gretchen whitmer | Michigan Radio

gretchen whitmer

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
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Several members of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s cabinet are likely to get to keep their jobs. The state Senate began its Advice and Consent hearings this week for several directors appointed by Whitmer. There are more hearings to come.

The committee heard from appointees to the Department of Transportation, Michigan State Police, children’s ombudsman, and state treasurer.

Issues & Ale panel
Crissy Zamarron / Michigan Radio

Gearing up for the State of the State Address on Feb. 12, our Issues & Ale crew gathered Monday, Feb. 4, at Brewery Becker in Brighton to talk about the new administration in Lansing. Over 100 politically engaged listeners packed into the venue for the entertaining night of local and national politics.

A choppy surf crashes against the beach underneath the Mackinac Bridge.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

A new report says the State of Michigan did not thoroughly review Enbridge’s ability to cover costs in the case of a spill from its twin Line 5 oil pipelines before it signed an agreement with the company. The pipelines run underneath the Straits of Mackinac.

capitol building
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Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order to restructure the Department of Environmental Quality could be overturned before any changes are made.

Some Republicans don’t like that Whitmer’s executive order gets rid of several environmental oversight panels that were put in place by state law last year. The state House passed a measure to undo the order Wednesday, before a Senate committee reviewed the order Thursday.

Paul Ajegba (right) talks with people before Tuesday's Senate Advice and Consent committee meeting.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The man picked to implement Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s main campaign promise to “fix the damn roads” was grilled by state senators Tuesday.

Paul Ajegba has been with the Michigan Department of Transportation for nearly three decades. He was picked by the governor in December to serve as MDOT director. 

He told the Senate Advice and Consent committee that Michigan’s poor roads are a result of a history of temporary fixes to stretch state tax dollars. Ajegba noted Michigan has ranked near the bottom for per capita spending on roads.

Sleeping Bear Dunes
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is restructuring the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.

Whitmer signed several measures Monday, including one that creates new offices in what will become the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The restructuring creates offices of public advocates for environmental justice and clean water, and it creates an interagency environmental justice response team.

Environmental groups called this a great first step.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Environmentalists are giving a road map to Michigan’s elected leaders for dealing with threats to the state’s land, lakes and drinking water.  

Twenty conservation and environmental groups delivered their recommendations last week.

Lisa Wozniak is the executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. 

power lines in trees
Steffan Vilcans / Flickr -

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The cold snap is expected to be over by Friday. But once the cold weather eases up, there will be new issues for the state to handle.

The dramatic freeze and upcoming rise in temperatures is bad for roads, and the Michigan Department of Transportation is getting ready.

Paul Ajegba is the director of the department. He says MDOT has had about 1,200 trucks on the road putting salt and sand out. But they also expect to have to patch roads once there’s a thaw.

State government stays closed amid cold snap

Jan 30, 2019
michigan state capitol building
Wikimedia Commons

The State House and Senate have cancelled their Thursday session day, making Tuesday the only day they’ve met this week. This is due to the ongoing cold snap across the state. Lawmakers are expected to return for session on Tuesday, February 5.

Whitmer for Governor

UPDATED at 7:08 am on 1/30/19

Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s first State of the State address will happen a week later than originally scheduled.

Whitmer was scheduled to deliver the speech on Tuesday, February 5th. But Speaker of the U-S House Nancy Pelosi announced she would invite President Donald Trump to deliver his State of the Union address on the same day.

Whitmer now plans to give her State of the State address to the Legislature in the Michigan House Chamber on Tuesday, February 12th.

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr -

The Senate will start the oversight process for some of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s state department appointees.

The state Senate has 60 days to object to certain Whitmer appointees, otherwise the appointee is automatically confirmed.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

United Auto Workers members gathered outside Detroit’s Cobo Center Friday evening during the North American International Auto Show’s annual charity preview event.

They held a protest and candlelight vigil in solidarity with General Motors workers who face layoffs or relocation.

That’s because GM plans to close five U.S. plants this year, including two in Michigan: Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, and Warren Transmission.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rallied with union members before the event. She promised to “stand with” with them, saying workers had to give up a lot to keep GM afloat over the past ten years.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Leaders of the state Legislature and Governor Gretchen Whitmer will hold their first “quadrant meeting” Wednesday.

Whitmer announced when she won the November election that she would like to hold regular meetings with the Speaker of the House, House Democratic Leader, Senate Majority Leader and Senate Democratic Leader. All members agreed.

The idea is to talk about issues and find ways to come to an agreement before bills hit Whitmer’s desk.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan may soon allow closed medical marijuana dispensaries without a license to reopen.

