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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Today on Stateside, lawsuits against opioid manufacturers in Michigan face steep odds thanks to 1995 law. Plus, a summery cocktail to cool down on this very hot weekend. 

To hear individual interviews, click here or see below. 

Paweł Czerwiński / Unsplash

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Yet, in January, Congress and the President extended warrantless surveillance of phone calls, emails, personal Facebook pages and messages, permitting the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on U.S. citizens for six more years.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

The Michigan Legislature approved a budget this week right before leaving for the summer recess. 

It would be impossible to go over everything in the budget, so Stateside sat down with two commentators to discuss some notable parts. 

Vicki Barnett is a former Mayor of Farmington Hills and Democratic legislator, and Ken Sikkema is a Senior Policy Fellow with Public Sector Consultants and the former Republican majority leader in the state Senate. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A small group of protesters were on hand as Vice President Mike Pence came to Michigan today.  

In Birmingham, the vice president attended what a spokesman described as a “significant" fundraiser for Attorney General Bill Schuette’s campaign for governor.   

But while Mike Pence was welcome inside, outside was a different story.

Michigan Truth Squad: Bill Schuette talks tough on Line 5 pipeline

Jun 15, 2018

In Michigan politics these days, one environmental issue seems to trump all others: Line 5.

The 645-mile oil pipeline has become a magnet for environmental concerns. That’s largely due to its age (65-years old); the checkered transparency record of its Canadian owner, Enbridge Energy; and because its section of twin pipelines stretches beneath Straits of Mackinac, the gateway between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

One Detroit family celebrated getting a new home Thursday, as they also called for other families like them to receive similar compensation as victims of what they call “illegal” foreclosures.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Michigan Friday. 

He’s helping to raise money for one of the Republicans running for governor.

Pence is the key note speaker at a noon hour fundraiser for Attorney General Bill Schuette’s gubernatorial campaign at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.

Birth control pills.
Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


The Michigan Legislature has approved a new budget that cuts funding to Planned Parenthood. The new provision would stop money for family planning and reproductive services from going to any group that also performs abortions. 

This budget now heads to Governor Snyder’s desk for final approval. 

Lori Carpentier is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan. She spoke with Stateside about implications of these potential cuts. 

Adam Crosswhite
Michigan Center

 


In the 1840s, a black family fleeing slavery found refuge in Marshall, Michigan. Only a few years later, after settling into their new home, relatives of their former owners arrived to capture and return them to Kentucky. 

But the town of Marshall, including the sheriff and prominent white and black citizens, stepped in to protect the family. 

This week marks 160 years since Giltner v. Gorham, the case between the Kentucky slave owner Francis Giltner and the citizens of Marshall he sued for their successful efforts to shield the escaped family. 

cmh2315fl / FLICKR - HTTP//J.MP/1SPGCL0

The city of Toledo, Ohio and its suburbs are arguing about how to properly charge for water. The disagreement stems from the 2014 toxic cyanobacteria bloom in Lake Erie that shut down of the city's water system.

Sarah Elms, a reporter with The Toledo Blade, joined Stateside to explain what's happening. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is close to getting back a major water customer it lost during the city’s water crisis.

General Motors took its Flint engine plant off city water in the fall of 2014, after determining the water was corroding engine parts.  It was an early sign of problems with Flint’s drinking water.

michigan state capitol building
Brian Charles Watson / wikimedia commons

The Michigan Legislature has officially begun its summer vacation. Before they left, legislators considered a number of complicated issues, including Medicaid work requirements and school safety proposals. 

To sort out the latest from the state capitol, Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Doug Tribou spoke with Rick Pluta, the Lansing bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network.


Update, June 13 at 10:30 a.m.:

The group Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution has filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court and asked the justices to put an immediate hold on the lower court decision that would place the question on the November ballot.

wikimedia commons

In the past four years, Consumers Energy gave $43 million to a political lobbying group, Citizens for Energizing Michigan's Economy, according to research by the Energy and Policy Institute.

That's a huge sum for a utility to spend on political activity -- as much as the entire electric utility industry spent on federal campaigns since 2015.

John Conyers III
Conyers for Congress / via Facebook

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that John Conyers III won’t be among the official field of candidates running for his father’s vacant seat in Congress.

