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What's going on this week? Kilpatrick guilty, Detroit argues against EM, right to work deadline

State capitol
Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
The legislature will vote on changes to health care benefits for public employees tomorrow.

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, the debate between the Detroit City Council and Governor Snyder over an impending emergency manager appointment in Detroit, and how unions are trying to get new contracts in place before the new right to work law takes affect later this month.

To hear their discussion, click on the audio above.

Kilpatrick found guilty

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was found guilty this week on multiple federal charges of corruption and racketeering after months on trial. Jurors agreed with the federal government’s premise that Kilpatrick ran the Detroit mayor’s office like a criminal enterprise.

While Detroit has been known for corruption in government over the years, Lessenberry says, "I don't think urban corruption is dead in Detroit or anywhere else, but it will be a long time before we see something like this."

Detroit City Council argues against an emergency manager appointment

Detroit City Council went to Lansing yesterday to appeal Governor Snyder’s determination that the city is in a 'financial emergency' with no good plan to fix it. 

As Lessenberry explains, the Detroit City Council argued the current consent agreement should be given more time to work. Lessenberry adds, "I don't think anyone there really thinks that they said anything that was likely to change the governor's mind."

Lessenberry says he expects an emergency manager to be in place in Detroit by the end of the month.

Universities negotiating contracts before right to work

The state's new right to work law takes effect March 28. The law will make it illegal to require union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Now some unions, mostly public sector unions, are working to get new contracts in place before the right to work law goes into effect.

Lessenberry says Wayne State University negotiated a contract that would essentially protect the unions for eight years. He says, "I think the argument from the people doing this is that right to work is not the law of the land yet. It has been passed, but it doesn't kick in until the end of March and they have the perfect right, right now, to do whatever they want in terms of contracts."

Christina began her career in radio at Michigan Radio while a student at the University of Michigan. She was a producer and researcher for The Todd Mundt Show, and then hosted Weekend Edition.
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