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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

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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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Once again, the city of Flint is being put on notice by the state about problems with its water system. 

Last year, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality listed more than dozen things the city needed to do to address problems with the water system and personnel.

Apparently some of those issues remain. 

Jennifer Granholm has been out of Michigan's gubernatorial office for over seven years. But, this year, her name is back in the spotlight. 

With Republicans running the show in Lansing for the past eight years, it has been especially hard for GOP gubernatorial candidates to run on the basis of change. This election is expected to be a referendum on Donald Trump and the way Republicans are managing things in Washington D.C., or the legacy of Rick Snyder. 

Larry Nassar
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers expect to hold a key vote on the remaining bills in response to Larry Nassar this week. Nassar is the former Michigan State University sports doctor in prison for sexually assaulting his patients.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Marijuana advocates say they are watching “very closely” as a deadline looms for Michigan’s legislature to decide whether to act or not on a petition to legalize recreational pot.

Stateside 6.1.2018

Jun 1, 2018

Today on Stateside, a marijuana industry consultant talks business trends, diversity as nation's largest cannabis confeerence kicks off in Detroit. Also, what are the consequences for Michigan manufacturers as tariffs on steel and aluminum take effect. 

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

Mackinac Bridge
Julie Falk / Flickr

 


The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Island Policy Conference wraps up today. Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team was there listening to speeches and talking to state leaders about policy, petitions, and politics.

Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio's Capitol Bureau Chief and Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio programming director and resident political junkie spoke with Stateside about some of the highlights of the conference. 

money
Mathieu Turle / unsplash

State lawmakers can now vote to repeal Michigan's prevailing wage law. Prevailing wage requires the state pay union-scale wages on its contracts.

The Board of State Canvassers certified a ballot initiative today. It gives the Legislature a chance to pass the measure instead of letting the voters decide.

Supporters of prevailing wage say it helps people who work in the skilled trades.

But opponents of the law have been trying to get rid of it for years. They say it inflates the cost of government projects.

Stateside 5.31.2018

May 31, 2018

On Stateside today, House Speaker Tom Leonard talks next steps on marijuana legalization, paid sick leave, and community mental health. Plus: Why is pickleball America's fastest growing sport? 

To hear individual interviews, click here or see below. 

Map of Detroit Metro Transit plan
Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan

Audio: A conversation with Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist. 

One hot topic at the Mackinac Policy Conference this week is the future of regional transportation in Southeast Michigan — particularly a proposed millage to fund the expansion of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan.

Daniel Howes is a Detroit News business columnist. He speaks with Stateside about regional divide and larger issues at the core of the RTA debate. 

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