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Stateside: Ballot initiatives 101; Rep. Slotkin at border; abortion opponents split on strategy

someone writing on a ballot
Michael Dorausch
Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
How does a petition drive become a ballot proposal? We explore with former MI Democratic Party chair Mark Brewer.


Today on Stateside, we talk to Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) about what she’s seen during a trip to the U.S.—Mexico border. Plus, a look at what it takes to turn a petition drive into a question on the ballot in Michigan. 

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


Rep. Slotkin on trip to southern border, bill on standards for detained migrants


Stateside's conversation with Elissa Slotkin

  • A bipartisan group of U.S. representatives was in Texas Friday to visit sites along the southern border. Among them was Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin. She joins Stateside to share what she thinks of the conditions for migrants there, and discuss whether there can be bipartisan agreement on how to fix a system Slotkin describes as broken.


Property owners in Leland sue township over public beach access

Stateside’s conversation with Patti Burgess

  • A road end at Lake Michigan has been used as a public beach by township residents and others for years. But the lake’s high water has led to beach visitors encroaching on private property for gatherings. Now families who own land on either side of the path are suing Leland Township and the Leelanau County Road Commission, saying the beach was never public property.
  • Patti Burgess is a reporter from the Traverse City Record-Eagle, and she’s been covering the suit. She explains the case and what it could mean for the Leland road end and similar public beachfronts across Michigan.


Same goal, different petitions: Abortion rights opponents split over legal strategy

Stateside’s conversation with Lauren Gibbons

  • Opponents of abortion rights in Michigan are disagreeing about the best approach to end legal abortions in Michigan. One group is organizing a ballot initiative that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is usually around six weeks into a pregnancy. Another group is backing an initiative that would ban an abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation, which is typically performed during the second trimester.
  • Lauren Gibbons, a reporter for MLive, has been reporting on the rift between the two anti-abortion groups. She explains why the groups are working independently, and how these ballot initiatives could affect Michigan’s abortion laws.


Want to get a question on the ballot? Here’s what you need to know.


Stateside’s conversation with Mark Brewer

  • Some high-stakes ballot initiatives are circulating in Michigan this summer, and we’ve gotten some listener questions about how these petitions actually work. To answer them, we talk to Mark Brewer, an attorney at the law firm Goodman Acker, as well as a former Michigan Democratic Party chair who’s worked on a number of ballot initiatives. Brewer explains the ins-and-outs of ballot initiatives: who can sign them, where they come from, and how they reach the ballot. 


Students in Detroit public schools will have standardized code of conduct come September


Stateside’s conversation with Lori Higgins

  • The Detroit public school district is considering some changes to its code of conduct. The changes are an effort to refine current school disciplinary policies, and they include a demerit system and a renewed focus on respect among students and teachers. Lori Higgins reported on these discipline changes for Chalkbeat Detroit, and she joins Stateside to discuss what educators and parents hope the changes will mean for school climate. 


Political Roundup: “Adopt-and-Amend” question now up to MI Supreme Court


Stateside’s conversation with Ken Sikkema and Brandon Dillon

  • The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments this week on the “adopt and amend” strategy. That's where the legislature adopts ballot initiatives before they get to voters, and then amends them significantly during a lame duck session. Republican lawmakers used this strategy last year to make significant changes to citizen-led initiatives on paid sick time and the minimum wage.
  • Ken Sikkema is a senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican majority leader in the Michigan Senate. Brandon Dillon is a former Democratic legislator and former chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. They discuss why lawmakers use this strategy, and whether or not the the Michigan Supreme Court will find it constitutional. 


Cheers! A real peach of a summer cocktail featuring two Michigan rums


Listen to Tammy and Lester shake up the Edgewater Beach.

  • Stateside host Lester Graham and Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings use jarred peaches and two kinds of Michigan rum to mix up the summery, Chicago-born cocktail known as the Edgewater Beach.

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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