Weekly Political Roundup

Every Thursday afternoon, Michigan Radio's All Things Considered Host Jennifer White takes a closer look at the issues affecting Michigan politics with state political analysts including Ken Sikkema, Susam Demas, Debbie Dingell, Bill Ballenger and others.

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Weekly Political Roundup
5:26 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: State budget talks

user cedarbenddrive Flickr

We take a look at Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

The Michigan legislature has come to an agreement on targets for the state budget. The state is carrying a surplus of $483 million more than projected for just the current fiscal year. So, what does that surplus tell us about the state’s fiscal health?

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
12:10 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: Buena Vista schools, Democrat Mark Schauer

Originally aired on Thursday, May 9th 2013.

Each week, we talk Michigan politics with 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.

This week the Buena Vista School District closed due to a lack of funds. The state took away funding because the district was taking money from the state for a program they were no longer operating.

Teachers in that district offered to work for free, but the district closed anyway. Now, the state says their hands are tied.

"Well this is a big issue. We haven't had a school district close because of lack of funding for 20 years. That was Kalkaska in 1993, which really precipitated the passage of Proposal A, school finance reform. Buena Vista is a small district...and these 400 kids have to be in the classroom. I don't think there is any question about that in anybody's mind. And, the state and local officials are going to have to figure out a way  to get these children back into a classroom immediately," said Sikkema.

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Weekly Political Roundup
4:55 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Republicans need 'top tier' candidate to run against Peters for Senate

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Each Thursday we speak with 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.

This week, we look at clashes over the budget which led to House Speaker Jase Bolger removing eight Democrats from their committee assignments. Four were later given back those assignments after what Bolger called “positive individual meetings."

And Gary Peters announced his run for Senate. Who might Republicans choose to run against him?

Listen to the full interview above.

Weekly Political Roundup
4:58 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Suggested changes in benefits for those seriously injured in car accidents

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Each week host Jennifer White discusses Michigan politics with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Two new bills have been recently introduced in the state legislature, which would dramatically impact the amount of care received by those injured in a catastrophic car accident. Under current law, severely injured Michiganders can receive unlimited benefits for their care; however, unlimited care may turn into a thing of the past.

“What it would seek to do is put a million dollar cap on the benefits offered to people who suffered devastating injuries during a car accident,” explains Susan Demas. “We’re the only true no-fault state in the country, and the insurance industry has long since been very concerned about this.”

Claims of finances in disarray, and the burden of unlimited benefits on the economy have been core reasons given for reform of the current system. But political sub-plots behind the scenes may slow down the governor’s momentum with these bills.

“This is really one of the best opportunities in the last generation for significant reform,” suggests Ken Sikkema. “But it’s not without political implications for the next election.”

-Austin Davis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics & Government
5:47 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: Legal challenges to new EM law, and same-sex marriage ban

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Each week we discuss Michigan politics with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Michigan’s new emergency manager law went into effect today, so we wanted to find out how the new law differs from the one voters overturned in the November 2012 election. And we discuss the legal challenges to the new law. Plus, the Supreme Court is hearing two cases this week centering on same-sex marriage. In Michigan in 2004, voters approved a constitutional ban of same-sex marriage and civil unions. There has been a legal challenge to that ban, but the judge overseeing the case chose to delay his decision until after the Supreme Court makes their ruling. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Newsmaker Interview
12:43 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Michigan's autism plan calls for early intervention, mental health care

 

The State Department of Community Health is launching a new program designed to address the needs of people with autism. Lisa Grost heads up the autism program. She tells Michigan Radio's Jennifer White there are seven key elements to the state autism plan, which include family engagement, early identification, education support, adult services, physical, mental and behavioral health care and training and professional development.

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Weekly Political Roundup
5:01 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Will the state send cash to Detroit?

Mayor Dave Bing stands beside Governor Rick Snyder as Snyder annouces Kevyn Orr (right) as his choice for Detroit emergency manager.
State of Michigan screen grab

Each week we speak with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

Governor Rick Snyder officially announced the appointment of an emergency manager for Detroit today. He named Kevyn Orr, a Washington D.C. lawyer who represented Chrysler in it’s 2009 bankruptcy as his manager of choice. Orr has many ties to Michigan including graduating from the University of Michigan Law School.

" I think the city is going to need some cash in order to meet some obligations and restructuring, whether or not that is going to be an easy sell is a different matter," said Demas.

"If this gentleman [Kevyn Orr] can actually show some results to get this city in the right direction than I think the attitude in Lansing would be different toward more money, and more investment," Sikkema said.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
4:57 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: Road funding, Earned Income Tax Credit, Detroit's future

State Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Ifmuth Flickr

Each week we talk Michigan politics with 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. Today we talk about transportation funding. Governor Snyder has called for $1.2 billion to address roads and transportation in Michigan, but there's no agreement in the legislature about how to get the money.

Plus, people are filing taxes and starting to feel the impact of some of the changes in the Michigan tax code, which includes the reduction in the Earned Income Tax Credit. Now a coalition is calling for the EITC to be restored, and Democrats in the House and Senate agree. What's next for the EITC?

