Michigan politics

Wikimedia commons

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.

Month in Review: June's biggest news stories

Jun 28, 2013

On the last weekday of the month, Current State looks back on Michigan news stories that continue to resonate.  For this month, we weigh in on Medicaid expansion, the road ahead for marriage equality in Michigan, Common Core and all the stories with legs.

Governor Rick Snyder is calling on state Senate Republicans to return to Lansing. That’s after the Senate adjourned for its summer recess without voting on a Medicaid expansion under the new federal healthcare law.

Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta tells us how the episode left hard feelings, and dimming prospects for extending health coverage to many thousands of low-income working households

Courtesy of Robin Sanders

 Many Michigan voters have begun anticipating a Gubernatorial contest next year between Republican incumbent Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer.  But a political neophyte from Southeast Michigan has also launched an effort at getting the state’s top job. Robin Sanders has spent close to 20 years as a corrections officer with the Michigan Department of Corrections, most of it specializing in mental health work.

Michigan’s state legislative districts are redrawn after every U.S. Census.  The last time around the process turned contentious and led many Democrats to allege gerrymandering by the GOP majority.  They point to what they say are contorted district lines drawn to ensure a political advantage.  


Barring the highly unforeseeable, Mark Schauer will be Michigan’s Democratic candidate for Governor next year. Schauer headed the BlueGreen Alliance, a group comprised of 14 of the country’s largest unions and environmental organizations that advances a green jobs agenda.  

Rep. Andy Schor discusses budget and reforms

May 17, 2013
Courtesy of Andy Schor

Michigan’s fiscal year 2014 budget is due in six weeks. In the midst of the always intriguing process, Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, joins Current State. Schor has also been active in May launching and announcing support for measures involving voting reform, gun control and women’s health.

Today, he talks with Current State host Mark Bashore about the ongoing budget proposals, Medicaid expansion, the possible use of an unanticipated revenue increase, his voting reform bills, and more.

Current State #73 | April 24, 2013

Apr 24, 2013

Today on Current State: House Minority leader Tim Greimel; the MSU Wind Symphony performs at the Latin IS America Festival; Niowave pole barn dispute comes to an end; the Greater Lansing African American Health Institute; and  the impact of flooding on agriculture.

House Minority leader Tim Greimel

Apr 24, 2013

Democratic State Representative Tim Greimel is serving his first full term in the Michigan House. It’s also his first as the leader of his party’s caucus.  

Representative Greimel speaks with Current State host Mark Bashore about the Snyder administration's education project, his party’s struggle for influence in the GOP-majority legislature and likely Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate and Governor.


Local journalists review the top news stories in March

Mar 29, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

From the appointment of Detroit’s emergency manager to the ongoing fallout from Right to Work, March was a dramatic month in Michigan.  And in Lansing, officials finally unveiled a controversial plan to address the city’s long-term structural budget shortfalls.  


Current State #54 | March 28, 2013

Mar 28, 2013

Today on Current State: mother-daughter duo discuss their political involvement; winning Detroit Tigers' influence in 1968; Stations of the Cross reenactment in Lansing; and flutist Sir James Galway.

Credit w.r. richards / WKAR-MSU

Sometimes concurrently and sometimes separately, Barb and Dianne Byrum have represented the Lansing area either in the state legislature, at Ingham County or at Michigan State University for most of the past 25 years. The democratic mother-daughter duo continues to be influential:  Barb as a first-term Ingham County Clerk and her mother as a Michigan State University trustee.  Together, they join Current State and talk about issues, politics, the future and each other.

Michigan's Right-to-Work law set to take effect

Mar 27, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

Three and a half months after its stormy journey through the state legislature, Michigan’s Right-to-Work law is about to take effect.  Two guests with opposing views of the controversial law join Current State to update the debate.   Jim Holcomb is General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which supports the law.  Doug Pratt is a spokesperson for the Michigan Education Association, which opposes it.

Curtis Hertel on running for state Senate in 2014

Mar 26, 2013

Current Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel recently announced his plans to run for state Senate for 2014. As of now, he is the only democrat seeking to replace Gretchen Whitmer, who will reach her term limit come 2014.

Current State speaks with Hertel on his future plans for the position. 

File photo / WKAR

 Yesterday the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee proposed a plan that would cut state revenue to universities that approve new long-term contracts with faculty unions. Several schools including the University of Michigan and Wayne State University have been pursuing the new contracts to delay the impact of Michigan’s new Right to Work law, which is set to take effect next week.

