Rick Snyder

Politics & Government
7:45 am
Thu August 15, 2013

In this morning's news: Michigan roads, panhandling laws, and the Wayne County jail

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

State Senate delays road legislation

Leaders in the state Senate say that plans to fix Michigan roads aren't likely to appear on the November ballot.  Governor Rick Snyder has pushed to raise registration fees and gas taxes to pay for road repairs.  Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports that lawmakers are instead favoring an increased sales tax to raise the money. 

Michigan's panhandling ban overturned

Yesterday a federal appeals court struck down Michigan's ban on panhandling. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit in 2011 on behalf of two Grand Rapids men who had been repeatedly penalized for begging in public.  Michigan Radio's Mark Brush reports the court ruled that "begging, panhandling, or asking for money in a public place is protected as free speech under the First Amendment."

Fate of new Wayne County jail debated

Wayne County officials are considering scrapping a half-finished jail construction.  Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports that Governor Rick Snyder is pushing for the county to stop the project, sell the property, and lease an older state-owned jail facility.  The Detroit Free Press also reports that the Wayne County Building Authority is considering firing the project manager who authorized "more than $42 million in major changes without the needed written approval of the Building Authority."

Politics & Government
5:10 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

State lawmakers still far from agreeing on plan to fix Michigan's roads

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A plan to improve Michigan’s roads and infrastructure will probably not be on the November ballot. That’s according to leaders of both parties in the state Senate.

Governor Rick Snyder wants the state Legislature to boost road funding by more than a billion dollars a year. But lawmakers have not embraced his plan to raise registration fees and the state’s gas tax to pay for it.

Instead, multiple plans have surfaced that would include asking voters to increase the state’s sales tax.

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Politics & Government
2:28 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

The financially troubled Pontiac school district has a week to pick a new path to follow

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Pontiac school district leaders have seven days to decide what path they wish to follow to address the district’s financial emergency.

Governor Rick Snyder has officially confirmed his determination that Pontiac schools are in a financial emergency. 

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Tue August 13, 2013

Striking a new deal with some Michigan's Native American tribes on gaming revenue

flicker.com user:mana

The state of Michigan is trying to negotiate a new agreement with six Native American tribes that could mean a lot of money for the state.

Since 1993, the state of Michigan has had an agreement with the tribes (Saginaw Chippewa, Grand Traverse, Lau Vieux Desert, Sault Ste Marie, Bay Mills and Hannahville) concerning gambling revenues.   That gaming compact is up for its regular review this year.  

Governor Snyder wants to renegotiate the compact.  A spokesman for the governor declined to say what’s being discussed.  

Aaron Payment is the chairman of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, which operates five casinos in the U.P.

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Politics & Government
8:13 am
Mon August 12, 2013

In this morning's news: Dillion's campaign funds, Snyder in the UP, and petition drives

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Andy Dillion's campaign funds in disarray

“Michigan election officials are declining to allow the closing of a fund from state Treasurer Andy Dillon's 2010 race for governor because of $105,000 that isn't properly accounted for. Dillon lost to Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in the race for the Democratic nomination. The Detroit Free Press  says that no one has made any claims of improper activity, but the Department of State normally requires campaign funds to have zero balances before they can be dissolved. Dillon spokesman Terry Stanton says the issues are technical and are being addressed by the campaign treasurers,” according to the Associated Press.

Governor Snyder headed to the UP

“Governor Rick Snyder is on a road trip in the western Upper Peninsula. The governor has several stops planned Monday and Tuesday, starting at Miner's Heritage Memorial Park in Ironwood where he will speak at the dedication of a trailhead. Snyder also will tour a mine in Wakefield before going to Houghton and Hancock. On Tuesday, he'll be in Copper Harbor and Negaunee,” the Associated Press reports.

Wolf hunt petition drive joins three others

The campaign to outlaw wolf hunts in the Upper Peninsula officially launches today with an event in Lansing. It joins three other petition drives already in the field.

