Rick Snyder

Politics
6:23 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Snyder: Right to Work the wrong issue for Michigan now

Gov. Rick Snyder tours the Detroit auto show.
Rick Pluta Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder today  renewed his opposition to the Legislature taking up a controversial right-to-work measure. The governor says the issue would divide the state when it should be focused on an economic recovery. Snyder made the remarks during a tour of the Detroit auto show.

Snyder says the experience in other Midwestern states shows a fierce political fight could consume the Legislature’s attention and sideline other issues.

“And to get into a very divisive debate like that, you create an environment where not much gets done and I would point to Wisconsin, I’d point to Ohio. If you look at Indiana, that’s kind of consuming all the dialogue in that state," he said.

The governor is preparing to outline his priorities for 2012 in his second State of the State address to be delivered next week.

Republican lawmakers are expected to roll out a measure soon that would outlaw mandatory union membership as a condition of employment. A spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger said an honest dialogue and debate does not have to be divisive.

Politics
2:55 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Financial review team for Detroit meets for first time

user steveburt1947 / Flickr

A state-appointed review team assessing the finances of Detroit met for the first time today. Most members of the panel say they are optimistic the city can avoid being taken over by an emergency manager.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Conrad Mallet is on the panel. He is optimistic the city can turn its deficit around.

“We understand the concerns of the men and women who live inside the city of Detroit about what a survey like this actually entails and what it could mean,” said Mallet. “What it is going to mean is that we are going to get to the bottom of the course of difficulty.”

The review team has about a month and a half to send a report of the city’s finances and a recommendation to Governor Rick Snyder.

Education
4:01 pm
Sat January 7, 2012

The number of charter schools in Michigan expected to increase slowly (though mainly in 2013)

A spokesman for Michigan’s charter schools does not expect a new law that took effect this month will translate into a surge in the number of charter schools in the state.   

This week, the application period started for groups wanting to open charter schools in the state. A new law which took effect January 1 doubled the number of charter schools allowed in Michigan.   

Dan Quisenberry is the president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies. Quisenberry believes there is room for growth, but he expects the number of charter schools will grow slowly over the next few years.  

“The new law will probably have more effect on fall 2013," said Quisenberry,  "And even then we wouldn’t expect some kind of dramatic change."  

The law Governor Snyder signed in December will eventually do away with the state cap on charter schools in Michigan. Critics complain increasing the number of charter schools will drain financial resources needed by existing public schools. 

Commentary
11:28 am
Fri January 6, 2012

Ban on domestic partner benefits for some, may cost more than it saves

A while ago, I heard a lecturer explain how the 1960s were a time in which there was a great cultural clash in our country. Well, you didn’t have to live through the period to know that.

Bob Dylan’s song “The Times They Are A’Changin,“ spells it out. However, I would argue that the present-day culture wars are far deeper than the days when dad yelled at junior to get a haircut, and parents worried over whether their kids were trying marijuana.

Read more
Politics
8:36 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

ACLU sues Governor Snyder over benefits ban

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is suing Governor Snyder over the state’s new law banning domestic partner benefits.

Snyder signed the controversial law just before Christmas.

It prohibits school districts, counties and other public employers from extending health insurance coverage to employees’ unmarried domestic partners. State universities are exempted.

The ACLU filed suit on behalf of four couples. One plaintiff is Doak Bloss of East Lansing, whose partner of 18 years stands to lose his benefits under the new law.

Read more
Political Roundup
3:56 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

What should the Michigan legislature do with the state's budget surplus?

Michigan's State Capitol building.
user: mattileo/flickr

The non-partisan Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency is reporting that the state is bringing in more money than expected with the 2011 fiscal year ending with a surplus. Joining us now are Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Politics
5:06 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Supporters say Indiana debate builds pressure to approve “right-to-work” in Michigan

A button from the "Right to Work" campaign of the 1970s. An entirely different campaign from the one being organized today.
Danny Birchall Flickr

People who want to end compulsory union membership in Michigan are closely watching Indiana. Debate began in that state’s Capitol today to make Indiana the first “right-to-work” state in the industrial Midwest.