More than half the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries were forced to close earlier this month because of licensing issues. The result of the closures has been a shortage of medical marijuana products.   Even licensed dispensaries have had problems stocking enough products to meet demand.

Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says a sit-down meeting between her and General Motors CEO Mary Barra is "in the works."

GM’s plans to close five plants, including two in Michigan, attracted President Trump’s vocal displeasure, and an outcry from the leaders of affected cities.

Gretchen Whitmer
Whitmer for Governor

Since taking office on New Year’s Day, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed a series of executive directives including an order designed to help women get equal pay as state employees, and one to increase transparency in state government.

Nancy Kaffer is a columnist with the Detroit Free Press. She spoke to Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about Whitmer’s first days in office. They also talked about the impact of dozens of communities that want to prohibit pot shops in their cities and townships now that recreational marijuana is legal.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are beginning what may be a contentious 100th legislative session. 

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen was busy Wednesday morning asking state senators, “Do you solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution of the United States....” as they were sworn into office.

Whitmer for Governor

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive directive she says will help secure equal pay for equal work among state employees.

The directive prohibits state agencies and departments from asking about a potential employee's current or previous salaries until they give the applicant a conditional offer of employment that includes proposed compensation.

Judy Welch is the executive director for the West Michigan branch of Michigan Women Forward. She says this could help women who have historically been paid less.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

The Michigan Legislature will gavel in for its 100th session this week. Lawmakers say they have one multi-billion dollar issue to tackle first.

At the end of the first week of the session, economists and numbers wonks will gather at the Capitol to tell lawmakers how big the budget should be this year.

The layout for how Michigan will spend its money for the upcoming year will be one of the first big hurdles the new Legislature and governor have to work on.

Whitmer for Governor

Governor Gretchen Whitmer closed out her first week in office by signing yet another executive directive. This is the 8th one she has signed this week.

The new directive is aimed at helping small businesses. It requires the state Department of Technology, Management, and Budget to work out a plan to increase the state’s contracts with and purchases from small businesses.

Michigan governor's office

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed six more executive directives on Thursday. She says they're part of an effort to increase transparency and ethics in state government.

The new rules include a ban on using private emails for state business, a rule prohibiting any campaign activities during work hours or with taxpayer dollars, and a mandate that state employees report “irregularities” they see with public resources.

Rashida Tlaib with supporters
Rashida Tlaib for Congress website

Issues & Ale: The Changing of the Guard in State Goverment 
Mon, February 4, 6:30-8:00 PM
Brewery Becker
500 W Main St, Brighton, MI 48116

We’ve sworn in our new governor and as the position shifts from red to blue, the state anticipates changes ahead. At our first Issues and Ale of 2019, we’ll be talking about Governor Whitmer’s first month in office and what Michiganders can expect from the new administration in its first year.

Gretchen Whitmer

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued her first executive directive as Michigan’s governor. The directive requires state department employees to report threats to public health, safety or welfare up the chain of command, and it requires those threats to be investigated.

“We thought this was an important way to lead on the first day. To tell state employees we listen to them, and public health is paramount to anyone’s ego, to anyone’s agenda, to any one department’s arena,” says Whitmer.

Crowd outside of the Lansing Capitol for Governor Gretchen Whitmer's inauguration.
Isabella Isaacs-Thomas / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, a breakdown of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s New Year’s Day inaugural address and what to expect from the first few weeks of the new administration. Plus, how to arm children with the knowledge they need to recognize abuse and tell a trusted adult.

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

Gretchen Whitmer
Whitmer for Governor

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer has become Michigan's 49th governor.

The 47-year-old former state lawmaker from East Lansing took the oath of office Tuesday in a swearing-in ceremony outside the state Capitol building.

Whitmer, Michigan's second female governor, said Michigan's problems are not partisan ones.

She said potholes, clean water, great schools and better job skills "are not political," and she pledged to be a "governor for everyone."

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Senate Democrats

Governor-elect Gretchen Whitmer announced major cabinet appointments on Thursday. Whitmer calls this the second wave of appointments to her administration – which starts on January 1st.

Among the hires announced Thursday is a new director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Liesel Clark will lead the embattled department. It’s been criticized by environmentalists and business groups in the past.

The department has also had issues internally. Whitmer says there’s a lot to fix.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder is moving into his final week on the job, but he’s still got a lot left to do.

Last week, the legislature sent the governor the last of more than 400 bills and resolutions passed during their lame duck session after the November election.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The work of fixing Flint’s broken water system goes on, but the state panel created in the wake of the water crisis met for likely the last time Friday.

The Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee (FWICC) has spent the past few years discussing ways to solve Flint’s lead tainted water and other problems.