“Right to Life of Michigan wants to get around Governor Rick Snyder’s veto of a bill to require consumers to buy a separate insurance rider if they want abortion coverage. Environmental groups want to outlaw a controversial natural gas drilling method known as “fracking.” There is also a drive to end the Legislature’s practice of making some controversial legislation immune to referendum challenges,” Rick Pluta reports.

Education
7:29 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Pontiac schools edge closer to getting an emergency manager

Pontiac Middle School.
pontiac.k12.mi.us Pontiac School District

A state review team has determined the Pontiac school district is saddled with so much debt it’s in a financial crisis.

Now it’s up to Governor Rick Snyder to decide whether he agrees with that determination.

The state-appointed board found the school district’s debt has continued to grow over the past five years and it’s now almost $38 million dollars in the red with no credible plan to dig out. The district has missed paying some critical bills, including employee health insurance premiums.

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Politics & Government
9:28 am
Fri August 2, 2013

In this morning’s news: battery plant, education recalls, Medicaid

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LG Chem Plant begins production

The LG Chem plant in West Michigan has finally started production of lithium-ion batteries.  Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith reports that “the plant cost roughly $300 million to build,” and that “federal stimulus money paid for almost half that cost.”  The plant has been accused of wasting some of that money by paying employees despite them not working.

Elections Commission rejects recall request

The Washtenaw County Elections Commission has rejected a recall of Ann Arbor school board members.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports the election board “ruled the petition was not sufficiently clear on why six members of the Ann Arbor Board of Education should be removed by voters.”  

Medicaid committee praised

Governor Rick Snyder has applauded a state Senate committee for advancing work on Medicaid. The committee produced three plans, one of which would expand Medicaid in Michigan.  Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports "Snyder says he’s not worried that the competing bills will peel votes away from the legislation he supports."

Politics & Government
5:40 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Gov. Snyder 'relentlessly positive' about Medicaid expansion prospects

Governor Rick Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder is applauding a state Senate panel for advancing a bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan. For weeks, Snyder has been trying to put pressure on lawmakers to vote to extend Medicaid benefits to hundreds of thousands of residents.

But the committee also approved two alternative proposals that also seek to extend coverage to low-income Michiganders. Those plans would not expand Medicaid.

Snyder says he’s not worried that the competing bills will peel votes away from the legislation he supports.

“That’s yet to be seen. In many respects, I’m not sure you have to say you can only vote for one bill. If you actually see value in more than one bill, why does that mean you can only vote for one?”

All three proposals now go to the full Senate. A vote on the issue is expected at the end of this month.

Politics & Government
9:51 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Medicaid expansion bill clears state Senate committee

The state Capitol in Lansing.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

A state Senate panel has approved legislation to expand Medicaid in Michigan. The bill would extend coverage to hundreds of thousands of residents through the Affordable Care Act.

The panel also advanced two alternative Medicaid proposals. Neither would expand Medicaid. But proponents say they would expand health care coverage – either through other state programs or the free market.

Senator Bruce Caswell  is sponsoring legislation that would create a state-run health care program for low-income residents who are not currently eligible for Medicaid.

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Opinion
8:53 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Michigan Attorney General intends to intervene on behalf of Detroit pensioners

Lessenberry commentary for 7/29/2013

Last week, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette did something many found startling, especially those politically liberal. Schuette announced that in Detroit's bankruptcy filing he intended to intervene on behalf of those who have pensions coming.

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Law
8:17 pm
Sat July 27, 2013

Michigan Attorney General to challenge changes to Detroit pensions

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette
AG's office

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state constitution protects Detroit pension benefits from being reduced or eliminated by the city’s bankruptcy.

Schuette says he will be in court Monday asking to join the case on behalf of pensioners.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes took control of lawsuits challenging the bankruptcy filing because it puts city pension benefits in jeopardy. But he has not ruled on the substance of the question, which is whether the benefits are shielded by protections in the Michigan Constitution.

