Rick Snyder

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has agreed to answer questions in a deposition about his decision to let Detroit file for bankruptcy protection.

Attorneys for Snyder and other state officials had been resisting testifying based on executive privilege. They've now changed course and informed Judge Steven Rhodes during a hearing Tuesday.

Unions opposed to the bankruptcy say Snyder's sworn testimony is important. They say Detroit is ineligible for Chapter 9, a process that could let the city shed billions in long-term debt.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration and state employee unions are arguing about who should be in the room during contract bargaining.

It’s thrown a wrench into talks on contracts that will begin in 2015 for 35,000 union-represented workers including Department of Human Services caseworkers, environmental scientists, and corrections officers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Governor Rick Snyder is trying to convince business leaders in China to take more chances on Michigan.

Snyder's office says he met Friday with executives from the Chinese parent company of Menominee-based Enstrom Helicopters and government officials in Chongqing.

He says Michigan offers tremendous opportunities for companies outside the United States to make foreign investment and expand globally.

Snyder left Michigan Wednesday on the 10-day mission to China and Japan. It's his third trade trip to Asia.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says extending Medicaid to more working poor people will save the state a lot of money – maybe $130 million next year. That begs the question of what to do with the budget windfall.

   The Snyder administration says the Medicaid expansion to 320,000 working poor people will help reduce uncompensated hospital care and other things that drive up the cost of health care. But the state should also see direct savings by shifting costs like prisoner mental health services to the Medicaid program.

The auto industry has been forever linked to the city of Detroit, but if that's the case, why is Detroit seeing such financial hardships while U.S. automakers are enjoying a boom?

On today's show we discuss the not-so-entwined Big Three and Detroit.

Then, Governor Snyder visits China . We'll find out why he's pushing so hard for a relationship between eastern Asia and Michigan.

But first, speaking in Sweden today, President Obama said responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria's government is the "moral thing to do." The President is on a three-day trip in Sweden and Russia for the G-20 summit. This is happening while senior officials in his administration are working to get support for intervention in Congress. 

Today we continue to get the view from Michigan's Congressional delegation.

Yesterday on Stateside we heard from Republican Congressman Justin Amash and Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. Now we turn to Democratic Representative Sander Levin to explain why he supports a targeted and focused response.

Official portrait

Earlier today, Rick Snyder landed in China for his third trade trip since becoming Michigan's governor.

He has scheduled stops in China and Japan during the week-and-a-half-long mission that starts today, and he's accompanied by at least 15 representatives from Michigan companies.

It's all part of the on-going effort to attract Asian investment in Michigan and strengthen trade relationships.

Snyder isn't guaranteeing that jobs will be created from this trip, but says he feels good that new business will occur as a result of the face-to-face meetings.

The Governor is also turning to tourism, putting an emphasis on selling "Pure Michigan" as a destination to Chinese tourists.

The trip is being paid for by donations to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, not by taxpayers.

Tom Watkins has been instrumental in strengthening ties between Michigan and China, and has traveled to China dozens of times since his first trip in 1989. He joined us today to talk about this trade mission.

Listen to the full interview above.

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It's Wednesday, the morning we speak with Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry about what's going on in state politics.

This week Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the approval of a Medicaid expansion in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder's trade mission to Asia, and Duggan becoming the official front runner of the Detroit mayoral race.

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Gov. Rick Snyder is making his way to Asia on Wednesday, in an attempt to sell China and Japan on all things “Pure Michigan.”

This will be Snyder’s third trip to eastern Asia as governor. This time around, the governor is not only attempting to build business relationships with China and Japan, but also trying to pitch the Great Lakes State as a new American destination for Asian tourists.

Expanding the “Pure Michigan” campaign to international tourists is a relatively new endeavor for the state. Just this February, the state allocated an additional $4 million to the program for the sole purpose of bringing in foreign travelers.

And perhaps with good reason. In 2012, Chinese tourists beat out their American and German counterparts as the world’s top international tourist spenders. In just that year, Chinese sightseers spent $104 billion on global travel.

But will Michigan ever bypass popular U.S. travel destinations, like Times Square or San Francisco?

Gov. Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan lawmakers are looking to give final approval to a Medicaid expansion bill by day's end.

Gov. Rick Snyder secured a big victory last week when the state Senate voted to implement a key part of the federal health care law.

But the Republican-controlled chamber on Tuesday is expected to reconsider the issue of when the legislation should take effect. For newly eligible low-income residents counting on the medical coverage next year, it's the difference between waiting until late March instead of qualifying as early as Jan. 1.

The House is expected to send the legislation to Snyder's desk after receiving it.

In response to conservative critics, Snyder says Michigan's plan isn't a "generic" expansion of Medicaid and instead includes Republican-driven provisions that will need approval from the Obama administration.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Labor Day weekend signals an end to summer, and this week the Legislature returns to a full-time schedule.

