Rick Snyder

Yesterday was not a good day for Governor Rick Snyder.

First, he signed the bill outlawing straight-ticket voting. There was never any real doubt he would do this.

Those in politics were surprised he didn’t sign it between Christmas and the new year, when most people are paying little attention. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed off on a state of emergency declaration for the city of Flint. It moves the city closer to getting help to recover from its drinking water crisis. 

“The health and welfare of Flint residents is a top priority and we’re committed to a coordinated approach with resources from state agencies to address all aspects of this situation,” Snyder said in a written statement.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s contaminated drinking water is now the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Gina Balaya is a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Michigan. She confirmed the investigation today. 

“(The U.S. Attorney’s office) is working closely with the EPA” on the investigation "to address the concerns of Flint residents," says Balaya.  

She declined to comment further on the investigation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s state of emergency declaration is on its way to the governor’s office.

The Genesee County Commission approved the declaration for the city of Flint Monday.

The declaration is tied to elevated lead levels in the city’s drinking water.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials are spending the holidays finalizing a proposal that asks for help dealing with the city’s water crisis.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has been meeting with Genesee County officials to work out what needs to be part of the city’s emergency response plan.

“Sometimes we can’t put numbers to things.  But we can give estimates of what we believe it to be,” says Weaver. “So what we’re doing is identifying the resources that we need, the cost of those resources, and making sure we have a complete document to give.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will consider a resolution backing the governor’s call to put a hold on bringing Syrian refugees into Michigan. 

State Senator Patrick Colbeck says his resolution is about safety.

“It’s about making sure we have taken all due diligence to fulfill our first responsibility as elected officials and that’s securing public safety,” says Colbeck. 

Governor Snyder asked the Obama administration to review its refugee vetting process, after the Paris terrorist attacks that killed more than a hundred people.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says lawmakers could first tackle the Detroit school district's debt and possibly leave until later his call for a new commission to close poor-performing traditional and charter schools.

  The Republican governor told The Associated Press in a year-end interview that pending legislation to split the district in two to retire debt and to empower a chief education officer to hold schools accountable could go on "parallel or somewhat separate tracks." Snyder says the more urgent issue in terms of timing is the state-run district's finances.

lockers lining a school hallway
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s slowing down his plans to fix Detroit’s schools in order to get the process moving. In the face of resistance from Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature, the governor says he wants to break up the work, focusing first on retiring the district’s massive debt.

State of Michigan

One man will lead the state’s efforts to deal with Flint’s water crisis.

Harvey Hollins is the director of the Office of Urban Initiatives. Gov. Snyder has appointed Hollins to oversee the state agencies responding to Flint’s water crisis. 

Errors in how the water was treated (actually, how it wasn't treated) are blamed for unhealthy levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water going undetected for months. 

On April 25, 2014, Flint officials toasted each other as they flipped the switch to the Flint River.
WNEM-TV

I don’t blame the governor’s press secretary for not understanding exactly who made the decision to have Flint pump its drinking water from the Flint River. It was a complicated decision making process with multiple key players that lasted at least a few months.

Back in the spring of 2013, when this decision was made, Governor Rick Snyder’s press secretary, Dave Murray, was one of “us”; a journalist working for The Grand Rapids Press/MLive.

UNHCR / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Governor Rick Snyder says he’s closer to lifting the “pause” on his efforts to bring more refugees from Syria and the Middle East to Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A push to declare a state of emergency in Flint is running into some pushback.

Mayor Karen Weaver called for the declaration this week. She says the city needs state and federal help to repair its problem-plagued water system.

Flint’s water system is antiquated. In 2014, partly to save money, the city switched from Detroit water to the Flint River for its drinking water.

The federally-created Council of Governors has a meeting scheduled for tomorrow. This is the group of 10 governors (always five Republicans and five Democrats) that gives the federal government the states’ perspectives on national security issues.

This is also the group that Governor Snyder said he wanted to conduct a review of federal security policies after the self-proclaimed most pro-immigration governor called for a “pause” in resettling refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries after last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Egypt.

