Lessenberry talks potholes, minimum wage, Detroit bankuptcy and same-sex marriage

Feb 19, 2014

This Week in Michigan Politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss money to help fix potholes, an effort to raise the minimum wage, the possible release of Detroit’s bankruptcy plan, and the upcoming trial challenging gay marriage in Michigan.

$100 million for potholes and snowplowing

All of the snow and cold weather is wreaking havoc on Michigan roads.  Many county road commissions are quickly moving through the money they have for plowing and salting.  Now state lawmakers hope to provide $100 million in emergency funding to help communities fix potholes and plow.

According to Lessenberry, the governor says it will take $1.2 billion to maintain our roads, so this proposal is only a “Band-Aid to a gaping open wound.”

Advocates want to raise the minimum wage to $10.10

An effort to raise the minimum wage is pushing forward. Supporters want to put a ballot question before voters that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. That's higher than what they originally proposed at $9.50.

Lessenberry says polls show a majority of people are in favor of raising the minimum wage.

“It may sound like it’s (a) very high (number), but if you look at inflation, the minimum wage in 1968 was equivalent to today’s $10.50 an hour.  That didn’t seem to inhibit employment,” Lessenberry says.

Detroit bankruptcy plan of adjustment could be released today

Detroit might release the city's bankruptcy plan of adjustment as early as today. It’s a blueprint for Detroit’s financial future.

“It’s probably going to include pension cuts, it’s probably not going to include looting the DIA,” Lessenberry says, adding that after Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr gives the plan to the federal bankruptcy judge, it’s unlikely the judge will take the plan as it is without some additional changes.

Same-sex marriage case begins in Michigan next week

A federal judge next week will revisit a case that challenges same-sex marriage in Michigan. The case involves a lesbian couple from southeast Michigan who want to adopt each other's children.

Lessenberry says the case started out as an adoption case, but the federal judge suggested the couple broaden it to challenge same-sex marriage in Michigan. The case might overturn Michigan’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage or change the state’s adoption policy.