politics and government

Politics & Government
12:02 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Sen. Stabenow on vaccinations, Homeland Security impasse

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
Credit WKAR File Photo

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow marks a memorable one-year anniversary this Saturday. On February 7 of last year, Stabenow escorted President Obama to East Lansing, where he signed the 2014 Farm Bill.

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Politics & Government
11:45 am
Fri February 6, 2015

Rep. John Lewis talks civil rights at MSU

Cong. John Lewis visited MSU in August. He speaks on campus again today as part of the "Slavery to Freedom" lecture series.
Credit WKAR/Kevin Lavery

This month, Michigan State University is reflecting on a landmark moment in its 16-decade history. On February 11, 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior came to campus to launch a fundraising drive for a program that would send volunteers on an educational outreach mission to Mississippi. During that speech, Dr. King called for what would later become the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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Politics & Government
11:16 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Month in Review: January's biggest news stories

Current State host Mark Bashore with (front to back) Mickey Hirten, Tim Skubick and Kathleen Grey prepare for our Month in Review discussion for January.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

With months to go before the vote, the fate of Michigan’s one cent sales tax hike has been leading the news throughout January.

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Politics & Government
11:39 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Schertzings recall challenges, rewards of congressional campaign

Eric Schertzing ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2014.
Credit WKAR File Photo

On Monday, East Lansing’s Eric and Nancy Schertzing spoke with Current State to look back on an unforgettable year. 2014 was the year Eric Schertzing decided to pursue a dream:  to represent Lansing and East Lansing in the U.S. Congress. The effort failed. The Democrat lost November’s general election to Republican Mike Bishop, who, today, represents Michigan’s 8th District. Despite the loss, both described the experience of running as an unforgettable honor. Schertzing is again focused on his responsibilities as Ingham County Treasurer and Executive Director of the Ingham County Land Bank. Today, Current State host Mark Bashore talks with Eric and Nancy Schertzing for the second part of their conversation.

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Politics & Government
11:30 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Bernero to unveil BWL plans, responds to early criticism

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Tomorrow evening at Lansing Community College, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero makes his tenth State of the City address. In the speech, which has the theme "Lansing 3.0", the Mayor will review developments of the past year and share his agenda for 2015.

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Politics & Government
1:29 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Schertzings balanced public, private life during congressional bid

Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing launched an unsuccessful bid for Michigan's 8th Congressional District last fall.
Credit WKAR File Photo

For 14 years, Ingham County residents have known Eric Schertzing as the county Treasurer, and more recently, Director of the Ingham County Land Bank.  Last year, they assessed him in a different light: as a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress.  

The issues and the stakes expanded, as the 52-year old Stockbridge native pursued the soon to be vacant seat in Congress held since 2001 by Republican Mike Rogers.

Schertzing lost to his Republican opponent, Mike Bishop.  

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Politics & Government
11:53 am
Fri January 23, 2015

State workers' union wary of department merger

Ray Holman is legislative liaison for UAW Local 6000.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Snyder’s call for improvements in the delivery of state services included the merging of two, large and important state agencies. Snyder says the Departments of Human Services and Community Health need to become more “people-centric” and less “program centric.” He says that resulting efficiencies will improve services to state residents and, with other reforms, create a "River of Opportunity".

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Politics & Government
11:36 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Ingham Sheriff's job: a family affair?

Scott Wrigglesworth (center) and Gene Wrigglesworth (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Gene Wrigglesworth has worn a policeman’s badge for almost 50 years. For more than half that time, he’s served as the Ingham County Sheriff. But in 2016, an era in the county’s history will come to an end. This week, he announced that he will not seek re-election.

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Politics & Government
11:29 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Senators Jones, Ananich respond to State of the State address

Sen. Rick Jones (center) and Sen. Jim Ananich (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

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.

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Politics & Government
12:02 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

MI survey: Snyder's numbers higher than Obama's

Charley Ballard (right), with Current State host Mark Bashore
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Recently, Michigan has been through a Gubernatorial campaign, an election, a lame duck legislative session and an inauguration. And Governor Snyder delivers his annual State of the State address this evening. Amid all this political activity, what do Michiganians think of their top elected officials?

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Politics & Government
11:29 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Sen. Peters assesses unfolding congressional agenda

Sen. Gary Peters (left) with Current State host Mark Bashore
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Two weeks ago, Democrat Gary Peters had the honor of replacing Michigan Senator Carl Levin in the U.S. Senate. Peters had already served five years in the U.S. House representing parts of southeast Michigan. Mr. Levin had just wrapped up a 35-year career.

