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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The mayor of Lansing wants to power all city buildings with 100% renewable energy starting with the city's new fiscal year.

Mayor Andy Schor is including the switch to primarily wind and solar power in the budget he’s introducing this week.

“We will be the first city in the state of Michigan, as far as we can tell, that will be 100% renewable energy,” says Schor. “And I think that’s really important; we have to lead by example.”

A Lansing Board of Water & Light official says roughly 99% of the power would come from solar and wind sources. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A state lawmaker wants to reduce the penalty for reconnecting a shut-off water line from a five-year felony to a civil infraction.   

Rep. Alex Garza (D-Taylor) says criminally charging people down on their luck will only make it harder for them to get back on their feet.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s congressional delegation reacted along party lines at the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report's findings.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Mueller did not find the 2016 Trump presidential campaign or its associates "conspired or coordinated" with Russia. Though Mueller did not exonerate President Donald Trump of obstruction of justice or find that he committed a crime.

cover of the book American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear
University of California Press

The global Muslim community has been in mourning since a gunman open fired in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, nearly a week ago. Fifty people were killed in the attack, which New Zealand’s prime minister has described as an act of terrorism.

The massacre has prompted a larger discussion about the rise of Islamophobia across the world, including here in the United States. Stateside spoke with Khaled Beydoun, a law professor at University of Detroit Mercy and author of American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear, about the increase in anti-Muslim sentiment.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Friday is World Water Day.

In Flint, nearly five years after the city’s disastrous drinking water switch, activists are calling for more to be done to help city residents recover from Flint’s lead-tainted tap water crisis.

Members of the group, Color of Change, carried boxes containing 15,000 petition signatures into Flint city hall to mark World Water Day.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council failed Thursday night to vote down pay raises for themselves and the mayor.

The pay raises were proposed by an independent commission. In order to stop the pay hike, a majority of the Flint city council had to vote to reject it.

Councilman Santino Guerra made a motion to stop the pay hikes during last night’s meeting. He says now is not the time for Flint’s elected leaders to get a pay hike.

“We still have the Flint water crisis going on... there are still homes with pipes in the ground that need to be replaced,” said Guerra.

Michigan governor's office

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed her first bill into law on Thursday. The new law will keep a judge’s seat in a court in the Upper Peninsula.

Representative Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) represents part of the Upper Peninsula, including Menominee County, where the judge will be. He sponsored a similar bill in the state House.

“We want to make sure that judges don’t have to drive 250 miles to ensure the due process rights of everybody,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re in Monroe or Menominee. You have a right to due process and that means you've got to have a judge close by.”

The current judge plans to retire at the end of the month. Under state law, his retirement would have eliminated the district judge position due to attrition.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The clock is ticking on dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana provisioning centers in Michigan.

Starting April 1, the state will direct those dispensaries to shut their doors.

Advocates are concerned that could mean medical marijuana patients will have trouble getting their medicine.

“We’re going to see a reduced access for medical marijuana patients because of the shuttering of some of those provisioning centers that are in the process of the licensing,” says Rick Thompson, with the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

William Murphy / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1XMSZCG

A nonpartisan policy group says Michigan needs to do more to improve regional transit in urban areas.

A recent report from the Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan said regional transit is key to economic development, revitalizing communities, reducing pollution and traffic congestion, improving residents' mobility, and reducing stress on roads and parking infrastructure.

AP file photo / Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has failed again in his efforts to reduce the time he's spending in federal prison for corruption.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds on Tuesday denied a motion to vacate the 28-year sentence she handed Kilpatrick in 2013 for extortion, bribery, conspiracy and other crimes during his years in office.

The 48-year-old Kilpatrick said in his motion that the court made errors during his trial that included incorrect jury instructions.

Picture of the Lansing capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in the state House unanimously passed a group of bills they say will make state government more transparent.  The bills would, in some cases, open the governor’s office up to freedom of information requests. They would also create a new Legislative Open Records Act to allow for some records requests from state lawmakers.

Representative Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) is a bill sponsor. She says Michigan is one of only two states that doesn’t allow for records requests from the governor and Legislature.

“It was necessary for us to be like everyone else and make government more accountable to the state of Michigan,” says Rendon.

picture of someone voting
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Wikimedia Commons

Arrests of undocumented immigrants have jumped over the last two years in the Detroit sector of the northern U.S. border.

According to U.S. Border Patrol statistics, there were  1,930 arrests in FY 2018 (October 1st through September 30).  That's more than two and one half times the number from two years earlier and the three years before that. About two thirds of those arrested in FY 2018 were from Mexico.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke packed the Hometown Heroes coffeehouse in Centerline on Monday. 

