The week in Michigan politics

Sep 17, 2014

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss the possibility of new teachers losing their pensions, the latest in the Detroit bankruptcy trial, and how Aramark is under fire again.

New teachers’ pension plans

Legislation in the state Senate could bring changes to the retirement plans of new teachers. The bill would eliminate the option for pensions and offer only 401(k)-style plans.

Lessenberry says this bill is not making teachers happy.

“There’s not only a dramatic opposition, but a hostility between Republicans in the state Legislature and Michigan’s teachers," Lessenberry says.

Lessenberry says the bill is unlikely to come up for vote until after the election.

Detroit bankruptcy trial

Detroit has reached a tentative settlement with creditor Syncora, one of the biggest opponents to the city’s bankruptcy plan.

Lessenberry says the agreement puts pressure on remaining creditors, including Financial Guaranty Insurance, to secure their own deals with the city or face a “cram-down” at the order of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes.

Aramark in more hot water

An Aramark employee has been charged with smuggling heroin and other drugs to inmates at the St. Louis, Michigan, prison. The private prison food contractor recently came under fire following allegations of maggots in food and sexual conduct between employees and inmates.

Lessenberry says Gov. Rick Snyder’s refusal to break ties with Aramark, along with accusations the governor covered up a $98,000 fine to the company, may be the reason Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer has drawn even in the polls. 

“For the Democrats, it’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Lessenberry says.