Politics & Government

Politics & Government
11:45 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Michigan stakeholders rely on non-partisan ‘Tax Outline’

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan recently released its Michigan Tax Outline, a report that summarizes tax data.
Credit Flickr - Ken Teegardin

There are 59 different taxes yielding nearly $40 billion in public revenue. That is a snapshot of current Michigan tax levies contained in a comprehensive new report. The money is used to pay for police and fire protection, Medicaid coverage, state employee salaries, schools, roads and lots more.

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Politics & Government
1:28 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

More freedom or less democracy? Sorting out ramifications of the McCutcheon ruling

The McCutcheon decision effectively raises the individual political donation limit from $117,000 to approximately $3.5 million.
Credit Flickr - marsmet462

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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Politics & Government
11:47 am
Mon April 7, 2014

The bumpy process of prioritizing road funding

Each spring, Michigan faces the problem of repairing roads damaged during the winter.
Credit Flickr - _chrisUK

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.

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Politics & Government
12:11 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

New Dem LG candidate outlines priorities

Mark Schauer describes Brown as 'a fighter' who 'knows how to lead.'
Credit 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.

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Politics & Government
12:56 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Enthusiasm for public service drives mayor in run for Rogers' seat

Barnett says he brings a unique perspective as a mayor 'who has seen what effective leadership can do and how it can deliver results.'
Credit 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. 

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Politics & Government
12:18 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Come trail away: State looks at adding trains system to Pure Michigan campaign

The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance works on more than 2,700 miles on trails in the state.
Credit 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.

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Politics & Government
12:39 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Congress probes GM recall effort

GM's new CEO Mary Barra was included in Fortune's list of the Most Powerful Women in Business in 2013. Today, she will be giving a testimony before a Senate Panel about GM ignition switch failures.
Credit 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.

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Politics & Government
12:10 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Month in Review: March's biggest news stories

Rep. Mike Rogers recently stated that he will not seek reelection come November.
Credit Flickr - CSIS | Center for Strategic & International Studies

At the end of every calendar month, Current State hosts its regular reporter roundtable to review the biggest stories of that month. Current State looked back at the drop out of a shoe-in, the unresolved gay marriage issue, the bumps facing road funding and the contest for Attorney General in Michigan.

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Politics & Government
11:59 am
Mon March 31, 2014

E-cigarettes present new options, problems for lawmakers, smokers

E-cigarettes are gaining popularity among smokers.
Credit Flickr - Terry Ozon

One of the issues being considered at the state capitol in recent weeks is the regulation of e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat up a liquified nicotine solution. That produces a vapor rather than the smoke from tobacco cigarettes. Users call this “vaping” as opposed to smoking.

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Politics & Government
12:24 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Who's next? Mike Rogers' departure triggers speculation among Dems, GOP

Ballenger says Cong. Rogers didn't seem to give much of a heads-up to members of his own party about his decision not to run for another term. The filing deadline to run for the seat is April 22nd.
Credit Flickr - CSIS | Center for Strategic & International Studies

Mike Rogers, U.S. representative of our 8th district in East Lansing, says he will not seek reelection after his term ends this year. He made the announcement official on a Detroit radio station, and said that he has been invited regularly to talk about national security issues on T.V. and radio.

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Politics & Government
12:58 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

'Storming the Hill' to stem veteran suicides

Iraq war veteran Nick Cook now works to help Michigan veterans with access to benefits and other resources.
Credit stormthehill.org


All this week, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been in Washington D.C. to lobby for legislation aimed at reducing the numbers of veteran suicides.

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Politics & Government
2:30 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Council Member Wood says Lansing budget should 'impact quality of life'

Once they receive the budget, the Lansing city council will compare their priorities and seek public for opinion before it is voted on.
Credit Flickr - matthileo


After close to 10 years in office, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero enjoyed a first last night:  The chance to submit a city budget plan with a surplus. Despite being slightly in the black for fiscal year 2015, Bernero describes his $18 million spending plan as conservative and cautious.

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Politics & Government
12:39 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Gay marriage in Michigan in legal limbo

Michigan's first marriage licenses to same-sex couples were issued this weekend in Ingham and several other counties.
Credit Flickr - Kelly Kline

The legal status of same-sex marriage here in Michigan was taken for quite the ride over the weekend. Late Friday afternoon, Federal District Judge Bernard Friedman declared Michigan’s 2004 ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. By Saturday afternoon, the clerks in four Michigan counties – Washtenaw, Muskegon, Oakland and Ingham – issued hundreds of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request to put the ruling on hold was granted by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That temporary hold lasts until Wednesday.

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Politics & Government
11:40 am
Fri March 21, 2014

A busy week at the Capitol: Sorting through scrap metal, EAA, balanced budget convention

Scrap metal plunder has ravaged quite a bit of Detroit and other cities.
Credit Flickr - Adam Cohn

The bill to expand the Education Achievement Authority narrowly passed, 56-54, in the House. It wasn’t looking good, but they made some changes that got enough votes.

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Politics & Government
1:53 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

GM under scrutiny after botched recall

CEO Mary Barra wants GM to be a company that is more transparent and reactive to consumers.
Credit Flickr - Matthew Yaktine

General Motors officials continue efforts to navigate the fallout from its delayed recall of 1.6-million vehicles with faulty ignition switches. The flaw, which has been linked to 31 crashes and 12 deaths, has been traced to vehicles made as long ago as 2001.

