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Stateside: Free speech on Twitter; consequences of high deductibles; volunteer firefighter shortage

Firefighter in front of a burning house
Fire departments across the nation are having trouble recruiting volunteer firefighters, forcing some to cut services.

Today on Stateside, how does the right to free speech apply when it comes to the personal Twitter accounts of elected officials? Plus, we hear about how a nationwide shortage of volunteer firefighters is affecting communities in the state.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Can elected officials block critics on Twitter? Expert says context matters.

Stateside’s conversation with Faith Sparr

  • Last week, a federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled that President Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking critics on Twitter. Meanwhile, in Michigan, state politicians are also wrestling with the parameters of free speech online. That's after a GOP state Representative called out Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel for blocking him on her personal Twitter account.
  • Faith Sparr is an attorney and a University of Michigan lecturer in Communication Studies. She talks about how social media use intersects with the right to free speech, and the difference between personal and private posts from elected officials. 

The health consequences of sky-high deductibles

Stateside’s conversation with Marianne Udow-Phillips

  • As the deductibles on health insurance plans continue to rise, some hospitals are telling patients that they need to pay up front before having an operation or procedure.
  • Marianne Udow-Phillips is the director for the Center of Health and Research Transformation at the University of Michigan. She breaks down how common it is for hospitals to insist on payment ahead of treatment, and what happens when patients don’t have the money.

Volunteer firefighters are essential to some areas, but it's getting harder to recruit them

Stateside’s conversation with Lt. Michael McLeieer

  • Volunteer firefighting has a long history in this country. But in 2019, the nation is struggling with a shortage of volunteer firefighters. Some fire departments have even been forced to cut services because they can't find enough volunteers.
  • Lt. Michael McLeieer is the president of the Michigan State Firemen’s Association. He explains what the shortage means for cities and towns in Michigan. 

To reduce domestic violence, Kalamazoo prosecutors want to address perpetrators' history of trauma

Stateside’s conversation with Jeffrey Getting and Jessica Glynn

  • On Monday, Kalamazoo County unveiled its plan for a new approach to dealing domestic violence perpetrators. The county is proposing a "trauma court" that would address the abuse that perpetrators may have experienced, as well as the harm they've done to their victims.
  • Jeffrey Getting is the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor and Jessica Glynn is the senior director of law and policy for the Kalamazoo YWCA. They talk how the trauma court would differ from other legal approaches to domestic violence cases, and when the county plans to have it up and running. 
  • CLARIFICATION: During this interview, Jessica Glynn said the number one cause of death for women is intimate partner violence. That is incorrect. Intimate partner violence is the number one cause of homicide of women worldwide, according to a 2018 United Nations report.

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