Michigan politics

2:36 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Michigan may authorize new uses for toxic coal ash

Coal ash is the byproduct generated by coal-fired electric power plants. It's commonly mixed with concrete as a road construction filler, and it's also sometimes spread on farm fields. Some studied have linked coal ash exposure to lung cancer.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / CheshireCat@TO

One of the bills that cleared the Michigan legislature this session was a provision that allows certain bio-waste materials to be re-used for beneficial purposes. These substances include things like cement kiln dust, wood pulp and coal ash. Coal ash is the leftover residue from coal burned by electric power plants.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:16 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

After marathon session, MI senate takes final shot at road funding

Credit Flickr - lehooper

The Michigan Senate struggled late into the night Wednesday, working on a comprehensive road funding measure.

Read more
Politics & Government
12:45 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Senator Jones on competing road funding proposals

Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge)
Credit www.senatorrickjones.com


The Michigan legislature’s summer break begins after business on Thursday. That’s meant an important surge of activity this week to finish a new state budget and to further address one of the state’s biggest issues, road funding.

Current State welcomes Republican Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge to update these and other legislative news, including his measure that would amend Michigan law on strip searches.

11:30 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Drain Commissioner Lindemann on clean water challenges, opportunities

Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann
Credit Stacy Hoxsey / WKAR-MSU

Pat Lindemann has served as the Drain Commissioner of Ingham County for 21 years. He's a Lansing native who’s spent his entire life in the area. As Drain Commissioner, Lindemann’s responsible for the operation of Ingham County storm drains and related issues including lake levels and soil erosion.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:08 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Mackinac wrap-up: Land/Peters, Detroit, LGBT rights

Governor Snyder at the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference.
Credit Flickr- Detroit Regional Chamber

The 2014 Detroit Regional Chamber Conference on Mackinac Island is winding down. The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta has been there for the duration and he provides us with a recap of what has been a fairly eventful conference.

Read more
Politics & Government
12:21 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Senate leader Richardville on minimum wage, road funding, and EAA

Sen. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe)
Credit www.senatorrandyrichardville.com

On the heels of a measure signed into law last evening by Governor Rick Snyder, hourly salaries of Michigan’s lowest-paid workers will go up on September 1st. Whether to raise the state’s minimum wage has been one of the most debated issues so far in 2014, and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville has been closely involved in the discussion.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:10 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Schertzing touts 'problem-solving record' in 8th District bid

Credit http://tr.ingham.org/

For 14 years, Eric Schertzing has served as Ingham County Treasurer.  About six weeks ago, he began charting a new path in representing Michigan’s 8th Congressional district, which includes Lansing and East Lansing. 

Read more
Politics & Government
1:01 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Okemos fourth graders lobby for state amphibian

Northern Spring Peeper
Credit paherps.com, Bob Hamilton

Some elementary students in Okemos are wrapping up their school year with a crash course in political lobbying.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:57 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Senate Education Committee chair on assessment, EAA disputes

Debate continues at the Capitol over teacher assessments.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

For many months, Michigan legislators have battled over education. Often, it’s been over the "Common Core" curriculum standards that Michigan and more than 40 other states will adopt soon. The ongoing dispute has taken a number of turns in the past week.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:39 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Capitol Update: Revenue, Detroit bankruptcy and minimum wage

Credit Wikimedia Commons

At the state capitol yesterday, Michigan’s latest set of revenue estimates were unveiled. It’s an important twice-a-year gathering with often serious implications for state government spending, budgets and taxes.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:28 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Report suggests Michigan tax cuts have hampered prosperity

Michigan ranks 49th in the country in terms of the percentage of state and local taxes paid by business.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A recent report casts doubt on the impact of two decades of tax-cutting in Michigan. It suggests that the resulting cuts in public revenue have seriously prevented greater prosperity.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:03 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Democratic candidate Mark Totten makes case for Attorney General

Michigan Attorney General candidate Mark Totten.
Credit http://www.marktotten.com/

Democrat Mark Totten was among the first to announce his candidacy for statewide office in this year’s elections. He threw his hat in the ring to become his party’s nominee for Attorney General almost a year ago.