And, as the Detroit City Council plans to appeal Governor Snyder’s decision to appointment an emergency financial manager for the city they are doing so without the support of Mayor Dave Bing who says it’s a fight they can’t win. Is he right?

Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: Michigan Supreme Court, Democratic party

Graham Davis flickr

Each week we speak with 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.

Governor Snyder has chosen his replacement for the Michigan Supreme Court. Judge David Viviano fills the seat left open after the resignation of Diane Hathaway after a bank fraud scandal involving the short sale of property in Grosse Pointe.

And, the Michigan Republican and Democratic parties elected their leadership. The Democratic party saw its longtime chair, Mark Brewer, concede victory to Lon Johnson. What could Johnson's leadership mean for the Democratic party in Michigan?

Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: Emergency managers

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Every week we speak with 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.

Today they talk about the review team that Governor Snyder assigned to look into Detroit’s financial situation and it seems likely that the city will end up with an emergency manager. That would bring the number of Michigan cities or school districts under emergency managers up to ten.

Weekly Political Roundup
4:55 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

A different kind of budget

State Captiol building in Lansing.
Graham Davis flickr

On Thursdays we talk politics with 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.

On tap today: Governor Rick Snyder presented his budget proposal. It included a 2% increase in funding for K-12 education, $130 million increase for Great Start, an increase in transportation funding, and an expansion of Medicaid.

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Weekly Political Roundup
4:54 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Michigan gun law trifecta

JMR Photography Flickr

This week, host Jenn White takes a look at Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

Yesterday, a state senate panel sent three gun related bills to the senate floor. The first would prohibit federal regulation of firearms and ammunition manufactured in Michigan, while the second would exempt certain information about gun owners and their weapons from Freedom of Information requests. The third bill would make state laws regarding gun dealers consistent with federal regulations. 

Although Susan Demas is unsure as to how the bills, which supersede federal regulations would work, she does expect a backlash in court proceedings, if Governor Snyder signs these controversial bills.

"I'm sure we would see a court challenge if Governor Snyder were to receive these bills and sign them. The Senate today did pass the 'low-hanging fruit bill,' the one which seeks to alter language a little bit to keep us in line with the Fed. That's pretty uncontroversial. But this 'Firearms Freedom Act' as it's being called, that's very controversial," Demas said.

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Politics & Government
5:15 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Weekly Political Roundup: State of the State

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder delivered his third state of the state address Wednesday night. In a wide ranging speech he laid out his major agenda items for the year. They included transportation funding, reforming Blue Cross Blue Shield and bringing down the cost of auto insurance. This week we talk with 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.

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Politics & Government
5:58 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Weekly Political Roundup

State Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Ifmuth Flickr

Every Thursday we take a look at Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service. As a wrap up to the year they talk about the most important legislation that passed this year. Plus, they discuss Governor Snyder’s veto of legislation that would have allowed concealed pistols in school, day cares, and places of worship.

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Weekly Political Roundup
4:42 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

The politics of lame duck

user cedarbenddrive Flickr

This lame duck session of the Michigan legislature has been moving at very face pace.

In addition to the passage and signing of so-called right-to work legislation, the Republican majorities in the state House and Senate have a number of other bills on the agenda. They include a package of abortion related bills, a bill that would give health care providers the right to deny service due to religious or ethical objections, and a new emergency manager bill that would replace the one overturned by Michigan voters last month.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks politics with 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.

Weekly Political Roundup
4:45 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

"Right-to-work": a historical perspective

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder and leaders of the Republican led state House and Senate announced plans to introduce so called “Right to Work” legislation today. While police and firefighters are excluded from the legislation, it would prohibit contracts that require union membership and ban the requirement that union dues be paid for all other public and private workers. Clearly, this marks a major shift in direction for the state of Michigan.  Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry gives us a historical perspective.

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Politics & Government
5:40 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Political Roundup: Power shift in the Michigan House?

CedarBendDrive/flickr

Michigan House Representatives are up for election next Tuesday. All 110 seats. Both Houses of the legislature hold Republican majorities, but this election could mark a shift of power in Lansing if Democrats gain more votes. Jennifer White talks with Susan Demas, political analyst with Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Political Roundup: Collective bargaining, Proposals 2 & 4

Michigan voters face six questions on November’s ballot. And those questions can be very confusing. Today, we look at two proposals that focus on collective bargaining. Proposal 2 would protect collective bargaining in the state constitution, and Proposal 4 would reinstate collective bargaining for in-home health care workers.

Politics & Government
4:18 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Political Roundup: Presidential debate, Bolger problems and citizenship checkbox

Every Thursday we take a look at Michigan politics with 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.

They talk with Jennifer White about the lack of mention for the auto industry at Wednesday night’s first Presidential debate between Democratic President Barack Obama and the Republican Candidate for President Mitt Romney.

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Politics & Government
5:04 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Political Roundup: Ad time, who's buying?

We’re a little over a month out from the November 6th election. At this point you would expect to hear a lot of political ads on television.

But there seem to be more TV ads for and against the various ballot proposals, and less from the presidential races.

For example, the Romney campaign pulled advertising from Michigan weeks ago, although a pro-Romney group has been running a new ad. But Susan Demas says money is not the issue.

Susan Demas is a Political Analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service. She says there might not be any ad time left to buy.

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