politics and government

Politics & Government
12:00 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

RFRA measure triggers tension between religious liberty, LGBT rights

Protesters took to the streets of Lansing this week to voice opposition to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Credit courtesy photo: Progress Michigan

One of the hot button issues of this year’s lame duck session was the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bill. The bill would exempt people from state and local laws if they can prove those laws violate deeply held religious beliefs. Opponents of the legislation say it amounts to a “license to discriminate”, and they are worried about its implications after a companion bill that would have expanded LGBT protections died in committee.

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Politics & Government
11:47 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Lansing attorney weighs in on new U.S.-Cuba relations

Attorney Richard McLellan (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Americans have been busy discussing President Obama’s call to normalize relations with Cuba. Lansing-based attorney Richard McLellan, a long-time Michigan political insider and a two-time visitor to Cuba, supports the President’s move.

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Politics & Government
11:38 am
Thu December 18, 2014

A legal primer on religious displays at the Capitol

MSU Law professor Frank Ravitch
Credit http://www.law.msu.edu/

A display at the state Capitol sponsored by a group called “The Satanic Temple” is raising eyebrows, even though it hasn’t been put up yet.

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Politics & Government
11:22 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Gov. Snyder says hope still alive for road funding compromise

Gov. Rick Snyder
Credit http://www.michigan.gov/

Audio Pending...

The Michigan legislature is in the eleventh hour of this year’s lame duck session. This week, legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Snyder have been meeting more often to try to hammer out a measure for road and bridge funding in the state. A couple meetings were held yesterday, and the Governor expressed concern over how little time remains. The 2014 session is scheduled to conclude tomorrow.

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Politics & Government
11:18 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Breaking down Michigan's competing road funding plans

The clock is counting down on the lame duck legislature at the state Capitol. Tomorrow is the last full day of the session. Lawmakers are facing a hard deadline to reach a deal to raise more than a billion dollars each year in new revenue to fix Michigan’s deteriorating roads.

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Politics & Government
11:34 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Michigan AG office warns of holiday charity scams

The Michigan Attorney General's office investigates reports of unsolicited phone calls from people claiming to represent charitable organizations.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

We’re halfway through December, and you’ve probably noticed retailers aren’t the only people competing for your cold, hard cash. ‘Tis the season for charitable organizations to ramp up their efforts to solicit donations. Most groups out there do represent worthy causes, but the holidays also tend to bring out the less-than-legitimate actors hoping to pull off the perfect scam.

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Politics & Government
12:20 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Rep. Singh updates Michigan's lame duck session

Sam Singh (D-East Lansing)
Credit Courtesy of Rep. Sam Singh

The Michigan legislature is in the middle of an eventful lame duck session. Efforts are in high gear to hammer out a road and bridge funding measure before the session wraps next Thursday, but many other important issues are also being debated.

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Politics & Government
11:29 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Amid funding uncertainty, MDOT plans for the future

Credit Flickr - Doug Kerr

The Michigan Department of Transportation this month released its draft 2015-2019 Five-Year Transportation Program. MDOT will be taking public comment on the draft plan until January 5.

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Politics & Government
11:26 am
Thu December 11, 2014

EL officials push back against GOP plans limiting local control

East Lansing city manager George Lahanas
Credit http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/

This week, the Michigan legislature has caught the ire of some municipal leaders who fear the state may be overstepping its reach into local government. One Republican sponsored bill now headed to the House floor would ban local communities from entering into negotiations with developers over wages and  so-called “community benefits.”  The measure has evoked criticism from a number of Democratic civic officials.

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Politics & Government
11:10 am
Wed December 10, 2014

LPD chief, leading pastor address community's policing concerns

Union Missionary Baptist Church pastor Dr. Melvin T. Jones addresses the crowd gathered for a forum on community and police relations in Lansing.
Credit Kevin Lavery/WKAR

For weeks, the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers involved in their deaths have sparked sometimes violent protests across the country. The cases have even reached mid-Michigan.