The legislation would ban the requirement that workers pay union dues as a condition of holding a job.

Michigan “right-to-work” supporters say the Indiana debate boosts their cause in a state where Republican Governor Rick Snyder has said the issue is too divisive to tackle.

State Representative Mike Shirkey disagrees with Snyder and plans to introduce a “right-to-work” bill in the Michigan Legislature.

Read more
Politics
4:07 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

ACLU moves forward with challenge to domestic partner benefits ban

Last month, shortly after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a ban on healthcare benefits for the domestic partners of some public employees, the American Civil Liberties Union released a statement decrying the governor's decision and promised to "challenge the constitutionality of the law on behalf of families who will lose their health protections."

Now it looks like they are moving forward with that promise, according to a story from the Associated Press.

The AP reports that the ACLU "says it will file a lawsuit to challenge" the law and that the group "will discuss the case at a news conference Thursday in Detroit."

- John Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Commentary
11:28 am
Wed January 4, 2012

The Governor and the Bridge

Governor Rick Snyder had an amazing year last year, getting far more of his program through the legislature than anyone could have predicted. His one major defeat was, in a way, shocking.

That was, of course, his attempt to get a new bridge built over the Detroit River, a bridge that wouldn’t cost Michigan taxpayers anything, and which business leaders say is vitally necessary.

Read more
Detroit Financial Review
6:37 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Hundreds rally against possible Detroit takeover

Hundreds of people gathered at a Detroit church to voice their opposition to the possibility that the state could
take over the city's government.

Michigan Democratic Congressman John Conyers was among those at Monday's gathering at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. He told the crowd he would use his relationship with the White House to fight any attempt to appoint an emergency manager.

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder announced members of a review team that will dig deeply into Detroit's finances.

The team's appointment comes after a preliminary review found that there was "probable financial stress" in Michigan's largest city.

Ultimately, Detroit could be appointed an emergency manager, which state and city officials have said they want to avoid.

Auditors say Detroit may run out of money as early as April.

Economy
1:01 am
Mon January 2, 2012

2012 may see a huge increase in home foreclosures in Michigan

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Home foreclosures in Michigan are expected to increase in 2012.    

The pace of foreclosure filings slowed in 2011 as mortgage lenders had to deal with new rules and lawsuits.    

Daren Bloomquist is with RealtyTrac. He said most of the issues that slowed the rate of foreclosure filings have now been dealt with. But Bloomquist said there’s always the chance that new obstacles will arise.  

Read more
Environment
8:03 am
Thu December 29, 2011

How green is your governor?

Rick Snyder was the first Republican running for governor to be endorsed by the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (MLCV), a lobbying group that advocates for conservational and environmental laws and protection.

The MLCV has been tracking Governor Snyder’s position on environmental issues through the “How Green is your Governor” scorecard, an online evaluation that rates the administration’s environmental policy decision - green is good, red is bad, and yellow is neutral.

Read more
The Environment Report
6:00 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Checking in with the Department of Environmental Quality

As the year winds down, we’re spending some time this week on The Environment Report taking a look at the state of our environment. On Thursday, we’ll hear from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters on just how well they think Governor Snyder has been protecting Michigan’s natural resources. But, first, today, we speak with the man whose job it is to keep your environment healthy. That would be Dan Wyant, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Cutting the DEQ’s Budget

I first asked Wyant about his department’s budget. It’s been cut and cut over the past decade; just this year alone it saw a 15 percent cut. The cuts do have an impact, says Wyant, but, “it’s forced [the department] to prioritize… think about what we want to accomplish. So, we’re focused around air quality and water quality and public health… and I think we can say, with some confidence, that we are seeing more environmental stewardship, not less.”

