Politics & Government

Politics & Government
12:17 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Without revisions, Sen. Peters a ‘no’ on Trans Pacific Partnership

Credit Jake Neher/MPRN

Democratic Michigan Sen. Gary Peters has gotten behind legislation that would address two very different national issues: criminal justice and student debt. Monday, on a visit to Detroit, the state’s junior senator called for a “top to bottom” review of the U.S. criminal justice system by creating a National Criminal Justice Commission. And last week, Peters introduced the Federal Adjustment in Reporting (FAIR) Student Credit Act. It would help private student loan borrowers rehabilitate defaulted loans.

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Politics & Government
11:54 am
Thu May 21, 2015

MI energy czar hopeful over renewables, efficiency

Valerie Brader
Credit Courtesy MSU Today

Earlier this week, Valerie Brader, an attorney and former senior policy adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder, assumed her role as executive director of the new Michigan Agency for Energy. Brader will be the top energy adviser to Snyder and state department leaders. Snyder created the agency by executive order in March after setting it as a priority in January’s State of the State address.

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Politics & Government
11:40 am
Wed May 20, 2015

MI film commissioner discusses filmmaker incentives, new strategic plan

Michigan Film Commissioner Jenell Leonard.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

State lawmakers are again looking for ways to pay for road repairs in Michigan, and that means subsidies for the film industry are again being targeted. That has amounted to $50-million a year in recent years. 

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Politics & Government
12:59 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Rep Singh: GOP, Dem leaders should confer on roads

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

It’s a busy time under the dome in Lansing these days. Just two weeks after the historic defeat of a road funding proposal that would have altered the Michigan Constitution, House Democrats and Republicans are offering competing alternatives. The GOP plan would shift revenue to a transportation fund by various means, including siphoning funds from tribal casino revenues and eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit. Meanwhile, Democrats propose raising the gas tax by 15 cents per gallon over the next three years.

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Politics & Government
12:02 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

MI Senate sends prevailing wage repeal to House

State Sen. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) chairs the committee that sent the prevailing wage repeal to the full Senate.
Credit http://www.senatormikeshirkey.com/

People who build schools and other public infrastructure projects in Michigan might soon see a lighter paycheck. Yesterday, the Michigan Senate voted to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law. That provision mandates that wages paid in state government contracts are based on collective bargain agreements.

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Politics & Government
1:06 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Anuzis cruises into Cruz campaign

Credit Flickr - Gage Skidmore

Eighteen months away from the 2016 presidential election, two Democrats and six Republicans have formally thrown their hat into the ring. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the first Republican to announce his candidacy. Cruz is the son of Cuban immigrants who before his congressional career was the longest-serving Solicitor General in Texas history.

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Politics & Government
4:25 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Senator Smith Arraigned On Three Felony Charges

Michigan Senate voting board lists Senator Virgil Smith (D-Detroit) as absent.
Credit mprn jake neher

State Senator Virgil Smith has been charged with multiple gun and assault felonies.

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Politics & Government
12:14 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Lansing City Council green-lights BWL audit

Lansing city council member at-large Carol Wood
Credit WKAR Photo

After a marathon session, the Lansing City Council last night approved Mayor Virg Bernero’s proposed 2015-16 budget, but it was not a complete victory for the mayor. The council also rejected his plan to create a new layer of oversight to regulate the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Bernero proposed establishing the position of inspector general to review the BWL’s procedures to ensure greater accountability, but after hours of debate and several failed attempts to pass amendments, the city council instead decided to fund an audit of the BWL by an independent agency.

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Politics & Government
4:15 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Snyder Skeptical Of House Speaker’s Road Funding Ideas

Governor Rick Snyder appears to be skeptical of the state House leader’s road funding ideas.

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Politics & Government
4:12 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Senator Virgil Smith Remains In Police Custody

State Senator Virgil Smith is expected to be a no-show when the Senate gavels into session Tuesday.

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Politics & Government
12:20 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

New EL council member calls for different approach to city development

East Lansing city council member Ruth Beier
Credit http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/

Economist Ruth Beier became a member of the East Lansing City Council in January. She says she grew tired of attending council meetings, complaining and getting nowhere, so she decided to run for office. Beier says it’s time for East Lansing to do things differently. Mainly, she says, it needs to shift more attention and resources away from the city’s commercial downtown to its neighborhoods.

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Politics & Government
5:10 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Democrats Hint At Income Tax Ballot Drive In 2016

Credit ahproconsulting.com

Some Democrats are hinting a ballot campaign could be in the works to make Michigan a graduated income tax state.

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Politics & Government
11:55 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Aerial photography guides MI surveyors, first responders

We’ve all whiled away a few idle minutes here and there lost in fascination over aerial imagery online. It’s fascinating to be able to zoom in on your own house and then drag your mouse to the other side of the world on your screen and scan some exotic country. There are many practical applications for digital aerial photos, of course. In Michigan, state officials have recently wrapped up an annual mission to photograph 12,000 square miles of the state.

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Politics & Government
4:42 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Lawmakers Say Wrongly Convicted Deserve $60K For Every Year

Credit imgarcade.com

People who were wrongfully convicted would be entitled to $60 thousand for each year they spent in prison under legislation unveiled Thursday at the state Capitol.

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Politics & Government
3:16 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

State Senate To Consider Prevailing Wage Repeal Next Week

Credit senatorarlanmeekhof.com

Bills to ban prevailing wage requirements in Michigan could move through the state Senate next week.