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Politics & Government
5:12 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

State police, lawmakers look to crack down on schools that ignore emergency drill rules

Snyder's plan addresses school safety after events like the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Office of Governor Rick Snyder Wikimedia Commons

Michigan State Police officials say it’s time to crack down on schools that ignore emergency safety drill rules.

A state police task force says schools should be forced to report when and how safety drills are conducted. Those reports would have to be posted on the schools’ web sites.

Republican state Representative Joe Graves is sponsoring legislation he says will incorporate that and other recommendations.

“So Johnny’s mom and dad and grandparents can go on there and say, ‘Yep, he’s getting trained,’ and it goes throughout the year, distributed evenly.”

The task force is part of Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to address school safety issues after recent tragedies, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.

Recent investigations by MLive Media Group suggest many Michigan schools have been breaking laws related to school safety drills.

Economy
3:08 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Snyder drums up 'relentless positive action' after bad news weekend about Detroit

Governor Rick Snyder helps cut the ribbon on a new expansion of an auto supplier in Muskegon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Detroit’s bankruptcy will make it tricky to brand Michigan as the comeback state.

True to his “relentless-positive-action” style, Governor Rick Snyder didn’t let a weekend of bad news about Detroit’s dismal finances get him down.

On Wednesday morning, as a hearing on the bankruptcy was beginning in federal court in Detroit, Snyder attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for an auto supplier that’s expanding in Muskegon. He urged factory workers to spread the good news about Michigan to everyone they meet.

“I’m not talking just ‘Pure Michigan” tourism messages, Snyder told the crowd. He asked they spread the news about Michigan’s educated workforce and its culture “of making the world’s best products.”

He admitted to reporters the bankruptcy has sidelined conversations about the state’s economy.

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Politics & Government
6:45 am
Mon July 22, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit bankruptcy, Flint school district deficit, St. Petersburg, Russia

Morning News Roundup for Monday, July 22, 2013
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Detroit bankruptcy is topic of national conversation

Snyder, Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing appeared on Sunday morning talk shows yesterday to talk about filing bankruptcy for Detroit. Snyder said he will push to protect the retired city workers whose pensions are on the table. He said the bankruptcy filing included protections for retirees and urged them to remain calm. Orr said on "Fox News Sunday" that there are going to have to be "concessions." Bing on ABC's "This Week" said now that bankruptcy has been filed, leaders have to take a step back before making a decision on a federal bailout.

Flint school district faces more budget cuts

The Flint School Board will take up a Deficit Elimination Plan tomorrow night. The district is wrestling with a nearly 16 million dollar deficit. The Flint school district has made deep budget cuts but more cuts are likely if the district follows the plan to eliminate its deficit by June 2016. The Flint School Board has until July 31st to send its deficit elimination plan to the state.  

Lansing may end its relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia

The Lansing city council will be meeting tonight to discuss its sister city relationship with St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg recently passed an anti-gay ordinance and police there arrested people at an LGBT rally. Members say they want to send a message to St. Petersburg officials by canceling Lansing’s two decade sister cities relationship with the city.

It's Just Politics
4:04 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Snyder might not own Detroit, but he owns its bankruptcy

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

The Detroit bankruptcy filing is Michigan’s biggest news story of the year, with effects that will ripple out in all kinds of ways; many that are unpredictable.  It would be naïve to suggest that politics will not be a big part of how this plays out – if it hasn’t already.

So let’s run the bases on this, starting with Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder approved the bankruptcy filing, the largest in U.S. history, and it is now part of his legacy and his resume (whether he likes it or not) as he prepares to seek reelection next year. Every painful and controversial decision by a federal bankruptcy judge will be laid upon Rick Snyder by Democrats. Snyder may not own Detroit, but he sure owns its problems.

