defeat candidates in Michigan.

Michigan Supreme Court elections, a seat money can buy

How money can influence the perceived integrity, or the real integrity of an office was highlighted in a recent piece by Michigan Radio's Lester Graham.

In his Michigan Watch report, Money Talks: Campaign money and Supreme Court justice candidates, Graham illustrated how once a candidate wins a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court "no one really knows if a case is being decided strictly on the merits, or because of someone’s hidden political donation and its influence."

Graham spoke with former Michigan Supreme Court justice Betty Weaver about this:

“It isn’t just the appearance of impropriety, this money does have influence. Common sense tells you it does. I’ve been there,” said Weaver.

LG: Do you think you’ve seen on the court influence because of a large donor at one time or another?  

“Yes, I do think that the ability to control who gets appointed and who gets elected has an effect on the decisions of the court, so you can pretty well guess how it’s going to go,” said Weaver.

In his State Integrity Investigation piece on Michigan, Chris Andrews notes that Gov. Snyder proposed an ethics package when he was running for governor in 2010. Snyder called for banning gifts from lobbyists, "cooling-off periods," and regulating issue advertising.

But while Snyder achieved many of his campaign goals after taking office in 2011, these reforms were put on the back burner.

Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, told Andrews that lawmakers in Michigan are unlikely to change anything unless the public demands it.

Politics
11:18 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Another day, and still no decision in Detroit

State officials had  hoped Monday would be the day the Detroit City Council finally approved a consent agreement with the state.

Instead, it started out with a contentious public hearing about union contracts, and ended in a confusing mess of court challenges—with no clear answer about how the whole process will go forward.

The day began with Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis confirming he won’t ask the City Council to approve new labor contracts for city workers.

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Commentary
11:59 am
Fri March 30, 2012

Commentary: Detroit - What Happens Next?

You may think I am pessimistic, but I have deep doubts about whether the governor’s proposal to save Detroit from an emergency manager will work. There are two main problems.

First, it isn’t clear that those supporting it can muster five votes on the nine-member council to approve it. Second, I am not sure it will work even if it is ratified. The structure is too complex.

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Politics
12:09 am
Fri March 30, 2012

New state offer gets skeptical reception from Detroit City Council

The Detroit City Council vetted a proposed state deal to fend off insolvency on Thursday.

The deal is formally called a “financial stability agreement.”

But it's clearly a legally enforceable consent agreement under Michigan’s emergency manager law, Public Act 4.

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Commentary
10:45 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Commentary: Michigan helmet law repeal, bad idea?

Like everybody else, I am a great believer in freedom. I want the freedom to read, write, and say whatever I want.

I want to freedom to marry or live with or hang out with whomever I choose, and I want everyone else to have these freedoms too. However, there are some things we shouldn’t be free to do. I don’t have the right to cut down a tree in a state park.

Nor do I have the right to build a factory on my street . Years ago, the famous Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes noted that “the right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.“

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Politics
11:00 am
Wed March 28, 2012

LIVESTREAM: Gov. Rick Snyder's Detroit town hall meeting

Gov. Snyder answering questions from the audience at a town hall meeting at Wayne County Community College in Detroit.
screenshot from LiveStream

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is holding a town hall meeting this morning on Detroit's financial crisis at 11 a.m.

You can watch a livestream of the event below: The Governor's Q and A session has ended.

Watch live streaming video from SnyderLive at livestream.com

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Commentary
10:35 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Commentary: Republican Arrogance of Power

For the last fifteen months, Republicans have controlled everything in sight in Lansing -- the House, the Senate, the governor’s office and the Supreme Court.

They have the majorities to pass essentially anything they want, and even if something is constitutionally controversial, they are secure in the knowledge that it’s almost certain that the disgracefully partisan Michigan Supreme Court will rule in their favor.

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Politics
4:41 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

State Senate set to vote on Michigan motorcycle helmet law.

Ildar Sagdejev wikimedia commons

The Michigan Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on a measure to repeal the state’s motorcycle helmet law – and send it to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

The measure was stalled because Governor Snyder wants the helmet law to be part of a larger discussion on finding savings in Michigan’s no-fault insurance system.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said he wants to get the law on the books in time for the new motorcycle riding season.

“It doesn’t seem fair that a group of people who just want the freedom to choose whether to have a helmet or not are being held back because a couple other groups aren’t getting along or coming around to a compromise,” Richardville said.

Governor Snyder has not said what he would do if a helmet law repeal reaches his desk.

Supporters of the helmet law say it saves lives and prevents expensive-to-treat head injuries.

Politics
4:27 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Snyder on Detroit consent agreement: "Not about running an entire community."

From the governor's official website

Governor Rick Snyder said he still hopes to reach a deal with Detroit officials that would avert the naming of an emergency manager to run the city.

The governor said the agreement has to include specific targets for the city to meet, but he said a deal could keep much of the day-to-day operations under control of city officials.

“Part of it is it’s difficult to explain in some context because we’re still working on the agreement, but when it comes out I think you’ll see it’s really about project management assistance and really good oversight to make sure projects get done,” Snyder said. “It’s not about running an entire community.”

But not meeting the terms of a consent agreement would trigger the law that allows the governor to place an emergency manager in control.

The governor also said he is not yet satisfied with the level of savings he’s seen in bargaining with city employee unions.

The Detroit city council is working on a plan to borrow money to help meet its cash crisis. The plan would require the approval of the state.

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