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher reports.

The state and many communities require that workers on publicly-funded construction projects get union-level pay and benefits. The bills would repeal those laws.

Amber McCann is a spokesperson for state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof. She says the legislation is one of his top priorities.

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Politics & Government
11:44 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Analyst: re-shuffling existing state revenue to fix roads will be politically challenging

Gov. Snyder campaigned extensively for passage of Proposal 1. Voter rejection means he and state lawmakers must start over in finding a way to pay for road repairs.
Credit Jake Neher/MPRN

Last night, months of impassioned rhetoric, TV spots and old fashioned stumping came to an abrupt end. Michigan voters soundly defeated Proposal 1, the constitutional amendment designed to fund repairs to the state’s faltering roads. The proposal would have increased the state sales tax by one percent, while also sending money to schools and local governments.

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Politics & Government
5:39 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

State Senate Approves $54 Billion Budget With Dems Opposed

Credit wand.org

A $54 billion plan to fund schools and state agencies has cleared the state Senate.

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Politics & Government
5:42 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Voters To Decide Fate Of Proposal One And Road Funding

Credit middleoftheleft.com

Governor Rick Snyder spent the last day before Election Day campaigning for Proposal One.

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Politics & Government
4:40 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Flock To Michigan

Credit thefederalist.com

Michigan is seeing an influx of GOP presidential hopefuls.

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Politics & Government
3:46 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Court: Utility Has To Justify Smart Meter Fee

Credit mlive.com

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ordered a state utility board to take another look at “smart meters” and how much utilities can charge customers who don’t want to use them.

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Politics & Government
12:02 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Prop 1 foe: look for MI road dollars elsewhere

Paul Mitchell is leading the fight to defeat Proposal 1 next Tuesday.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

In four days, Michigan voters will decide whether or not to increase the state sales tax by one cent on the dollar. Proposal 1 would raise just over $1.2-billion which would, in a couple of years, be spent on road and bridge improvements. But the measure also earmarks about $800-million for areas including education, municipalities and help for some low income Michigan residents.

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Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Threat Of Marijuana Legalization May Help Medical Pot Bills Pass

Credit nypost.com

Bills to expand access to medical marijuana in Michigan may be benefiting from efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016.

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Politics & Government
11:48 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Month in Review: Auto no-fault reform, Proposal 1, gay marriage

Credit File photo / WKAR

Auto-no fault insurance reform, a U.S. Supreme Court hearing for Michigan’s same sex marriage ban and critical budget discussions were among the top  political news stories in our state in April.

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Politics & Government
11:38 am
Thu April 30, 2015

EL voters face proposals on marijuana, city property sales

East Lansing mayor Nathan Triplett (center) and attorney Jeff Hank (right) talk with Current State host Mark Bashore.
Credit Scott Pohl/WKAR

Along with Proposal 1 to increase the state sales tax to fund road repairs going before voters in Michigan next Tuesday, East Lansing is presenting a couple of proposals to voters. One would allow for the use, possession and transfer of up to one ounce of marijuana on private property by people over the age of 21. The other would amend the city charter to allow for the sale of certain city properties with the approval of a simple majority of voters rather than the current requirement of approval by three-fifths of votes cast.

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Politics & Government
4:41 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Governor Declares Flint’s Financial Emergency Over

Credit buickturboregal.com

Governor Rick Snyder has lifted the city of Flint’s financial emergency.

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Politics & Government
2:27 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Snyder renews Opposition To Open Carry In Schools As Pro-Gun Activists Rally At Capitol

Credit mprn jake neher

Governor Rick Snyder is renewing his support for banning openly carrying firearms in Michigan schools.

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Politics & Government
11:37 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Proposed MI no-fault reforms generate heated debate

Credit Flickr - Ray Dumas

Michigan legislators are in a pitched and partisan battle over proposed reforms to the state’s auto no-fault insurance system. Mainly Republican reformers are intent on lowering the state’s sky-high car insurance premiums by imposing cost controls on catastrophic accident claims. Mainly Democratic opponents say the move threatens a strong system that may be the best in the nation. Many allege it’s a money grab by the insurance industry and their allies in the legislature.

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Politics & Government
5:42 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Both Sides Say Victory Within Their Grasp In SCOTUS Marriage Case

Credit getreligion.org

Michigan is now waiting for the US Supreme Court to make its decision on same-sex marriage bans.

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Politics & Government
11:47 am
Tue April 28, 2015

Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban reaches the U.S. Supreme Court

MPRN's Rick Pluta is at the U.S. Supreme Court to cover arguments in Michigan's landmark gay marriage case.
Credit Courtesy Rick Pluta

The day millions of Americans have been waiting for is finally here. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a series of cases focusing on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. Thirty-six states currently allow the practice. Michigan is not one of them. Michigan joins three other states in defending their bans.

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Politics & Government
12:27 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Lead Prop 1 campaigner: measure not a special interest grab

The months-long discussion about whether to raise Michigan's sales tax by a penny is nearing an end. Voters will decide the issue next Tuesday. According to Michigan’s ‘Citizens Research Council,” the measure would eventually generate about an additional $1.3-billion to be spent on the state’s roads and bridges. It creates a new formula for assessing the state’s gas tax, which would be tied to the wholesale price of gasoline. At current prices, it would go up about 10 cents per gallon. Whatever the increase, it would be lessened somewhat by the removal of sales tax from gasoline.

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