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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Governor Rick Snyder wanted a tax incentive package to lure big employers. A majority of Republicans and Democrats like the idea. But then, Speaker of the House Tom Leonard yanked the legislation because of a rumor the governor had cut a deal with Democrats for their support.

Stateside 6.23.2017

16 hours ago

Today, we talk with a Federal Reserve bank president about why he’s holding town halls to hear from people about the economy. Plus, we find out more about that canceled risk analysis on Enbridge Energy’s Line 5.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint City Council is defying state and federal government officials, as well as the city’s mayor, and is putting off a vote on a drinking water contract for another two weeks.

Enbridge Energy's Line 5 oil and liquid natural gas pipelines run under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan recently terminated its contract with an independent contractor that was analyzing any potential risk posed by Enbridge Energy’s 64-year-old Line 5 pipeline.

Firing that contractor leaves a lot of unanswered questions. The state says the company, Det Norske Veritas, a Norwegian firm, failed to follow conflict of interest rules. An employee of the firm was working on the state’s request for a risk analysis of the 64-year-old pipeline and then also did work for Enbridge.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

The legislature has passed a state budget, and it’s headed to Governor Snyder’s desk for approval.

Stateside talked to two reporters covering the capitol and Lansing to go over some of the Highlights in the budget. Kyle Melinn is the editor of MIRS, a news service that covers state government. Rick Pluta is the Captol bureau chief for Michigan Radio.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Nearly every week you'll hear something about the Federal Reserve Bank. But how often do you think of the Fed and how it affects your local economy?

Hamza Butt / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

You’ve heard that advertisers are keeping track of every online site you visit. They keep track of the data to try to determine what you’re likely to buy. Well, that online data collection is just the beginning.

John Cheney-Lippold, assistant professor of American culture at the University of Michigan and author of the book We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves, helped explain the difference between data that is trying to sell you a product, and data that truly knows who you are as a person.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University trustees clashed today  over a trustee’s recent outing of a whistleblower in a sexual assault case involving the school’s football program.

MSU Trustee Mitch Lyons has come under fire for his comments on a Tuesday radio interview that former player Auston Robertson reported a January sexual assault incident in a meeting with Mark Dantonio.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley
Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

The ballot campaign to adopt a part-time Legislature amendment in Michigan decided to skip getting its petition approved by a state elections board. The leader of the campaign, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, says he’s comfortable fighting any challenges in court.

Getting a petition form pre-approved is a voluntary step that’s supposed to avoid legal hassles later on. But Calley says he doesn’t think a court battle can be avoided.

USDAGOV / CREATIVE COMMONS - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A group of 13 Republican Senators continues to work in secrecy, writing a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will see a "discussion draft" of the bill tomorrow.

Their goal? A vote a week from tomorrow, on June 29.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Political intrigue is being blamed for the collapse of a deal for the state to offer big tax breaks to employers who bring a lot of jobs to Michigan.

An angry state House Republican leader abruptly canceled a vote Tuesday shortly before midnight on Governor Rick Snyder’s top priority for the Legislature’s spring and summer session. House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, accused the governor’s bargaining team of making side deals with Democrats and unions without informing GOP leaders.

exterior of the Michigan state capital
Pkay Chelle / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

These are busy days in Lansing. Among other things, the legislature is working out the final details of the state budget before its summer recess. Last week, state Attorney General Bill Schuette charged a number of current and former officials with crimes related to the Flint water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The East Lansing city council has approved a tentative deal paving the way for a $132 million development project that would change the look of the college town’s downtown.

The 12-story complex will include hundreds of apartments and retail space.   

Mayor Mark Meadows hopes the Center City District project will attract more older people to East Lansing’s downtown.    

“Now someone can open a retail space that doesn’t just cater to somebody who’s 18 to 24 years old,” says Meadows.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor is the latest to call on the city council to sign-off on a plan to keep Flint’s tap water flowing from Detroit.

Back in April, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver announced she wanted her city to continue to get its tap water from the Great Lakes Water Authority. The agreement has support from various stakeholders, but so far not the Flint city council.

bill schuette announcing charges
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The involuntary manslaughter charges announced last week against the head of Michigan's health department and four other former state and Flint city officials have made big headlines. Why? Because such charges are exceptionally rare.

Adam Candeub, a professor of law at Michigan State University, joined Stateside today to put the charges into context.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The president of the Flint city council says it may be time to review the council’s ethics policy after another council member was jailed for a probation violation.

Two Flint city council members have spent time behind bars in the past two years.

Kerry Nelson is the Flint city council president. He says the councilmen’s legal issues may lead to changes in their ethics code.

“About the ethics part, we have to really look at that and determine what this community is really looking for and what it needs,” says Nelson.