O'Rourke was the first Democratic presidential hopeful to make a campaign stop in Michigan.

Some of those in the crowd had already decided that O'Rourke was their favorite candidate, like Barb Sudomier.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Attorney General’s office has sent new documents to a congressional committee investigating the Flint water crisis.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin expects it will be difficult overriding President Trump’s veto of legislation to block his emergency declaration to build a southern border wall.

Jocelyn Benson
Benson for Secretary of State

Michigan’s new secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, has released details of her personal finances. She says this sort of disclosure should be required of all state elected officials.

She made more than $370,000 last year as the CEO of a not-for-profit organization and a law professor. That was before she took office in January. She has called for a law to require other state elected officials to make public their income sources and potential conflicts.

Empty classroom
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan has been steering money in the School Aid Fund K-12 schools into higher education for almost a decade – and Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it’s time to stop. But she's facing some pushback from Republican lawmakers.

State Rep. Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) chairs the House Appropriations Committee. He said he’s willing to consider the move – but it would take time and likely have to be phased in.

Woman getting a shot
Centers for Disease Control

Today on Stateside, Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes updates us on the results of the UAW's recent Special Bargaining Convention. Plus, a conversation with a public health expert on the dangers that falling vaccination rates pose to communities around Michigan. 

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

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is asking a federal court to reject a recent opinion by the U.S. Department of Justice that says online state lotteries are illegal under a federal law called the Wire Act.

Michigan filed an amicus brief this week opposing the Justice Department's new legal opinion that reverses its earlier 2011 position that the Wire Act applies only to interstate wire communications in sports betting.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has fired a second white police officer because of a seemingly racist Snapchat video.

Michael Garrison’s partner Gary Steele made the video after they towed a young black woman’s car for expired plates in January, leaving her to walk home in frigid temperatures. It included racially-charged commentary like “what black girl magic looks like.” Garrison can be heard saying “walk of shame.”

Craig launched an investigation into the incident and both police officers in February. He also launched an “environmental audit” of the sixth precinct, where both worked.

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

Top appointees in Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration are officially in their jobs to stay. The time limit for the state Senate to block many appointees by Whitmer has passed.

The state Senate has 60 days to oppose an appointment by Whitmer. The oversight process has not been used much in the recent past with a Republican in the governor’s seat and a Republican-controlled Legislature. But now with a Democrat in the governor’s office, Republicans are using the oversight powers more.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Some Flint pastors are demanding an apology from three city council members who voiced concerns about possible financial mismanagement at city hall.

The council members say they are not planning to apologize.

The dispute is over a letter the council members sent to the Governor Gretchen Whitmer's office. It questioned how the mayor planned to pay the company overseeing Flint’s pipe replacements.

Councilwoman Kate Fields says her letter was about “serious concerns about financial management."

Multiple potholes along a concrete road.
User: Pearl Pirie / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer breaks down the rationale behind her proposed 45-cent gas tax in her first state budget. Plus, the Univeristy of Detroit Mercy School of Law is celebrating the anniversary of a Detroit meeting between two prominent abolitionists 160 years ago this week. 

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

Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says she is standing by her first state budget proposal.

Whitmer joined Stateside Monday to discuss the proposal, including the widely-criticized fuel tax increase to pay for road repairs. She says the pain people might feel at the pump would mean fewer dollars spent fixing their cars.

Michigan State Capitol.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

From changing the state’s freedom of information laws to attempts to stop observing daylight-saving time – lawmakers in Lansing are trying again on issues that didn’t pass during previous sessions.

Multiple bills have already been introduced since January that revisit old issues. In some cases, they’re bills that have been introduced multiple times in the past, but never gotten anywhere.

Mike Duggan
detroitmi.gov

Detroit’s finances are no longer under state oversight, but the city’s budget remains “tight.”

That’s what Mayor Mike Duggan told the Detroit City Council during his annual budget address Thursday.

Duggan says the budget is balanced, with a $1.1 billion general fund for the upcoming fiscal year. The city is seeing some slight growth in municipal income tax revenues, while other revenue sources remain stagnant.

Map of 1,4-dioxane plume in Ann Arbor.
Scio Residents for Safe Water

Today on Stateside, Ann Arbor officials announced last week that trace amounts of a chemical known as 1,4-dioxane had been found in the city's drinking water for the first time. So, what does that mean for residents? Plus, if you feel like popular songs aren't as happy as they used to be, a new study says you're right. 

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

U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib
Rashida Tlaib for Congress website

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood of Michigan

Michigan became one of 21 states joining a lawsuit against the federal government's new Title X rule, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced on Tuesday. Title X funds family planning services and other health care for low-income Americans.

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