Economic Development

Governor Snyder has said one of the goals for the DEQ is for the department to be a part of Michigan’s economic development. Both Snyder and Wyant believe the DEQ has a role in the state’s recovery. “We know that it’s our role to ensure good environmental stewardship – that’s why we were created and that’s our job,” notes Wyant. But, he also says he thinks there are certain things the department can do to help businesses grow in the state. “We want to be recognizing permit timing so that businesses can get timely decisions and… we’re looking at old and antiquated, duplicates of regulation... and we want to address culture. We want to be a department of problem solvers. It doesn’t mean that we don’t wear the black hats and that we don’t have to tell people they can’t do things… but we really want to be a full partner with those that do business,” Wyant says.

Working with Lawmakers

Director Wyant was appointed by Republican Governor Snyder but he, also, works closely with the state legislature.  The GOP majorities in both the state House and Senate sometimes disagree with both Wyant and Snyder about certain environmental issues.  One such issue is wetlands protection. Wyant says he and the Governor will continue to push the legislature to keep the wetlands program. “The Snyder Administration and myself have been advocating very strongly to keep the program… We think the resource is really important for water quality, it’s very important for habitat and natural resources." And, he notes, he thinks he and the governor now have a majority of lawmakers believing that the program should be saved.

Looking to 2012

Wyant says the goal for 2012 will be focusing on one of the Governor’s favorite phrases, “Relentless Positive Action.” “We do that”, Wyant says, by, “encouraging more environmental stewardship – not less. We want to see Michigan’s economy recover – we think that’s good for the environment. And, lastly, the governor is very focused on customer service – our customers are the citizens of Michigan.”

Politics
3:34 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

Governor Snyder focuses on bottom line during 1st year

michigan.gov

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has made improving the state's bottom line his top priority.
    

During his first year in office, the GOP governor has shaved billions of dollars off future health care and retirement commitments, scaled back tax breaks for retirees and low-income workers, ended welfare benefits for 11,000 families and reduced both the state budget and business taxes.
    

Read more
Politics
10:35 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Opposition to Michigan's emergency managers ramps up

Snyder talks about Detroit on Facebook.

Yesterday, the president of the Michigan Chapter of the Rainbow Coalition David Bullock said they were prepared to use "all measures afforded to us as citizens to protect democracy," according to the Detroit Free Press.

Bullock was with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, elected officials, and others denouncing Michigan's emergency manager law as unconstitutional and likening EMs to dictators.

From the Free Press:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson joined a coalition of pastors, civil rights leaders and elected officials Thursday in Detroit to pledge strong opposition -- including civil disobedience, if necessary -- against the state's new emergency manager law.

Jackson and others likened emergency managers to dictators who wipe out the democratic process with unilateral authority to gut union contracts, sell cherished assets and slash essential services.

"We are prepared to go from education, mobilization, litigation, legislation, demonstration and civil disobedience," Jackson said during a news conference at Bethany Baptist Church on the city's west side. "We want a positive commitment to restoring democracy and economic justice for all citizens."

Later in the day, Governor Rick Snyder released a Facebook video explaining his views on Detroit's financial situation. In the video, Snyder said the state's role is to be a "supporting resource," and "my goal is to ever avoid having to appoint an emergency manger - that's a failure point."

Snyder said there were two critical issues that need to be addressed. From the video:

"One, there's a short term cash issue. We can't have the city run out of money, and hopefully the city can come up with a program to get through the crisis the mayor has talked about, about potentially running out of cash in April.

The second one issue is a very difficult one which is a long term structural solution. Because we can't continue this process. Detroit has been in a financial crisis in some fashion for decades...

The fundamental thing we need to do is  create an environment where Detoriters can have a good life, and that gets down to some basic services. And we need to make sure those basic services are being provided consistently for the long term because that's not happening today."

Commentary
9:12 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Michigan's Governor makes a misstep on benefits to the unmarried domestic partners

Politically speaking, this has been the year of Rick Snyder. Since he first burst on the scene two years ago, he has had an astonishing run of success. The experts said a self-proclaimed “nerd” without any political experience couldn’t possibly win the nomination for governor, much less the general election.

 When he did both, they said the new kid would fall on his face in the rough-and-tumble world of Lansing. Instead, he got more significant legislation enacted in a few short months than his predecessor had in eight years.

