Rick Snyder

Politics
4:24 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Snyder will talk about Detroit finances at a town hall Wednesday

Governor Snyder speaks to a gathering of city managers in Benton Harbor, shortly after he signed expanded powers for emergency managers. Benton Harbor residents protested his appearance outside the meeting.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will take part in a town hall meeting in Detroit Wednesday morning to discuss the city’s finances. Snyder says he’s trying to be transparent about the situation.

“A lot of it is getting out to talk to people and making sure that we all get the same facts, because Detroit’s in terrible financial distress in some ways. And there needs to be a long term solution because we all want Detroit to succeed,” Snyder said.

He’s expected to go over the facts at the town hall meeting. He’ll also field questions and probably some criticism from the audience.

The meeting comes as state and city leaders are trying to finalize a deal to resolve major cash flow problems. A state review team has determined Detroit is in “severe financial stress”. The city’s deficit is nearly $200 million.

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Politics
9:48 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Detroit review team affirms financial emergency, but still no clear path forward

The state review team investigating Detroit’s finances met for what was supposed to be the last time Monday.

They reaffirmed that Detroit is in “severe financial stress” during a raucous meeting that veered into chaos at times.

Protesters, angry at what many call an unconstitutional hostile takeover of the city, mostly shouted over team members as they tried to deliberate.

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Flint
4:32 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Flint emergency manager back in charge

Flint emergency manager Michael Brown is back in charge, temporarily, after today's court order
State of Michigan

Flint’s emergency manager is back in charge of the city.  At least, temporarily. 

The Michigan Court of Appeals today put on hold a lower court ruling that left questions about who was in charge in Flint.

Last week, Ingham County circuit court judge Rosemarie Aquilina ruled that the state financial review team that recommended the appointment of an emergency manager in Flint had violated Michigan’s open meetings law.  The judge decided that the appointment and all the decisions emergency manager Michael Brown had made since December were invalidate.

The governor’s office appealed the judge’s order, describing it as "devastating."

The Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case.   The court put a stay on the lower court ruling and reinstated Michael Brown as Flint’s emergency manager.

In her order last week,  Judge Aquilina had directed Flint's mayor and city council to resume their roles.   One of the first things Michael Brown did as emergency manager was to limit the power of Flint's elected leaders. 

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling issued a statement after today's ruling of the Court of Appeals:

"As the legal challenges to PA4 move through the courts system, the Flint community needs to work together to address our long-standing challenges with finances, public safety and economic development. While the courts are flip-flopping on the critical issue of the Open Meetings requirement, I will work every day to make our community a better place for families and businesses."

The timing of the Court of Appeals decision today could be critical.   Flint, like other Michigan cities, is drafting its budget for next year.

Flint faces a budget deficit that could be as high as $20 million.

Politics
6:43 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Michigan Attorney General counsels wait and see approach on federal healthcare law

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
Corvair Owner Flickr

Michigan is one of 26 states challenging federal health care reforms in a case that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court today. But there is also a stalemate in state government over moving ahead with an online healthcare exchange that is part of the law that would help consumers shop for coverage.

Deadlines set up in the health care law are drawing near.

The state Senate has adopted a measure to create the exchange. The House has put the question on hold until after the case is decided.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state should wait.

“I would caution people, there’s no rush. I think the healthcare exchange should not go forward and I think a lot of people in the Legislature agree with me.”

But Governor Rick Snyder, also a Republican, does not. He says the healthcare exchange is a good idea that would save consumers money regardless of how the Supreme Court rules. He says - if Schuette’s challenge fails - the delay could also cost Michigan millions and force the state into a federal bureaucracy instead of a system of its own design.

Flint
3:00 pm
Fri March 23, 2012

Michigan governor's office asks court to put "devastating" order on hold

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The governor’s office is asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to overrule an order by a lower court judge that invalidated the appointment of an emergency manager to run the city of Flint.

This week, Ingham County circuit court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina ruled that the state panel the governor appointed to review Flint’s finances failed to abide by Michigan’s open meetings law.    

The judge found that violation invalidated the appointment of emergency manager Michael Brown and all his decisions since taking over Flint in December.

In the legal paperwork filed with the Court of Appeals, state officials are asking the court to put the lower court judge’s order on hold and eventually toss it out completely.

The legal brief describes the judge’s ruling as “devastating” since it puts the city “back to square one” even as it teeters on the “brink of insolvency”. 

Flint is an estimated $20 million dollars in the hole and only has $10 million  in hand. 