It’s been almost two weeks since the Legislature approved a state license plate in order for an anti-abortion group to fundraise off it, but the legislation still hasn’t been put in front of Governor Rick Snyder for his signature.

The Michigan Constitution says a governor has two weeks to sign or veto a bill once it’s adopted by the Legislature and placed before him. But there is no timeline for when the Legislature, once it’s approved a bill, has to actually send it to the governor.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents
U.S. Air Force / Creative Commons

Last weekend, federal immigration agents took more than 100 Iraqi nationals into custody, with plans to deport most of them. Among the detainees set to be deported are a large number of Chaldeans – a Christian sect. Others are Shiite Muslims. Deporting them to Iraq means they could face persecution in that country.

The American Civil Liberties Union-Michigan has filed a class-action lawsuit to stop the deportations, arguing that the detainees should be given the opportunity to prove they could face torture or death if returned to Iraq.

pile of one  dollar bills
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state legislature is sending Governor Snyder a package of bills that will change retirement benefits for teachers.

Vicki Barnett, the former Mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, says the switch to a defined contribution retirement model for new public school employees increases costs for local school districts.

“I have no problem with the concept of what they’re trying to do. It’s the underlying reason they’re doing it which will again lead to failure of the system,” Barnett said.

The uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act is likely influencing some of the health care rate increases.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Health insurance costs are going up next year. By a lot. How much depends on the Trump administration and Congress.

Blue Cross plans to raise insurance rates for plans it offers through the Affordable Care Act by an average of about 27% for individuals and close to 14% for Blue Care Network plans. The Detroit News reports another insurer, Priority Health, is proposing a nearly 18% hike for individuals buying through the Affordable Care Act. But, the rate hikes could be even higher.

Stateside 6.15.2017

Jun 15, 2017

Today, we hear how state officials charged in the Flint water probe possibly crossed a line by questioning scientists, also an investigative piece from Bridge Magazine and the Detroit Journalism Cooperative reveals that cash-strapped Wayne County leans on foreclosure fees to balance its budget.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Joel Kurth is the Detroit Editor for Bridge Magazine. Along with Mike Wilkinson and Laura Herberg, he’s been digging into how Wayne County is fattening its coffers through home foreclosures.

“Misery is monetized by counties all across Michigan, and no government relies on money from tax foreclosures as much as Wayne County.”

That blunt statement leads off a Bridge Magazine and Detroit Journalism Cooperative investigation titled “Sorry we foreclosed your home. But thanks for fixing our budget.”

A table filled with cups of Flint water
Flint Water Study / Facebook

Michigan's Attorney General made big headlines when he announced charges of involuntary manslaughter against Michigan Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, as well as four others.

Charges of obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer were leveled at the state's Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Eden Wells.

Flint city hall
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council today voted to override the mayor’s veto of next year’s city budget.

The dispute over a miniscule amount of money threatened to leave Flint without the ability to pay city workers next month.   

It’s the latest in a series of squabbles over city spending between the council and Mayor Karen Weaver. 

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team took over a tent at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival last night for an Issues & Ale event.

Co-hosts Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta joined panelists Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council, and Colleen Pero, chief of staff for the Michigan Republican Party, to talk about the latest political news in our state.

In the heat of the afternoon, Pluta began the discussion with a summary of the big news that came out yesterday in relation to the Flint water crisis:

Stateside 6.14.2017

Jun 14, 2017

Today, we speak with Rep. Mike Bishop who was among the Republican members of Congress and staffers at the baseball practice where a gunman opened fire this morning. Attorney General Bill Schuette and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton also join the show to discuss the new charges of involuntary manslaughter filed in relation to the Flint water crisis.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

As much of the nation focused on testimony last Thursday from former FBI Director James Comey, there were some who headed to the White House to talk infrastructure with the President and Vice President.

Among the group of some 40 officials was Candice Miller, former congresswoman and now Macomb County Public Works Commissioner.

As the face of Michigan during the White House meeting, Miller delivered a message about “handicaps and restrictions” that cost money and time on infrastructure investment.

Lansing's city hall
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s outgoing mayor wants to sell city hall and find a new home for the city's offices.    

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero today formally asked for proposals from businesses interested in turning Lansing City Hall’s downtown location into a hotel, office space, residential units or retail space.  He’s also asking for a plan to relocate city offices elsewhere.

aerial photo of the Great Lakes
National Oceanic and And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Environmentalists and their allies in Congress are stepping up their efforts to fight proposed cuts to federal Great Lakes funding and the EPA budget.

President Trump proposed deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, as well as effectively eliminating federal money for Great Lakes restoration projects.  The Trump budget would shift the financial burden of maintaining the Great Lakes onto the eight states in the region.     

PBS live stream

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee this afternoon, as the investigation continues into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

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