Read more
Politics
4:43 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Michigan Governor Snyder signs measure banning live-in partner health benefits

Update 4:43 p.m.

Governor Rick Snyder has approved a ban on health benefits that cover the live-in partners of many public employees in Michigan.

The governor says the ban will not apply to the partners of state civil service workers and people employed by public universities.

In a letter to the Legislature, the governor says the law cannot violate the independence of the state Civil Service Commission and public universities. Both are autonomous under the Michigan Constitution.

But Republicans in the Legislature say the law applies to all public employees, and not just people who work for school districts and local governments.

Republicans like state Representative Dave Agema say live-in partner benefits are a way to circumvent Michigan’s voter-approved amendment outlawing same-sex marriage and civil unions:

“All I ask is, if you really want this, do another referendum. Bring it before the people. See what kind of probability you will get there. I will tell you right now, they will never pass that,” says Agema.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it will be in court soon to challenge the new law.

3:44 p.m.

Governor Rick Snyder has approved a measure to ban taxpayer-funded health benefits for the unmarried live-in partners of most public employees in Michigan. The governor sent a letter to the Legislature saying he signed the bill with the understanding that it does not apply to employees of public universities.

Politics
4:06 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

The Year in State Politics

Michigan State Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

This year, ushered in a new Governor, Republican Rick Snyder, and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate.

Joining us to take a look back at the year in state politics are Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Education
5:17 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Governor Snyder signs law removing cap on Michigan charter schools

Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a bill into law that gets rid of the cap on the number of university-sponsored charter schools in the state.

Snyder said he hopes allowing more charter schools to open their doors in Michigan will encourage all schools to improve their performance.

“One of the nice parts about charters is it really emphasizes innovation and entrepreneurial ideas about how to really advance education,” said Snyder. “It’s the system of school concept that you’re going to see more and more across all education – that it’s not just about a district, it’s about schools being successful.”

Critics of the measure say the law does not include enough assurances that charter schools meet high standards. And they say charter schools leave out special-needs students through selective enrollment and interviewing.

Governor Snyder said treatment of students with special needs is a concern.

 “I would like to say that there’s a better job in general that we can do with special-needs kids, and that’s something that a more comprehensive review would be appropriate – including the intermediate school districts, the whole process of how we do it today, and how we can work better together. Because it’s important, again, to have all our kids be as successful as possible,” Snyder said.

The law will allow an unlimited number of university-sponsored charter schools to operate in Michigan by 2015.

Read more
Politics
4:44 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Talking about crime in Flint with Michigan Governor Snyder

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder held meetings in Flint today about public safety.

Flint has the worst violent crime rate in the nation, according to the FBI. As Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reported, gun violence is the main problem.

Kristin Longley of the Flint Journal reported on the Governor's meetings today.

The Governor held two roundtable discussions - one with local law enforcement and government officials and another with community leaders from local churches, foundations, schools, and the Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Snyder said crime in Michigan has to be addressed. From the Flint Journal:

“If you look at the most violent crime list, or a number of the crime lists, four communities in Michigan are on that list,” Snyder said. “That’s not acceptable.”

The governor pledged to continue the boosted state police patrols in the city. Currently, four squads are doing directed patrols in the evening and early morning hours, seven days a week.

Since patrols were boosted in June, state police have made more than 3,200 traffic stops and arrested 533 fugitives, according to state police data. State police Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said the agency’s helicopter patrols have been particularly helpful in the local crime-fighting effort.

Snyder said he's planning to deliver a special message on crime in Michigan's cities sometime next year.

Longley reported some people came to the meetings to voice their disapproval of the state's emergency manager laws.

Flint is currently being run by state-appointed emergency manager Michael Brown. The Mayor and Flint City Council members have been stripped of their power.

Flint NAACP President Frances Gilcreast said the recent takeover by an emergency manager was one topic that wasn't brought up:

“That was the elephant in the room,” she said of the meeting, which was by invitation only and was closed to the media. “How can people effect change if the voice of the people is not being honored?”

Pages