Read more
Politics & Government
12:31 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Survey aims to bring focus to Michigan election issues

The survey found that Michigan residents want elected officials to focus on education and road funding.
Credit Mark Bashore / WKAR

Yesterday, the Center for Michigan released the results of a seven-month survey of people across the state. The report, issued in conjunction with Bridge Magazine, is called “Michigan Speaks: A Citizens’ Agenda for the 2014 Elections.”

Read more
TV Made in Michigan
5:01 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

'Spotlight on the News' Comes to WKAR Sundays

WXYZ Editorial and Public Affairs Director Chuck Stokes with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr on a recent episode of 'Spotlight on the News'

Sundays at 2:30 p.m. on 23.1 WKAR-HD and 6 p.m. on 23.2 WKAR World.

Read more
2:10 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

School reformers: zero-tolerance not the answer

Peri Stone-Palmquist of the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan says she has seen cases where a child who brought a knife to school to cut an apple for lunch has been severely punished.
Credit Flickr - Paradox 56

Last week, students and advocates rallied at the Michigan Capitol after marching from Detroit to Lansing on foot. Students' marching hoped to raise awareness about the state’s school discipline policies. At the rally, they asked lawmakers to remove  legislation that requires zero-tolerance discipline policies in schools.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:13 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Independent 8th District candidate proposes end to zero sum political solutions

Brooks says like the roads, we cannot keep just refilling the potholes in the 8th District with the same speed bumps.
Credit Courtesy of Preston Brooks

“Big money is corrupting our political process.”   

Those are the words of an Oakland County business owner and entrepreneur who, for the second time, is in the race to represent Michigan’s 8th Congressional district, which includes Lansing and East Lansing.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:14 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

State offers money up front in Detroit bankruptcy

The state is offering to sweeten its proposal to contribute 350-million to Detroit's plight.
Credit Credit Flickr - Maia C

Developments toward a ‘grand bargain’ to speed the end of Detroit’s landmark  bankruptcy have been unfolding quickly. Late on Tuesday night, negotiators from the city and two of its retiree pension funds reached tentative deals involving cuts and cost-of-living revisions.  Those agreements were two more hurdles cleared toward an $816-million arrangement that could lessen pension cuts, allow reinvestment in city services, and prevent the sale of city-owned art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. However, more agreements need to be hammered out with other creditors.

Read more
11:39 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Business leaders update "Michigan Turnaround Plan"

Doug Rothwell, CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan, says Michigan has seen significant improvement in terms of a balanced budget and tax rates since 2009.
Credit businessleadersformichigan.com

An organization that includes many of Michigan’s top corporate leaders is making new recommendations on the way ahead for the state. “Business Leaders for Michigan” is a non-profit whose 90 or so members are among the top executives of the state’s most established businesses including General Motors, Dominos Pizza and Meijer.

Read more
Politics & Government
12:11 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

New Dem LG candidate outlines priorities

Mark Schauer describes Brown as 'a fighter' who 'knows how to lead.'
Credit Courtesy of Lisa Brown

Michigan's Democratic candidate for Governor, Mark Schauer, selected his running mate this week. To no one's surprise, Schauer selected Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown.

Before her election as Clerk, the West Bloomfield resident represented central Oakland County for two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives. Before that, she worked both as an attorney and realtor.

Read more
Politics & Government
12:56 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Enthusiasm for public service drives mayor in run for Rogers' seat

Barnett says he brings a unique perspective as a mayor 'who has seen what effective leadership can do and how it can deliver results.'
Credit https://www.rochesterhills.org/

In fewer than 24-hours, the race for Michigan’s 8th Congressional District picked up two new candidates. Both are Oakland County Republicans. 

Read more
Politics & Government
12:39 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Gay marriage in Michigan in legal limbo

Michigan's first marriage licenses to same-sex couples were issued this weekend in Ingham and several other counties.
Credit Flickr - Kelly Kline

The legal status of same-sex marriage here in Michigan was taken for quite the ride over the weekend. Late Friday afternoon, Federal District Judge Bernard Friedman declared Michigan’s 2004 ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. By Saturday afternoon, the clerks in four Michigan counties – Washtenaw, Muskegon, Oakland and Ingham – issued hundreds of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request to put the ruling on hold was granted by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That temporary hold lasts until Wednesday.