Michigan lieutenant governor Brian Calley
User: Michigan Works! Association / Flickr / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

In preparation for the November elections, Stateside has been sitting down with the candidates for Michigan governor. 

Michigan's Lt. Governor Brian Calley is one of those candidates.

power lines in trees
Steffan Vilcans / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Reporters and activists have been piecing together information on a couple of political organizations funded by Consumer's Energy. Those organizations have been targeting politicians who support opening up the energy market in Michigan. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s an escalating dispute between Flint and state officials over issues with the city’s water system.

The dispute dates back to August 2017, when the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality informed the city of more than a dozen problems with Flint’s water system.

Stateside 6.11.2018

Jun 11, 2018

Today on Stateside, we hear from a Michigan adoptee who spent decades trying to get his birth records from the state. Plus, how Canadian retaliation against Trump tarriffs could impact Michigan. 

To listen to individual interviews, click here or see below: 

An image of the highway sign for the bridge to Canada in Detroit
Ken Lund / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Things got worse for trade between the U.S. and Canada as our neighbors to the north announced retaliatory tariffs in response to the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada and other U.S. allies.

President Trump is taking it personally, expressing his outrage and insulting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter. 

Michigan Truth Squad: Michigan Republican Tonya Schuitmaker attacks foe on DACA

Jun 11, 2018
Tonya Schuitmaker
Bridge Magazine

With less than three months until its Lansing convention, the two Republican candidates for Michigan attorney general are pitching their message to a small, impassioned audience: the estimated 2,000 delegates who will choose between House Speaker Tom Leonard and state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker.

Michigan's 13th congressional district
Wikipedia

Three of the six candidates vying to represent Michigan’s 13th Congressional district showed up for a candidate forum at a Detroit church on Saturday.

creative commons

Troubles are mounting for a Livingston County judge accused of unethical behavior. 

Theresa Brennan is being investigated by the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission for, among other things, allegedly hiding her affair with the lead investigator in a murder case over which she was presiding.  

A retired judge, Daniel Burress, who before his retirement was the chief judge of the Livingston County District Court, has requested a grand jury to review her behavior.

She is being sued by a court administrator for harassment and retaliation.

creative commons

"I believe every Michigan kid has a birthright to a great public education," says Democratic candidate for governor Gretchen Whitmer, unveiling her campaign's plan for education on Friday. 

Whitmer says Michigan used to have one of the best public education systems in the country; now it's in the bottom ten. She says K - 12 schools have to  get more money, so first and foremost, the state needs to stop "stealing" money from the School Aid Fund.

Dominic Simpson / flickr

Detroit is trying again to craft a city ordinance to regulate its burgeoning marijuana industry.

Michigan Truth Squad: Bill Schuette says Michigan is ‘last’ in third-grade reading

Jun 7, 2018
Bill Schuette
Bridge Magazine

Bill Schuette, Michigan’s attorney general and the frontrunner in the Republican primary for governor, has a line he offers in stump speeches and, last week, on a debate stage at the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Michigan, he says, is last in the nation in third-grade reading.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Updated on 6/7/18 at 11:10 am.

On the day Michigan's state legislatue moved to repeal the state's prevailing wage law, one Democrat running for governor was focused on health care.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Whether Michigan should legalize marijuana for recreational use will be decided by the voters. The state Legislature let today’s deadline for the to act on the initiative lapse. It would legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol.

The state House and Senate would both have had to pass the initiative. The leader of the Senate Republicans said its chamber had enough votes to pass the measure. But the House was not on board.

Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Justice Department is adding more prosecutors in Michigan.

U.S. attorneys in Detroit and Grand Rapids say they'll benefit from the government's focus on fighting violent crime. Six are being added in the Eastern District, and four will be hired in the Western District.

Detroit U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider says his office will use new prosecutors to "keep the residents of Michigan safe." Grand Rapids U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge says the new hires will "make a positive impact" in western Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers are expected to vote this week on a proposal to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law.

A 1965 law requires union-scale wages and benefits on state-funded projects. But last week, a state board certified a ballot petition to repeal the law. The question would appear on the November ballot, unless state lawmakers approve it first.

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