politics and government

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The U.S. Supreme Court last week came out with another controversial ruling on our nation’s campaign finance laws.

In the case McCutcheon versus the FEC, the Supreme Court struck down the limits on the overall amount of money an individual can give to all federal candidates and committees in a two-year election cycle.

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Last week, Michigan House Republicans proposed a new funding plan that would allocate nearly a half billion dollars each year through 2018 to repair the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. Fixing Michigan roads is a perennial problem each spring, and the situation is particularly dire after such a severe winter. Certainly, everyone wants their own neighborhood streets and highways repaired first. But transportation planners and engineers must rely on hard data to make decisions about which roads get fixed, and when.

Courtesy of Lisa Brown

Michigan's Democratic candidate for Governor, Mark Schauer, selected his running mate this week. To no one's surprise, Schauer selected Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown.

Before her election as Clerk, the West Bloomfield resident represented central Oakland County for two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives. Before that, she worked both as an attorney and realtor.

https://www.rochesterhills.org/

In fewer than 24-hours, the race for Michigan’s 8th Congressional District picked up two new candidates. Both are Oakland County Republicans. 

Flickr - Randen Pederson


The Pure Michigan brand has brought attention to the state’s lakes, breweries and museums. Some are hoping that the Pure Michigan designation may bring the same attention to the state’s trail systems. Recently, a five bill package was introduced to lawmakers that would promote a “Pure Michigan Trail Network.” The bill would solidify trail standards and connect trail ways with communities.

Courtesy of Fortune Live Media Flickr

General Motors has recalled 2.6-million vehicles for ignition switch failures, failures that are linked to at least 13 deaths. Considering the recent $1.2 billion dollar penalty levied against Toyota for that company’s problems related to sudden accelerations, dealing with the ignition switch problem could become very costly to the automaker.

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.

On December 15, the day after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, a stay-at-home mom in suburban Indianapolis founded One Million Moms for Gun Control.

Now called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in AmericaShannon Watts’ initial Facebook page has transformed into more than 80 chapters and hundreds of thousands of members nationwide. Their goal is to become the MADD equivalent for gun violence while advocating for “sensible” gun regulations.

In five weeks, Michigan’s so-called Right to Work law takes effect.  Some local Michigan teacher unions are working to lock in new contracts before then.  In some cases, it’s an effort to delay the impact of the controversial new law since it will not include contracts already in place by March 27, when it takes effect. 

Wikimedia Commons

There’s been significant movement at the state capitol regarding medical marijuana recently.  The week before last, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the state’s pot law does not allow dispensaries.  But late last week, State Representative Mike Callton of Nashville announced he’ll introduce a bill that would allow businesses to dispense cannabis.

Stuart Dunnings Jr. is Ingham County prosecutor and among the many legal officials and police who’ve been frustrated by the vagaries of Michigan’s medical marijuana law.  Robin Schneider is a Lansing resident and a legislative liaison for the National Patients’ Rights Association.  They both help clear some of the haze around Michigan's medical marijuana regulations.

President Obama called for an increase in the federal minimum wage this week in his State of the Union Address. Michigan legislative Democrats followed up with their own calls for an increase. Republicans at all levels say an increase would be a job-killer.

The Lansing city council is having an intense squabble involving technology and transparency.  Two unresolved issues appear to be at the heart of the dispute.  

First, did a city employee erase information from the city-issued laptop of council person Kathie Dunbar?  

Second, should a full council session involving “computer usage”-- presumably related to the incident -- have been closed to the public and the media?  

Courtesy of MSU

Joel Ferguson has been among Lansing’s most influential people in business, politics and community service for many years.  The founder and president of Ferguson Development is also active in Democratic party politics statewide and nationally.  And he currently serves as president of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees.

Governor Rick Snyder unveiled his fiscal year 2014 budget on Thursday.  The $50 billion spending plan calls for increases in education funding, as well as in health, public safety and other areas.  The administration also wants to hike gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to help pay for more than a billion dollars in road and infrastructure repairs.  

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