Michigan politics

Remembering former LT Governor Connie Binsfeld

Jan 14, 2014
Courtesy Michigan Women's Hall of Fame

Connie Binsfeld, who served in the Michigan House and Senate, as well as two terms as lieutenant governor, died Sunday at the age of 89. The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta covered Binsfeld in the State Senate and then as Lieutenant Governor, and Susan Demas, an MLive columnist and publisher of the “Inside Michigan Politics” newsletter also joins us to remember her legacy.

Flickr - DanMacMan

The Michigan legislature has begun its election year session. The body will reconsider unfinished business from 2013 including an expansion of the Education Achievement Authority and road funding.


A new conservative group is hoping to open up the conversation about renewable energy.  The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is working to increase the state’s investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

Flickr - DanMacMan

The last few weeks have been eventful ones at the State Capitol.  Legislators strongly considered measures involving education and phone service, among others.  They passed measures involving abortion insurance, medical marijuana and others.

Legislature's stare down with Right to Life a rarity

Dec 11, 2013
Flickr - mbugard

The state Legislature is in its final week of voting before it adjourns for the year. One of the big questions is whether lawmakers will cast votes on a controversial anti-abortion issue this year.

House Dem leader Greimel on year-end legislative push

Dec 11, 2013

The last day of the Michigan legislature’s 2013 session is scheduled to be tomorrow.  That’s ramped up efforts by majority Republicans to pass several proposals generating a lot of debate.


With just a few days left in the 2013 legislative session, the Michigan House is working its way through a cluster of controversial proposals. One package of bills calls for significant education reforms, including a plan to hold back Michigan third graders who aren’t reading at that level.  Another would impose a letter grading system on school districts statewide. Another addresses the regulation of so-called “issue ads.”

State survey shows Obama down, Snyder up slightly

Dec 6, 2013
Flickr - Ethan Bloch

President Obama's approval rating in Michigan has dropped to its lowest point in three years, according to a new Michigan State University survey.


On Saturday, state lawmakers from around the country will meet at Mount Vernon to discuss how they can push for a new constitutional convention. Their primary goal is to pass and ratify an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget.

New Jackson mayor, age 31, outlines agenda

Dec 4, 2013

Jackson has a new mayor. Jason Smith has been sworn into office. He replaced Martin Griffin, whom he defeated in the November election.


On Monday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer called for Michigan to adopt the highest minimum wage in the country.  Currently standing at $7.40 an hour, Schauer's recommended $9.25 an hour would surpass the top existing state rate in Washington by 6 cents.


The Michigan House Education Committee is looking over a controversial proposal that could hold back thousands of the state’s young learners. A measure introduced last week would require third-graders to repeat that year if they did not score “proficient” on the MEAP standardized test.

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Voters are going to the polls in 77 of Michigan’s 83 counties today.  Most are casting ballots for local mayoral and city council candidates as well as school-related issues.


Republicans in the Michigan legislature are pursuing change at the state’s Court of Claims.  That’s the judicial body that decides legal actions against the state.

Current State #192 | October 31, 2013

Oct 31, 2013

Today on Current State: October's biggest stories in review; Comet ISON; the history of werewolves in Michigan; and a review of "The Halloween Tree".

Gov. Snyder dissolves NERD Fund, won't reveal donors

Oct 23, 2013
File photo/WKAR

After weeks of pointed criticism, the Snyder administration announced on Monday that it would shut down its so-called NERD fund. The “New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify" Fund was not legally obligated to disclose its donors.

Incoming State Treasurer prepares for new role

Oct 16, 2013
File photo/WKAR

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has tapped the state's top financial and insurance regulator to become its next Treasurer.

Columnist Susan Demas takes over Capitol newsletter

Oct 14, 2013

There’s been a change at the top of an established Michigan political publication. Since he founded it in 1987, Bill Ballenger has been the publisher and editor of "Inside Michigan Politics."

Month in Review: September 2013 | WKAR

Sep 30, 2013

On the last weekday of each month, Current State looks back on the biggest news stories around Michigan with a panel of journalists. Tim Skubick of WKAR-TV and Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network join Current State to discuss the Michigan GOP establishment pushback against the Tea Party, common core education standards, the possible federal government shutdown, and more.

Pam Byrnes aims to unseat Walberg in 7th District

Sep 25, 2013

Michigan Democrats hope a former State lawmaker can unseat Republican incumbent Tim Walberg in the 7th Congressional district next year.

Michigan GOP sidesteps Tea Party showdown on Mackinac

Sep 23, 2013
Flickr - Robert Fred

Possible presidential candidates joined Gov. Rick Snyder and other top Republicans this weekend for the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.

Michigan GOP advisor addresses inter-party tension

Sep 12, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

Republicans in Michigan and around the country are locked in an intense debate over the party’s direction and priorities.   


Recently, internal tensions affecting the party encourage state Democrats over their election prospects in 2014.  Last week, the party leaked a memo describing the Michigan GOP as “coming apart at the seams.”  


Michigan advocates assess LGBT landscape

Sep 5, 2013
Wikimedia commons

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service announced that for taxation purposes, it would recognize all legally married couples, gay and straight.

File photo/WKAR

Governor Rick Snyder says he looks forward to signing a Medicaid expansion bill when he returns in a couple of weeks from a trade mission to Asia. In the meantime, the state will continue to negotiate with the federal government on the program.

Courtesy/City of Lansing

Tuesday was primary election day in Lansing.

Voters decided Mayoral and city council candidates for November’s general election.  In Haslett, voters approved a $10-million sinking fund for school building maintenance.

A predictable feature of many primaries is low voter turnout.  Tuesday in Lansing was no exception.

File photo/WKAR

Voters have now determined who will be in November’s general election for the Lansing City Council.

Courtesy of Rep. Sam Singh

This summer’s been busier than usual at the State Capitol, with ongoing discussions happening on hot button issues including Medicaid expansion, Common Core education standards, road funding and more.

Rep. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) joins the Current State to offer his perspective on those issues and more. He represents the House's 67th district.

The regulatory issues unearthed by fracking

Jul 30, 2013

The hydraulic fracturing also known as "fracking" is the process of releasing natural gas trapped deep within underground rock formations by pumping large amounts of high pressured water combined with chemicals and sand. Though many politicians and industry leaders say the process is safe and a means for energy independence, there are critics who claim that this type of drilling can threaten air, soil and water quality.

Some members of the Michigan legislature are having a busier summer than usual. While most legislators are on a summer break, party leaders and work groups continue debating major proposals not resolved by the June passage of the 2014 state budget.  Those include Common Core education standards, Medicaid expansion and others.   Michigan Public Radio state capitol bureau chief Rick Pluta talks with Current State's  Mark Bashore for an update on legislators' current progress on such issues. 

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According to the latest Michigan State University 'State of the State Survey' findings, Michigan residents are wary of government at all levels. Survey director  Dr. Charles Ballard and University of Michigan Public Policy Survey director Dr. Tom Ivacko say state residents have more trust in local government 'most of the time' than they do in the state and federal governments.