Lawmakers are continuing their autumn recess, but they’ll soon be back in Lansing to focus on Governor Rick Snyder’s plan for Detroit schools.

UNHCR / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Governor Rick Snyder was the first governor in the nation to speak out on refugees following last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. And he may have come to regret it as he tries to clarify his position vis a vis what a lot of the nation’s other Republican governors are saying about refugees and immigration.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Syrian American community and its supporters are urging Governor Snyder to resume efforts to re-settle refugees in the state.

Snyder had taken a welcoming stance toward Syrian refugees.

But he’s withdrawing that welcome, at least temporarily, in light of last week’s terrorist attacks overseas.

A big economic development project in Grand Rapids seems to have Republican lawmakers rethinking their opposition to industry-specific tax breaks.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that will increase fuel taxes and registration fees and re-prioritize spending to raise more than $1 billion to fix roads.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Now that state lawmakers have cobbled together a roads package, the spotlight can turn to fresh priorities.

For example, fixing Detroit’s collapsing school system.

The governor estimates it will take more than $700 million to rehabilitate Detroit’s public schools and warns that if the state doesn’t tackle the mammoth school debt, things will only get worse.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s new mayor says she wants her city to return to total local control.

Soon after Karen Weaver took her oath of office as Flint mayor, she called on Governor Snyder re-instate total local control in her city.

“I do not embrace the current governance model on a moral or political basis,” Weaver told the standing room crowd that packed the city council chambers to watch her take her oath of office. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A one-man effort to recall Governor Rick Snyder from office faces a big hurdle this week.

Angelo Brown says Governor Snyder deserves to be recalled because of the role his administration played in the Flint drinking water crisis.

Brown’s recall petition accuses the governor of being “culpable” in the decisions that lead to the use of corrosive Flint River water as the city’s drinking water source. 

Graham Holliday / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Gov. Rick Snyder says the state government faces 2.5 million cyber-attacks every day.

Snyder spoke at the opening of an international cyber security summit in Detroit on Monday.

Another road funding plan is moving in Lansing but, after four years of debate, one has to wonder: has a real solution become an impossible dream?

In the state Legislature, the Senate now has the House plan. The House has the Senate plan. But, even though it’s Republicans calling the shots in Lansing, Republicans can’t agree on what to do about fixing the roads.

This Week in Michigan Politics, I talk with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry about the investigation into the Flint water crisis, Governor Rick Snyder's plan to overhaul Detroit schools, and proposed changes in how teachers are evaluated.


Governor Rick Snyder is facing a tough sell today as he tries to re-start the conversation on fixing Detroit’s schools. And, that’s just one of the political tough sells the Second Term Nerd is facing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials are still working out the details of returning to Detroit water.

Last week, Gov. Snyder announced a $12 million plan to reconnect Flint to Detroit water.   The state is putting up half the money.  The rest is coming from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the city. 

A year and a half ago, Flint switched its drinking water source from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River.  That was meant to be temporary while the new Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline was under construction.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is going back to Detroit water.   

The state, the city and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation together are kicking in $12 million to shut off the tap to the Flint River.

A year and a half ago, city leaders stood in Flint's water plant and raised plastic glasses to toast the city’s switch to the Flint River.

Eighteen months later, Governor Snyder has announced the end of the Flint River experiment.

Protesters in Flint.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

In Flint, lead levels in some children's blood have spiked dramatically, and scientists believe a new drinking water source is to blame. They're pointing to lapses in oversight from state regulators, who they say should’ve seen the problem coming.

Flint’s water problems began about a year ago, not long after the city stopped drawing water from Detroit’s system. To save money, Flint began getting its water from the Flint River.

With the hand-wringing over what appears to be short-term, hasty-decision-making in Flint (the move by a state-appointed emergency manager to try and save money by breaking away from Detroit’s water system and to, instead, pull water from the the highly corrosive Flint River), the city’s water crisis has now become a political crisis as well.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State and local officials Friday unveiled a plan for fixing Flint’s water problems.

But one demand of many city residents is not on the list.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality director Dan Wyant addressed what he sees as the critical problem in Flint. 

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