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Politics & Government
11:18 am
Mon December 8, 2014

State, child welfare advocates spar over DHS oversight

Sara Bartosz is lead counsel for Children’s Rights.
Credit http://www.childrensrights.org/

After six years of federal oversight, Michigan is seeking to reclaim control of its child welfare system. The state came under supervision of federal monitors in 2008. That was after a 2006 class action lawsuit that alleged the Michigan Department of Human Services had failed to protect the safety and well-being of almost 19,000 children in state custody.

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Politics & Government
11:15 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Ingham County experiments with police body cameras

Recent police custody deaths have led to a call for more widespread usage of law enforcement body cameras.
Credit Flickr - West Midlands Police

The recent deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland have re-ignited the debate over whether police officers should be made to wear body cameras to record their interactions. Some law enforcement agencies around the country have been experimenting with the technology. Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is expected to announce next month that all city police will soon wear body cameras. In Ingham County, sheriff’s deputies working at the city jail are already trying them out.

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Politics & Government
12:10 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Bernstein hopes to bring "blind justice" to state's highest court

Richard Bernstein will become a Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court in January.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Last month, 40-year-old Richard Bernstein was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court. He’s widely known for his work with his father’s Michigan-based law firm. His brother and sister are also part of the Sam Bernstein team, and all are well known from the firm’s television advertising.

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Politics & Government
11:16 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Lawmakers take up roads, LGBT rights in lame duck

Credit Wikimedia Commons

How many times have you heard the words “lame duck” in the last few weeks? You have a little while longer to be tired of the term. The Michigan Legislature’s lame duck session lasts for just over two more weeks.

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Politics & Government
12:00 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Jobs, roads top concerns in post-election poll

Jeff Williams of Public Sector Consultants
Credit http://www.pscinc.com/

The 2014 election is in the rear view mirror, but its effects will certainly echo for years to come. After the last ballot was cast, some 600 Michigan voters were asked for their opinion on a number of statewide issues.

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Politics & Government
12:16 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Guatemalan family in EL contends with immigration confusion

Oscar Castaneda hopes his family can stay in Michigan, but he may be required to return to his native Guatemala.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

A family who has spent the last 15 years putting down roots in East Lansing is hoping to persuade U.S. authorities not to order them back to Central America. Oscar Castaneda is a native of Guatemala. He traces his predicament to likely bureaucratic errors dating back to the mid 1990's.

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Politics & Government
10:54 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Month in Review: November's biggest news stories | WKAR

Credit Flickr - lehooper

A mid-term election with a challenging post-mortem for state Democrats, a highly anticipated lame duck legislative session, and a new direction for Detroit and many of Michigan’s undocumented immigrants. All of those developments made news in November here in Michigan.

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TV Made in Michigan
1:17 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Off the Record | November 28, 2014 | #4423

Senator Carl Levin, appearing on Off the Record with Tim Skubick.
Credit WKAR

Sunday, November 30 - 12:30pm WKAR-HD | This week senior capitol correspondent Tim Skubick welcomes the senior U.S. Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin. WATCH IT HERE NOW

This week senior capitol correspondent Tim Skubick welcomes the senior U.S. Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin. On the eve of his retirement, Sen. Levin discusses what sparked his interest in politics, lessons learned from nearly four decades in the Senate, his post-Senate plans and much, much more.

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Politics & Government
11:04 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Iraq war vet Tom Barrett prepares to serve in the House

Tom Barrett (R) will represent Eaton County in the state House next year.
Credit http://tomformichigan.com/

Eaton County voters have chosen a different state Representative in four straight elections. Rick Jones won his last House term in 2008; fellow Republican Deb Shaughnessy won in 2010; she lost her re-election bid in 2012 to Democrat Theresa Abed; and a few weeks ago, Abed lost her shot at another term to Republican Tom Barrett of Potterville.

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Politics & Government
11:36 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Incoming MI Senate leader downplays electoral reform, religious freedom measure

Sen. Arlan Meekhof
Credit WKAR/Bill Richards

The Michigan legislative session beginning in January will include new leadership in the Senate and the House for both parties. Republican Arlan Meekhof will succeed Randy Richardville as Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader.

