Stateside: Clock counts down on budget impasse; Consumers Energy’s political spending; new MI music | Michigan Radio
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Stateside: Clock counts down on budget impasse; Consumers Energy’s political spending; new MI music

Dec 3, 2019

Today on Stateside, there are just a few weeks left in the 2019 legislative session, but Governor Gretchen Whitmer and GOP lawmakers have yet to reach a deal on the state budget. Plus, a group of West Michigan musicians come together on a compilation album to raise money for Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Ralston Bowles, whose wife is battling cancer.

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

As 2019 comes to an end, Whitmer and GOP lawmakers are still at an impasse over state budget

  • The end of the year is fast approaching, but a big question still hangs over the Michigan Capitol: Can Governor Whitmer and the state Legislature’s Republican leadership solve their budget standoff? After lawmakers passed a budget this fall without the governor’s input, Whitmer responded with nearly $1 billion in vetoes and millions of dollars in transfers. The two sides haven’t reached a deal on how to restore that lost funding to the many programs that rely on it. Riley Beggin is Bridge Magazine’s Capitol reporter. She talked to us about what’s holding up a deal between the governor and GOP lawmakers, and the likelihood it will be resolved before the new year.

Nonprofit funded by Consumers Energy spent $12.9 million to boost preferred candidates in 2018 election

  • During the 2018 election, the nonprofit group Citizens for Energizing Michigan's Economy spent nearly $13 million on political activity, including a television ad blitz. The group, which is funded by Consumers Energy, wasn’t required to disclose that spending to the state because the ads didn’t endorse a particular candidate. We discussed how that money was spent, and why it matters, with Craig Mauger. He reported on the utility's political spending for the Detroit News.

Mixtape: New compilation album raises money for GR singer, plus new bluegrass and indie pop

  • For a year-end edition of our Mixtape conversations, we checked in with Local Spins editor John Sinkevics. He told us about a compilation album produced by several West Michigan musicians that’s raising money to help fellow artist Ralston Bowles and his wife Cindy, who is battling cancer. He also told us about the “psychedelic bluegrass” sounds of Michigan native Billy Strings, and an emerging singer-songwriter named Sandra Effert.
  • Support for arts and culture coverage is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Small town Michigan newspaper staff on what we lose when local news disappears

  • In the past 15 years, 1,400 newspapers across the country have gone out of business, according to the Associated Press. So what happens when there is no local news left? We discussed with Jim Lincoln, publisher of the The Tecumseh Herald, and Sara Swanson, an editor at the Manchester Mirror, which she helped start as a blog in 2013. The two talk about the information gap that local news sources fill, and how they can create a sense of shared identity, even across political lines.
  • This segment originally aired April 2, 2019.

Former white nationalist Derek Black on how he defied family, ideology to speak out against hate

  • How do we combat the growing number of hate crimes and white supremacist groups in America? Derek Black has a unique perspective on that question. He is a former white nationalist who came to reject the ideology that he had once embraced. He joined Stateside to discuss his upbringing in a white nationalist family, how his time in college prompted him to disavow his racist beliefs, and the role that everyone has to play in calling out bigotry in their communities.
  • This segment originally aired on April 4, 2019.

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