This is an awkward place for any leader to be, although not an unusual one. This is a governor being controlled by events, not controlling them. A couple years ago Snyder relentlessly, positively insisted that bankruptcy for Detroit was not an option; almost unthinkable. Now, he says there was really no other choice.   “This is a difficult situation – but the answer is, by not doing this path, where would we be? And, so, this is an opportunity to say ‘let’s get that fresh start’ and show the rest of the country why Detroit can be an exciting place that can grow into the future,” Snyder said yesterday evening, about two hours after the Chapter 9 filing.

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Politics & Government
11:25 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Detroit pension funds sue city's emergency manager, governor in attempt to block bankruptcy

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
State of Michigan Michigan.gov

Two Detroit pension funds have sued the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, and Governor Rick Snyder in an attempt to block the Motor City from filing for bankruptcy.

The General Retirement System and the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit filed the lawsuit yesterday, Bloomberg’s Margaret Cronin Fisk reported. The state’s constitution offers protection of public retirees’ rights, and the petitioners of the lawsuit are claiming that a Detroit bankruptcy would violate those rights.

Orr’s office refused to comment on the lawsuit.

Orr hasn’t commented on which pension funds would be cut, and to what degree, but he has vowed to make “significant cuts” to pension payments.

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Politics & Government
7:35 am
Thu July 18, 2013

In this morning's news: Medicaid expansion, Palisades Plant, and unemployment rates

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Medicaid bill expected next week

The Medicaid expansion could reach a vote in the Michigan State Senate in late August.  A first draft of the bill may be ready by next week.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports that Governor Rick Snyder “has said waiting until late August could jeopardize the state’s ability to get federal approval.”

Palisades Nuclear Plant at risk of closing

A new study puts the Palisades Nuclear Plant on a list of 12 plants at risk of closing before their licenses expire.  The study was produced by Mark Cooper at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School.  The list weighs factors such as repairs and safety improvement, and also includes the Davis-Besse plant near Toledo.  Michigan Radio’s Lindsay Smith reports “Cooper says nuclear plants are simply more expensive to run safely as they age. Plus the falling price of renewable energy and natural gas make nuclear power less competitive.”

Michigan’s unemployment rate jumps

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate increased to 8.7%.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports, “There are actually about 9 thousand more people working in Michigan.  But there are also more people who told the government’s monthly employment survey that they are looking for work.”

Politics & Government
6:36 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

State Senate may vote next month on expanding Medicaid in Michigan

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There could be a vote in the state Senate in late August on a bill to extend Medicaid health coverage to thousands of un-insured working poor people.

That’s despite Governor Rick Snyder’s call for a vote earlier than that.

The governor has said waiting until late August could jeopardize the state’s ability to get federal approval, and then sign up people in time for coverage to begin when the new federal healthcare law takes effect in January.

The state House has already passed its version of a Medicaid bill.

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Politics & Government
10:45 am
Wed July 17, 2013

State lawmakers begin hearings on Common Core, anger and frustration ensues

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan.
Michigan.gov

Debate is underway in Lansing about whether to implement a set of state school standards.

A state House panel held its first meeting on Common Core State Standards Tuesday.

Republican Representative Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) grilled state Department of Education officials about Common Core. He says the standards take away local control and were developed and adopted without public input.

Meanwhile, state Superintendent State Superintendent Mike Flanagan is urging lawmakers to go forward with a set of nationwide school standards. Flanagan argues that districts would have final say over standards and curriculum.

“Technically, [districts] don’t even have to follow the Common Core,” Flanagan said. “Now, I think they will. It’s a smart...well thought out set of standards.”

Gov. Rick Snyder also supports adopting the Common Core standards.

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Economy
3:33 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager, 'financial condition of Detroit continues to be dire'

Kevyn Orr talking with the press after a meeting with Detroit creditors.
Detroit Free Press video Detroit Free Press

Those were Kevyn Orr's words in his latest quarterly report.

The Detroit Free Press' John Gallagher drew "8 key points" from the report, one of them being:

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