The first order of business is final votes on expanding Medicaid.

Legislative leaders hope to wrap up the controversial question of expanding Medicaid to thousands of working poor people. The Senate has to vote on whether the coverage will begin January first, and a House vote is needed to send the bill to Governor Rick Snyder.

The Michigan State Capitol.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate's months-long debate over Medicaid expansion isn't over, even after the vote to provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of low-income residents.

Republican senators on Tuesday will reconsider the issue of when the legislation should take effect. While the Senate passed the bill 20-18 in dramatic fashion this past week, it fell two votes short of giving it immediate effect.

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Governor Snyder in China next week

Next week Governor Snyder will travel to Asia on a third economic development mission to the region.  MLive.com reports that he will visit China and Japan to “market the state's export offerings, promote Michigan as a tourist destination, and convince Chinese business leaders that Detroit, despite its bankruptcy filing, is still a good place to invest." Funds for the business trip come from the Michigan Economic Growth Foundation.

Building inspectors charged with bribery

Yesterday Michigan Attorney Bill Schuette charged seven Detroit building inspectors with bribery.  Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports that Schuette says “inspectors took bribes to overlook code violations – in some cases, going to the lengths of falsifying architectural plans.” An investigation led by the Southeast Michigan Public Corruption Task Force and the FBI led to yesterday’s charges.

Washtenaw program may provide ID cards for undocumented immigrants

Washtenaw County is considering a program that would issue identification cards to all its residents, including undocumented immigrants.  The Washtenaw County Board Chairman says that while undocumented immigrants are a large group of people affected by the ID program, they would not be the only ones to benefit.  Yousef Rabhi says “it could apply to immigrants; it could apply to folks that are homeless; it could apply to folks that are transgender and who don't believe that the male/female designation on the current state ID is representative of who they really are.”

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Governor Snyder pushes to expedite Medicaid expansion

A bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan passed the state Senate by a narrow vote earlier this week. But a vote to make those changes by January 1, 2014 failed.  This means that thousands of people will have to wait until spring to receive health coverage.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports that Governor Rick Snyder hopes the Senate will revisit the issue as soon as Tuesday.

Deadline approaches for Detroit Public Schools recruitment

As the school year quickly approaches, Detroit Public Schools are running out of time to recruit new students.  Michigan Radio’s Kate Wells reports that the district’s summer goal was to gain 5,000 new students. If DPS does not meet this goal it may lose millions, resulting in possible layoffs and program cuts.  The district is currently retaining 93% of their students.

Detroit mayoral candidates continue campaign

Detroit mayoral candidates Mike Duggan and Benny Napoleon are continuing their campaigns while primary election drama settles out.  Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek  reports  that both candidates “are trying to position themselves as champions of Detroit neighborhoods.” Duggan is rolling out a neighborhood plan to reduce blight, while Napoleon is accusing him of being tied to “downtown corporate interests.”

Inside the Michigan Senate.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Yesterday, the state Senate approved legislation to extend Medicaid benefits to hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents. The measure initially failed when it didn't get the 20 votes needed to pass.

Later, the chamber agreed to reconsider the bill, and it passed when Republican Senator Tom Casperson switched his vote to 'yes.' 

Now, the bill is going back to the House before it's sent to Governor Snyder. 

Rick Pluta is the Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He explained the potential timeline for when the House could vote on it, and when the bill (if passed) could take effect. 

To listen to the full interview, click the link above.

Something historic happened last night. The Michigan Senate finally cast a vote that means that nearly half a million citizens without health care will be able to have it. And they will be able to do so at no cost whatsoever to our state for three years, and only a pittance afterwards.

I thought of the former students I know with chronic pains they have to ignore because they can’t possibly afford a physician. Some of these people now clog our hospital emergency rooms for problems they should be taking to a neighborhood doctor.

You might have thought there would be dancing in the streets. But no. Most of the attention went to Tea Partiers and other sore losers snarling bitterly over “Obamacare,” which is not what this is.

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State Senate passes Medicaid bill

Yesterday, the Michigan state Senate passed a bill to expand Medicaid.  The legislation is now headed for the state House.  However, Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports that the bill may be delayed because the Senate did not vote to put the bill into immediate effect.

State will re-tabulate some Detroit ballots

The state elections department will recount some of the ballots from Detroit's mayoral primary.  Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports that "state elections director Chris Thomas says they won’t discount any votes because of how they were marked."  Thomas says "you can’t disenfranchise voters because election workers make a mistake, or don’t do what they’re supposed to do.”

Michigan congressmen request collaboration between President Obama and Congress on Syria

West Michigan Congressman Justin Amash and Upper Peninsula Representative Dan Benishek joined seventeen other representatives requesting that President Obama consult Congress before taking action against Syria.  Many countries, including the U.S., are considering military action against Syria in light of recent chemical attacks against civilians.  Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports that "isolationists in Congress oppose another U.S. military intervention in the Middle East."