File photo/WKAR

Democratic State Representative Sam Singh of East Lansing sits on the House appropriations committee and education appropriation subcommittees.  We welcome the first-termer back to Current State to get his thoughts on what’s happening at the state capitol, including a last-minute bill that would make major cuts to universities that do not meet the new union contract rules.

Leaders of Michigan cities seek more revenue sharing

Mar 18, 2013

Since 2000, Michigan's state government has cut a total of $4.2 billion of revenue sharing with municipalities.   With lawmakers at work on the next state budget, and with a modest surplus projected, advocates for Michigan’s cities and towns are pleading for an increase in revenue.  This afternoon, many of those advocates will meet at the Lansing office of the Michigan Municipal League to make some noise.

Wikimedia Commons

A bill is moving through the Michigan legislature that would expand the state's oversight of struggling schools.

Lansing schools Superintendent Yvonne Camaal-Canul says the move to expand the preview of Michigan's Educational Achievement Authority is "not about education.It's about politics." She joins us. 

Thursday afternoon in Detroit, Governor Rick Snyder is expected to name Kevyn Orr, a Washington D.C.-based bankruptcy attorney, as  Detroit's incoming financial manager. The Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta explains the importance of this historic announcement.

Congressman Gary Peters discusses his political future

Mar 14, 2013

Since Carl Levin’s announcement last Thursday that he won’t be seeking another term as Michigan’s senator, many names have been dropped as possible successors.  Arguably none has been mentioned more often as Democratic Congressman Gary Peters, who represents Michigan’s 14th congressional district. 

Congressman Peters discusses his political career and where it might be headed.

Current State #43 | March 13, 2013

Mar 13, 2013

Today on Current State:  A debate on biodiversity and commerce in Michigan; the Lansing Jaycees features in Neighbors in ActionLansing City Pulse reporters on the LPD's missing cold case list; a Jackson ice cream institution reopens; and an Ann Arbor high school orchestra wins national acclaim. 

Biodiversity and commerce in Michigan

Mar 13, 2013

A proposed bill making its way through the Michigan legislature aims to put tighter limits on the Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Commission.

From the controversial decision over a Detroit emergency manager, to the politics of road funding, to a call by Democrats to make college tuition available to all state high school graduates, Governor Rick Snyder had a lot going late last week.  Current State host Mark Bashore managed, however, to get the Governor for a few minutes by phone for a quick update on all these issues. 

Current State #38 | March 6, 2013

Mar 6, 2013

Today on Current State: The latest setback to the Lansing casino deal; Michigan ACLU on "Right to Work" lawsuit; the "Michigan 2020"  plan; Neighbors in Action featuring All Saints Episcopal Church; folk legend Janis Ian; and MSU students and staff in Beijing. 

Michigan ACLU on 'Right to Work' lawsuit

Mar 6, 2013

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has taken action to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s controversial right-to-work law.

Current State #37 | March 5, 2013

Mar 5, 2013

Today on Current State: The local impact of federal budget cuts; climate change in Michigan; Michigan farmers markets; the new dynamics of the Michigan Supreme Court; and Lansing's new city attorney designate. 

Last week, Governor Rick Snyder named Macomb County Chief Circuit Judge David Viviano to the Michigan Supreme Court.  Viviano replaces former justice Diane Hathaway, who resigned in January under a cloud of scandal pertaining to her involvement in a fraudulent real estate deal.  Viviano has worked as a city attorney and was also a Republican nominee for Macomb County prosecutor.

We continue our series of interviews with new local State Representatives with Theresa Abed. Last November, Abed defeated one-term Representative Deb Schaughnessy, moving the 71st District's Eaton County seat from Republican to Democratic. She joins us to discuss her 2013 legislative agenda.

Gabriela Saldivia

The state Republican and Democratic parties held conventions this weekend, and news was made at both.

After 18 years, Mark Brewer is out as leader of the Michigan Democratic Party, removing his name from consideration before the party’s chairmanship could go up for a vote. Lon Johnson takes over.

Meanwhile, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak faced a challenge from Tea Party nominee Todd Courser.        

Michigan House Democrats

Mason Democrat Tom Cochran prevailed in the 67th State House District race last November.  In his freshman term, the former Lansing fire chief sits on the House Transportation and the Insurance committee.

He shares his thoughts on state's road funding, the leadership of Michigan Democrats, and getting acclimated to the state capitol.