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Politics & Government
11:57 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Rep. Schor praises Snyder bill signings, vetoes

Rep. Andy Schor (D)
Credit http://068.housedems.com/

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.”

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Politics & Government
11:36 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Ingham Board Chair McGrain assesses 2015 agenda

Brian McGrain chairs the Ingham County Board of Commissioners.

Last November, Ingham county voters resoundingly approved two millage proposals. The new Board of Commissioners will be turning its attention to those soon, as it launches its  2015 session. One will expand the county’s network of trails. The other will maintain the Ingham County Health Plan, which provides medical care coverage for the county’s neediest residents.

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Politics & Government
11:58 am
Wed January 14, 2015

BWL commissioner explains Lark ouster

BWL commissioner Dennis Louney (right) with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

More than a year after he came under fire for his utility’s heavily criticized response to widespread ice storm outages, Peter Lark has been dismissed as General Manager of the Lansing Board of Water and Light. In a 5-to-3 vote, the board that oversees the city-owned utility voted to fire Lark with cause. The motion also named former BWL manager Dick Pefley as interim GM.

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Politics & Government
11:48 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Cong. Bishop on Keystone XL, immigration

Cong. Mike Bishop (R) represents Michigan's 8th district.
Credit www.electmikebishop.com

For just over a week, Mike Bishop has served as the new U.S. Congressman representing Lansing and East Lansing. Bishop takes his seat at the Capitol amid a wave of confidence for Republicans in Washington. For the first time since 2007, the GOP enjoys a majority in the Senate as well as the House. That’s obviously changing the political dynamic in the nation’s capital.

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Politics & Government
12:17 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

New House Speaker Cotter weighs MI tax options

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant)
Credit http://gophouse.org/representatives/central/cotter/

What is ahead for Michigan in 2015? An income tax cut? A sales tax hike? Could elected officials move to repeal the state’s prevailing wage provisions? All are possible. A clearer picture will begin to emerge Wednesday when the 2015 Michigan legislature convenes.

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Politics & Government
12:06 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Sales tax foe says funding already there for MI roads fix

Keith Allard
Credit WKAR

On today's show, we heard briefly from Keith Allard of the recently formed group, "Protect MI Taxpayers." Allard is also Chairman of the Grand Rapids Taxpayers Association and a recent unsuccessful candidate for the state legislature. His group is launching a campaign urging voters to defeat the call to increase the state sales tax by a cent. Michigan voters will decide that issue on May 5.

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Politics & Government
11:16 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Child advocate wary of suspicion-based drug testing

Gilda Jacobs, with Current State host Mark Bashore
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

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.

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Politics & Government
12:12 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Dem insiders anticipate new legislative priorities, sales tax vote

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?

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StayTuned Update
7:45 am
Wed December 31, 2014

2015 Coverage of Your Government Begins 
with Inauguration Ceremony

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

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Politics & Government
10:08 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Carl Levin on Senate career and life: "I'm a lucky guy"

Carl Levin (D) has served Michigan in the U.S. Senate since 1979. He leaves office at the end of the month.
Credit http://www.levin.senate.gov/

Last month, WKAR-TV capitol correspondent and "Off The Record" host Tim Skubick welcomed 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 more.

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Politics & Government
11:46 am
Mon December 22, 2014

SCOTUS case gives juvenile lifers new hope for release

Credit Flickr - Chris Miller

Michigan has the second highest number of juvenile lifers in the U.S. Those are people who were sentenced to life in prison without parole before they turned 18. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sentencing laws mandating life without parole for juvenile offenders amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. Michigan was one of a few states not to apply that ruling retroactively. But now, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court could determine whether those juvenile lifers sentenced before 2012 will get a shot at release.

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Politics & Government
11:37 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Justice Michael Cavanagh reflects on 32 years on MI Supreme Court

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael Cavanaugh
Credit http://courts.mi.gov/courts/

When 2014 comes to a close, so too will an era in Michigan’s judicial system. On New Year’s Day, Justice Michael Cavanagh will retire after 32 years on the Michigan Supreme Court. Only one other person in history has served longer on the state’s highest court, and not by much longer.

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Politics & Government
11:38 am
Fri December 19, 2014

After marathon session, Rep. Greimel analyzes road funding compromise

House Democratic leader Tim Greimel
Credit http://029.housedems.com/

Early this morning, Michigan’s 2014 legislative session concluded dramatically. The state legislature will be sending a proposal to Governor Rick Snyder for a one-cent increase in the Michigan sales tax. The additional revenue would generate about $1.2-billion a year for road and bridge repair. Michigan voters will decide whether to implement the measure, possibly next May.

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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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