Inside the Michigan Senate.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss Medicaid expansion, Governor Rick Snyder's political status, and the Michigan Tea Party.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

It’s now up to the state House to decide whether to send a bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

That’s after the state Senate narrowly approved the bill yesterday.  

But the Senate may have also delayed when the expansion could actually take effect.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A bill to expand Medicaid in Michigan could get a vote in the state Senate as early as tomorrow.   So could two other alternative plans to extend health insurance to low-income Michiganders.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville says whichever route he and his colleagues decide to take, they have to address the issue this week.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is trying to burnish his conservative credentials as the Snyder administration takes on the Tea Party in the Medicaid expansion fight.

“I’m a voice on the inside that comes from the right side of the political spectrum,” said Calley on the Michigan Public Television show “Off The Record.”

Calley is trying to erase the political target on his back. He has become the focal point of Tea Party rage over the push for expanding Medicaid to cover more working poor people and other centrist sins of the Snyder administration, deemed by many Tea Partiers as insufficiently conservative. 

Now, the Tea Party doesn’t really harbor hopes of knocking down Governor Snyder with a primary challenge next year. But it does believe the Tea Party is a necessary element of any coalition to ensure a Republican victory next year, and it knows, that (even if Rick Snyder is pretty much guaranteed re-nomination in a primary election) Calley – or whomever the lieutenant governor candidate will be – has to be nominated at a state party convention.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is getting $52.3 million to deal with its blight problem.

Several other Michigan cities are also getting money to tear down abandoned homes and clean up other vacant buildings.

In June, the U.S.Treasury Department approved $100 million dollars to help several Michigan cities deal with blight. 

In addition to the money going to Detroit, the governor’s office announced today that the city of Flint will receive $20.1 million. Saginaw, Grand Rapids and Pontiac will also receive some money from the federal government’s Hardest Hit fund.

michigan.gov

Donations to Governor Snyder’s civic fund decreased last year by a lot. The 501(c)4 known as The New Energy to Reinvent and Diversity Fund – or “NERD Fund” for short – received $1.3 million in 2011, but in 2012 , the number was $368,000.

Jonathan Oosting is with MLive.com. He reports, “the NERD fund earns tax-exempt status by purporting to 'promote charitable causes including lessening the financial burdens of government in the state of Michigan.'”

Oosting joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

"Innovation" - it's what many say Michigan needs to become a player in the global economy. On today's show, we took a look at the most-innovative companies in our state. What are they doing differently in a post-Great-Recession economy?

And, we traveled to Muskegon - a community that continues to be plagued by gun violence. Dustin Dwyer of Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project reported on a gun battle that happened last month.

And, the Detroit Public Schools bond offering is tomorrow. Why should investors be interested?

Also, the guide to canoeing Michigan’s rivers just got an update. We spoke with one of the authors about the new edition.

First on the show, donations to Governor Snyder’s civic fund decreased last year by a lot. The 501 c-4 known as The New Energy to Reinvent and Diversity Fund – or “NERD Fund” for short – received $1.3 million in 2011, but in 2012 , the number was $368,000.

As Jonathan Oosting, a reporter for MLive.com, reports, “the NERD fund earns tax-exempt status by purporting to promote charitable causes including lessening the financial burdens of government in the state of Michigan.”

Jonathan Oosting joined us today.

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When it comes to "performance reviews" for politicians, the Big One is the one they face at the ballot box.

For Governor Rick Snyder and state lawmakers, that performance review comes up in November 2014.

But in the interim, the latest Michigan Public Policy Survey gives us all something to chew on. This one looks at how local officials view the job Governor Snyder and the State Legislature are doing.

The survey is done by the team at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Tom Ivacko is with the Ford School's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy. He joined us today to discuss the results.

Listen to the full interview above.

Billions and billions of federal dollars, hundreds of different policies, all rest in the U.S. Farm Bill. With very little bipartisanship in Washington these days, it's not too surprising that it's taken so long for Congress to make a deal on the legislation. But, time is running out. Why can’t the 2013 Farm Bill just get done and what does it means for the Michigan and U.S. economies?

And, we took a temperature-check. Just how do local officials think the state Legislature is doing?

Also, the Dearborn Planning Commission approved changes in rules governing the way residents may use their garages, but some people in the Arab community feel the changes are a direct slap at them.

First on the show, there's been an apology from Detroit's emergency manager for those now-infamous comments made in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. That's where Kevyn Orr described Detroit in these words: "For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich."

Orr offered up a mea culpa in an interview with WXYZ-TV.

What effect will those words and the apology have on Orr's ability to work with Detroit leaders and citizens?

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today.

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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."

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.

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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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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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.

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