Politics
12:38 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Judge says he won't lift consent agreement ban

Wikimedia Commons

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan judge has denied a request related to the actions of the state-appointed review team analyzing Detroit's troubled finances.

Ingham County Circuit Judge William Collette on Thursday turned down a request from Gov. Rick Snyder and the financial review team to lift an earlier order keeping them from moving ahead with a consent agreement with Detroit city officials.

The judge said that must wait until his March 29 hearing examining whether the review team failed to comply with Michigan's Open Meetings Act.

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Politics
12:01 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

What's in a consent agreement? Do you really want to know?

Are you confused about the proposed “consent agreement” the state is trying to work out with Detroit?

If so, count yourself one among many, including me, and I’ve been covering the story nearly every day for the past couple of weeks. In fact, I’m fairly sure that all the parties involved are confused.

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Politics
4:58 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Bing gives council consent deal counter-proposal

Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The City Council has received a draft of Mayor Dave Bing's counter-proposal to a state-authored consent agreement involving Detroit's poor finances.

Bing says Monday in a release that a draft of the Financial Stability Agreement was sent Sunday to the nine council members.

The draft was prepared with input from the mayor's staff and council staff.

Bing said the counter-proposal "is designed to provide a reliable roadmap for the city and state to collaborate in resolving the city's short-term cash flow challenges and long-term structural changes."

Bing and council members said the agreement proposed last week by Gov. Rick Snyder gives a nine-member financial advisory board whose members would be appointed by state and city officials too much authority over the decisions made by the elected mayor and City Council.

Politics
9:20 am
Sun March 18, 2012

A strained relationship? What a Detroit consent agreement means for Gov. Snyder and Mayor Bing

Detroit Skyline
Ifmuth Flickr

Every week, Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, and I have been taking a look at the politics behind the state's news headlines. This week: we take a look at what a possible consent agreement for the city of Detroit means for the relationship between Governor Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing.

Auto/Economy
8:29 pm
Sat March 17, 2012

Michigan's governor flies to Europe in hopes of boosting trade

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder’s focus will be on automotive and alternative energy companies on his first official business trip to Europe.

Transportation equipment and chemicals account for more than half of Michigan’s $6 billion in annual exports to Europe.

The governor will start out in Turin, Italy, meeting with executives at Fiat and other companies. Fiat is the parent company of Chrysler.

Commentary
10:54 am
Thu March 15, 2012

Can Detroit Work It Out?

If you were listening to the rhetoric yesterday, you might easily have concluded that there is little chance of Detroit accepting the governor’s proposal to save it from an emergency manager.

Two days ago, Gov. Rick Snyder put forth a proposal for what is being called a “consent agreement,” under which most of the mayor and council’s powers would pass to a nine-member financial advisory board, which would then run the city, possibly for years.

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Politics
6:51 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

A conversation with David Hecker, Pres. of AFT in Michigan

The Republican-led legislature approved a measure that would prohibit schools from automatically deducting union dues from the paychecks of school employees last week.

Those in support of the measure say it puts more money in the pockets of employees who can then choose to write a check to their union. Opponents say it’s another attempt at union busting.

David Hecker, President of the American Federation of Teachers in Michigan spoke with Michigan Radio's Jennifer White.

Politics
1:28 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Governor Snyder urges Detroit leaders to accept consent deal

Detroit City Council chamber
City of Detroit Facebook page

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is urging Detroit leaders to accept a consent agreement that would make them accountable to a financial advisory board, even though Mayor Dave Bing and some council members are unhappy with the deal.

Speaking Wednesday in Lansing, the Republican governor says the initial reaction from officials has been "go away."

He says it's a "cultural challenge" to get leaders to accept that the city can't fix its financial woes on its own.

Snyder could appoint an emergency manager, but prefers to reach a consent agreement he says would leave the mayor and council members in charge of policy. City leaders got details of the agreement Tuesday and found lots to criticize.

Bing called Snyder "disingenuous." Snyder says it's unfortunate "to make a personal attack out of this."

Commentary
11:50 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Where Detroit Stands

Sadly, it appears that the state of Michigan will be taking over the city of Detroit, one way or another. There are a lot of reasons that this is a tragedy, and also a few reasons to be happy about this.

However the next few weeks play out, the city, one way or another, seems likely to get the help it needs to straighten out decades of terribly mismanaged finances. Yesterday, Governor Snyder announced details of a proposed “consent agreement” which would bring radical change and fiscal responsibility to Detroit.

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Politics
12:22 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Bing unhappy, what do you think? Should Detroit take the consent agreement deal?