Read more
12:32 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Michigan Superintendent Flanagan on EAA, student testing, teacher evals

The EAA is the district charged with turning around MIchigan’s 15 lowest performing schools.
Credit Flickr - Mars Hill Church

Last week, after months of debate, the Michigan House voted narrowly to expand state’s Education Achievement Authority. The highly debated measure, which the Senate now considers, is one of many on Michigan’s continually evolving education landscape. Others include new testing for student growth and evaluating teacher effectiveness, the Common Core curriculum, and several more.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:46 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

From the capitol: wolf hunt, EAA, roads

Rick Pluta of MPRN says along with the ongoing battle over wolf hunting in Michigan, lawmakers are considering education and road repair funding proposals.
Credit Flickr - warriorwoman531

The controversy over wolf hunting continues in Michigan with new developments this week.

Last November and December, hunters killed 23 wolves in three parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. That was a little more than half the number allowed under the state's new wolf hunting rules. The wolf debate didn't end with the hunt, though.

Read more
12:03 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Pennyslvania offers lessons on clearing road funding hurdles

Pennsylvania's situation regarding roads and politics are similar to Michigan's.
Credit Flickr - chrisUK

With an intense pothole season beginning to unfold in Michigan, debate is intensifying over how to repair and better maintain state roads and highways.

Republican Governor Rick Snyder has favored a longer-term, comprehensive approach that would invest over a billion dollars a year in the effort. However, fellow Republicans in the legislature have withheld support for the tax and fee increases that would fund the Governor’s plan.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:53 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Program trains Michigan's aspiring political leaders

State Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan.
Credit WKAR/Joe Linstroth

The Michigan Political Leadership Program, or MPLP, is designed to promote diversity and dialogue in how our communities, our state, and our nation are run. It started in 1992 and is administered by the  Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University.

Every year, 24 people from across the state and across the political spectrum are chosen for the 10-month program. They develop skills to help them win elections, address the media and serve their constituents. The latest group has just started the program.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:24 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Ex-MUCC president to challenge Senator Rick Jones

Democratic candidate Dawn Levey
Credit Courtesy www.leveyforsenate.com/

A Clinton County school teacher has announced her candidacy for the Michigan Senate’s 24th district. Democrat Dawn Levey says she would make education one of her top priorities. She says Michigan school kids are “suffering because of partisan politics."

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
1:03 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Budget director explains 2015 state spending plan

Credit Flickr - borman818

Governor Rick Snyder unveiled his budget for the 2015 fiscal year yesterday. Overall, the plan increases state gross spending by 2% over this year's budget, with increases in education and educator pensions, the rainy day fund, roads, and many more.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
2:07 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Proposal seeks return to part-time legislature

Norman Kammeraad
Credit Courtesy WKAR/Off the Record


Norman Kammeraad is a West Michigan business owner who chairs the Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature. The group is calling for a two-month legislative session with salaries of $35,000.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
2:27 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Month in Review: State budget, minimum wage highlight news from January

Credit Flickr - mbugard

To review and update some of the the month’s top Michigan news stories, Current State welcomes Tim Skubick, host of Michigan Public TV’s “Off the Record,” seen on WKAR-TV. Also joining us is Bill Ballenger of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter, and Emily Lawler of MIRS News in Lansing.

Read more
Radio Made in Michigan
12:53 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Bipartisan effort aims to strengthen Michigan legislative resources

Rep. Andy Schor is working with the Strengthening Michigan's Government Institutions group.
Credit http://068.housedems.com/

A long-time Michigan political insider is launching a bipartisan effort to bolster resources for state legislators. The “Strengthening Michigan’s Governing Institutions” project is the brainchild of Republican/Libertarian Richard McLellan, who thinks term limits have left legislators with too few resources to do their jobs well.

Read more