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Politics & Government
12:33 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Neighbors in Action: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

The Asset Independence Coalition assists people with local, state and federal taxes.
Credit Flickr - Phillip Taylor PT

It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today we feature two services from the Capital Area United Way: the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and their  2-1-1 support line.

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Politics & Government
1:46 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

From the capitol: wolf hunt, EAA, roads

Rick Pluta of MPRN says along with the ongoing battle over wolf hunting in Michigan, lawmakers are considering education and road repair funding proposals.
Credit Flickr - warriorwoman531

The controversy over wolf hunting continues in Michigan with new developments this week.

Last November and December, hunters killed 23 wolves in three parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. That was a little more than half the number allowed under the state's new wolf hunting rules. The wolf debate didn't end with the hunt, though.

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Politics & Government
1:40 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Law enforcement acclimates to pursuing drugged driving

Officer Wes Evans says recognizing and arresting those who are impaired by substances while driving will make our streets safer.
Credit Flickr - neoporcupine


Drunk driving has been a public safety problem for years across the United States. A similar and growing threat is that of drugged driving. Some new law enforcement programs are targeting people who get behind the wheel under the influence of various drugs, sometimes in combination with alcohol.

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Politics & Government
2:41 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

A closer look at investigation into MSU's handling of sexual assaults

    

On February 21, a campus-wide email was sent out by Paulette Granberry Russell, MSU’s Title IX Coordinator and director of its Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. In it, she stated that the university was “collaborating” with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. It was later revealed by local news outlets that MSU was in fact under a federal investigation for its policies and response to sexual assault claims.

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Politics & Government
1:05 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Congressman Kildee makes case for renewal of unemployment insurance

Rep. Dan Kildee says its insulting when Senators in Washington believe that those who are unemployed want to be in that position.
Credit Flickr - slightly everything


A deal to renew federal benefits for the country’s long-term unemployed continues to elude the U.S. Congress. However, supporters of the effort, which include Democrats and a growing number of Republicans, are hopeful of a breakthrough in the Senate this week. There, Senators are looking at two proposals, one from each party.

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Politics & Government
12:13 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

CMU professor from Lansing launches bid for Congress

CMU professor Susan Grettenberger is seeking the Democratic nomination to unseat incumbent Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Brighton).
Credit Susan Grettenberger for Congress

Another Democrat has announced her candidacy to represent Lansing and East Lansing in Congress.

Susan Grettenberger is the director of Central Michigan University's Social Work Program and an associate professor in the department.  In a news release about her candidacy last week, the Lansing resident discussed "a theme of economic populism and giving voice to everyday Americans."

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Politics & Government
1:06 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Breaking down the debate over juvenile lifers

The Michigan Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the fate of more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life with no chance of parole as juveniles.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments today on what should be done with more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life with no chance of parole as juveniles.  The Michigan case follows a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring life without parole sentences for minors violates the U.S. constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. 

Current State speaks with the Michigan Public Radio Network’s statehouse bureau chief, Rick Pluta.

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Politics & Government
1:06 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

New Prima Civitas chief seeks to enhance mission

Arnold Weinfeld is the new Prima Civitas CEO.
Credit Courtesy Prima Civitas

Since 2006, East Lansing's Prima Civitas has been a catalyst for economic and community development --initially in mid-Michigan and eventually across the state.  The non-profit brings together business owners, entrepreneurs and Michigan State University resources to spark economic growth.

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Politics & Government
11:53 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Program trains Michigan's aspiring political leaders

State Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan.
Credit WKAR/Joe Linstroth

The Michigan Political Leadership Program, or MPLP, is designed to promote diversity and dialogue in how our communities, our state, and our nation are run. It started in 1992 and is administered by the  Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University.

Every year, 24 people from across the state and across the political spectrum are chosen for the 10-month program. They develop skills to help them win elections, address the media and serve their constituents. The latest group has just started the program.

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Politics & Government
1:59 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Hurting while helping: Outside aid often undermines post-civil war democracy

Michael Colaresi researched 136 civil wars from 1936 to 2007 for his recent study, “With Friends Like These, Who Needs Democracy? The Effect of Transnational Support from Rivals on Post-Conflict Democratization.”
Credit Flickr - Vlad Archic

There’s probably never been a time in history when there wasn’t war and conflict going on somewhere in the world, but amid the Arab Spring and the situation between Russia and Ukraine, right now seems like an especially good time to talk to an expert on international conflict.

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Politics & Government
2:12 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Michigan Democrats elect new leader, Republicans stay the course

At their annual convention, held in Lansing this year, Michigan Republicans reelected Bobby Schostak as their leader.
Credit 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.        

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Politics & Government
4:07 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

New State Representative Tom Cochran Outlines 2013 agenda

Having been a House democrat for six weeks now, 67th District Representative Tom Cochran discusses what's going on in the Michigan Democratic party.
Credit 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.

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Politics & Government
3:57 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Local moms join national movement for 'sensible' gun control

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.

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Politics & Government
2:42 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Lansing teachers seek new contract before 'Right to Work' kicks in

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. 

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Politics & Government
3:39 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Clearing some haze around state's medical marijuana laws

Much is still unknown regarding Michigan's medical marijuana laws, including how to distribute the drug safely and legally.
Credit 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.

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