Michigan politics

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What happens in Michigan 730,000 times a day? According to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, that's the number of times daily that someone tries to hack into a state government computer. Officials are quick to point out that virtually all are detected and quickly stopped. Still, it requires a comprehensive and expensive cyber security effort to stay ahead of the threat. Officials say the number of attempts will rise.

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In January, a Lansing woman, accompanied by her two children, made a grisly discovery at the Rose Lake Wildlife Research Area, not far from East Lansing. According to the Lansing City Pulse, the three, who were on a mid-winter walk, came across the frozen body of a dog, which appeared to have been abandoned inside a small kennel in dangerously cold temperatures. According to the story, Bath Township Police are investigating the incident. They say it appears to be a case of animal cruelty, a felony in Michigan punishable by up to four years in prison.

File photo / WKAR

At the end of the month, Current State takes one last look back at the top news stories in Michigan politics and government. This time around, we revisit a proposed, new state budget, new leadership for Michigan’s Republican Party, and the discussion over May’s sales tax proposal.


We all know Michiganians we feel are extraordinary for their memorable life experiences or their sacrifices. Maybe for their success, or their service, and for the insights that result from those experiences. Getting better acquainted with extraordinary people is the focus of Current State’s occasional series, “Voices of Experience.”

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Developers are about to become the owners of 30 acres of city land straddling Lansing and East Lansing. Monday evening, the Lansing City Council approved the sale of the former Red Cedar Golf Course property to Ferguson/Continental Lansing LLC. Developer Joel Ferguson and his partner Frank Kass want to build a $276-million complex at the site that could include a ten-story hotel, restaurant and housing. Part of the site would remain green space.


East Lansing Democratic state Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. is seven weeks into his legislative career at the state Capitol. He represents the 23rd district, which covers almost all of Ingham County. Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee began discussing a bill sponsored by the former Ingham County official. Hertel wants to offer recent Michigan college graduates tax credits in exchange for a pledge to stay in Michigan.

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Stakeholders across Michigan are responding to Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2016 budget proposal. The $54-billion spending plan includes increases in education, job training and the state police. It also includes spending reductions in about a dozen state agencies. As always, there’s something for almost everyone to like and to dislike.

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Not long after Michigan voters decided Congressional contests around the state, a 7th District Democrat has declared her candidacy in next year’s election. On Monday, at appearances throughout the district including Delta Township and Jackson, State Rep. Gretchen Driskell announced that she’s a candidate. The Democrat from Saline says the 7th “isn’t getting the representation it deserves.”

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder updated his near term goals in the annual State of the State speech last night. The centerpiece was the creation of what the Governor called a “River of Opportunity” that would improve state services, especially those coming Michigan’s Departments of Community Health and Human Services. Snyder plans to combine the two into one. He says their work represents a “failed model” that is too focused on programs than on people.


Lansing’s Andy Schor has begun his second term in the Michigan House of Representatives after being sworn in on Wednesday. In a statement on his web page, the former Ingham County Commissioner says the start of a new session “presents new opportunities.”

2015 Michigan State of the State

Jan 14, 2015

Gov. Rick Snyder's annual address to the Michigan Legislature and Democratic response. WATCH IT NOW

Child advocate wary of suspicion-based drug testing

Jan 6, 2015
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Governor Rick Snyder is still making his way through the stack of bills on his desk after lame duck. Among the bills that have already gotten his stamp of approval is one that authorizes suspicion-based drug tests for some welfare recipients. It requires the state to establish pilot programs for screening and testing people on public assistance in three Michigan counties.

Four months from today, Michigan voters will make the next move regarding our state’s crumbling roads and bridges. They’ll decide whether to hike the state sales tax by one cent on the dollar. Approval would create over a billion dollars annually to help repair the roads, but it would also restore the state’s earned income tax credit and send more state revenue to schools. Rejection means Governor Rick Snyder and the legislature are back at square one in the road funding debate. So, what can we expect to see and hear over the next four months?

WKAR presents Gubernatorial Inauguration, OTR look ahead, conversation with Gov. and First Lady Snyder, Michigan State of the State, State of the Union