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Politics & Government
11:39 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Transgender community fights for Elliot-Larsen protections

Rep. Adam Zemke (left) and Amy Hunter
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Discussions continue at the State Capitol over whether to expand protections offered by Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen anti-discrimination law. That’s the landmark 1976 measure which legally bans discrimination in the state based on religion, race, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial and marital status. Several factions have emerged. Democrats and some Republicans appear to be united behind an expansion that would protect lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender persons. Other Republicans favor a measure that would not include trans persons, but include the others.

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Politics & Government
11:38 am
Fri November 14, 2014

New laws will add teeth to MI human trafficking enforcement

Activists refer to human trafficking as “modern day slavery,” wherein people, often young and often female, are subjected into work, prostitution or other dehumanizing behavior. Michigan will be strengthening efforts to combat human trafficking in 2015. Twenty-one new laws are scheduled to take effect on January first.

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Politics & Government
10:55 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Ex-CIA official talks Turkey, Arab Spring at MSU

Graham E. Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, a former senior political scientist at RAND, and a current adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University. He is the author of the new book, "Turkey and the Arab Spring: Leadership in the Middle East".

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Politics & Government
1:03 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Ingham's Curtis Hertel Jr. discusses election, new legislative role

Senator-elect Curtis Hertel Jr.
Credit http://www.hertelforsenate.com/

In about eight weeks, a crop of new Michigan legislators will be sworn in.  One of them, Democrat Curtis Hertel Jr., cruised to victory in Michigan's 23rd Senate district, which is nearly coniguous with Ingham County.  Hertel currently serves as the County Register of Deeds. He will succeed Gretchen Whitmer, who is term limited.

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Politics & Government
11:33 am
Thu November 6, 2014

ELECTION 2014: Congressman-elect Mike Bishop on 8th district victory

Congressman-elect Mike Bishop
Credit http://www.electmikebishop.com/

Tuesday evening, Lansing and East Lansing residents learned who their next U.S. Congressman would be. Former Republican State Senator Mike Bishop will become part of a GOP majority Congress in January.

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Politics & Government
11:34 am
Wed November 5, 2014

ELECTION 2014: Ballenger recaps Snyder, Peters victories

Cong. Gary Peters declares victory in Michigan's U.S. Senate race in front of hundreds of Democratic supporters in Detroit on Tuesday.
Credit Jake Neher/MPRN

With some exceptions, Michigan Republicans have reason to celebrate the 2014 mid-term election. Several major statewide offices, as polls ususally suggested, went to GOP incumbents including Governor Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. But Democrats are celebrating the election of Congressman Gary Peters to the U.S. Senate and a victory on Michigan’s conservative leaning Supreme Court.

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Politics & Government
11:28 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Clerks Byrum, Swope offer Election Day how-to

Months of campaign rhetoric come to a finale tomorrow, when  Michiganders will have their say at the polls. More than 4.7-million residents voted in the 2012 presidential election. This year’s contest is almost sure to draw fewer voters than two years ago.

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Politics & Government
11:27 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Month in Review: October's biggest news stories | WKAR

Credit Flickr - lehooper

The end of the month is here. Many of us in the media put Michigan’s mid-term election front and center during October. In four days, voters will finally decide who will be Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State as well as who will succeed Michigan’s Carl Levin in the U.S. Senate and dozens of elected representatives at the state capitol.

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Politics & Government
11:14 am
Thu October 30, 2014

ELECTION 2014: Running as a third-party candidate

Terry Link is a Green Party candidate for the MSU Board of Trustees.
Credit http://gogreengolink.org/

Five days before a mid-term election, the media is full of political news involving  candidates, Democratic and Republican. In reality of course, the political landscape is more diverse. On Tuesday, Michigan voters will, for example, face at least five choices for Governor, including little known candidates from the Libertarian, Green and U.S. Taxpayers parties.

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Politics & Government
2:27 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

ELECTION 2014: 8th district Congressional candidate Republican Mike Bishop

Former state Senate majority leader Mike Bishop (R) hopes to replace Mike Rogers in Congress.
Credit www.electmikebishop.com/

Next Tuesday, Ingham county voters will help determine who will represent them in the U.S. Congress. Today and tomorrow, Current State visits with both of the major party candidates. Many observers favor Republican Mike Bishop to win in the 8th district, which comprises Ingham, Livingston and northern Oakland counties.

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