Part of the draft consent agreement obtained by the Detroit News.

Gov. Snyder and state treasurer Andy Dillon delivered their plan to Detroit city council this morning to turn around Detroit's finances.

The consent agreement calls for a financial advisory board with members appointed by the Governor, Mayor Bing, and city council to oversee decisions made by city leaders

The Detroit News reports that after negotiating with Gov. Snyder, Mayor Bing did not like the proposal, so Snyder decided to go straight to city council with the plan:

The governor and Bing neared a deal after a productive meeting Friday afternoon, and Snyder hoped an announcement could be made Monday morning, when the pair were scheduled to appear jointly at the Pancakes and Politics breakfast. But the mayor wobbled Sunday night, apparently concerned about giving away too much of his power, and Snyder decided to shoot the puck. He called Bing before the breakfast, told him he was taking the deal to council, and the mayor decided to skip the breakfast program.

Gov. Snyder said this morning that the city has until March 28 to decide on the consent agreement, after that, the Governor could decide to appoint an emergency manager to run things.

"We have offered every opportunity for the city to control its own fate," he said. "There's no point in this being adversarial. … But we don't have forever as an option."

So what do you think? You can read what others are saying about the consent agreement, or you can read a draft of the plan yourself and tell us what you think.

Should the city take this deal?

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Politics
6:01 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Governor Snyder to propose consent agreement for Detroit

steveburt1947 / Flickr

Governor Snyder will lay out details of a proposed consent agreement to members of the Detroit City Council on Tuesday.

Snyder and State Treasurer Andy Dillon, who leads the state review team looking at Detroit’s finances, have suggested a consent agreement for weeks.

That measure could give the city’s elected officials broad powers similar to those of an emergency manager.

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State Legislature
6:34 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Senate vote on autism mandate expected

Ifmuth Flickr

Measures on the state Senate calendar this week would require health insurance plans to cover autism treatments for children. Supporters of the autism mandate say early treatments can ensure children transition into healthy adults, and ultimately save money on health care costs.

There are an estimated 15,000 children in Michigan diagnosed with autism. But some mental health advocates say there are many more children with other brain disorders – such as severe depression or bi-polar disorder – who would similarly benefit from coverage.

Psychologist Judith Kovach says autism coverage is a good start – but singling out one condition isn’t fair to other families affected by mental illness.

“What do we say to those parents – your children don’t matter?”

Kovach appeared on Michigan Public TV this past weekend. The autism mandate is backed by Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who has a daughter with autism. They do not support expanding the requirement to cover all brain disorders.

Detroit
6:44 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Detroit mayor to ask Mich. for $125M-$150M loan

Ifmuth Flickr

Update 7:15 a.m.:

Bing spokeswoman Naomi Patton said in an email to The Associated Press on Friday morning that the mayor has no such specific plans, however, to seek the help from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

Original post:

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing plans to ask the state of Michigan for a $125 million to $150 million loan to shore up Detroit's finances and avoid a state-appointed emergency manager.

Bing's plans to seek the help from Republican Gov. Rick Snyder were reported Thursday evening by The Wall Street Journal following an interview with the Democratic mayor.

The Detroit News reported Friday that Bing's office confirmed the plans. Bing spokeswoman Naomi Patton tells the newspaper a request hasn't yet been formally made to Snyder.

The Associated Press sent emails Friday morning seeking comment from Patton and the governor's office.

Detroit faces cash flow problems and a nearly $200 million budget deficit. Bing and Snyder have said they would prefer to avoid an emergency manager. A consent agreement is a possibility.

Politics
1:24 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Governor Snyder outlines plan to fight crime in Michigan

Office of the Governor

During a press conference in Flint today, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder outlined points from his "Special Message to the Legislature on Public Safety." A press release from the governor's office quotes Snyder:

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Crime
11:54 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Michigan's governor calls for 'smart justice' to fight crime

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R)

Gov. Rick Snyder says Michigan should fight crime by arresting more criminals while also steering youths toward school and jobs and sending some of the accused to drug and mental health courts.

In remarks prepared for Wednesday in Flint, Snyder says the state needs a system of "smart justice" that includes prevention and intervention.

That means making sure those who commit crimes get punished, whether they're involved in retail theft, drug trafficking or murder.

But he says it also means giving inner-city youths a chance to work in parks and receive job training. Under Snyder's public safety plan, ex-cons would get help with literacy and job skills.

Snyder also wants to require that all school-age children attend school in order for their families to receive welfare benefits.

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