government

The governor has a stack of bills aimed at combating the opioid crisis headed to his desk. Lawmakers in the House and Senate passed bipartisan legislation Wednesday. A major goal is limiting the amount of opioids available to people who don’t need them.

Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren) sponsored a bill in the package. That bill is aimed at curbing “doctor shopping.” It would require patients have a bona-fide relationship with a doctor who prescribes an opiate.

Democratic lawmakers are trying once again to repeal the state’s “Right to Work” law.
 
Five years ago, a Republican-led Legislature made Right to Work the law of the state. It prohibits contracts that make union membership a condition of employment.
 
Democrats say letting people opt out of unions gives them a free ride to the benefits of the union.
 
Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-Taylor) is a bill sponsor. He said strong unions are important to Michigan, but Right to Work diminishes the power of unions and reduces the number of members.

Since John Conyers resigned Tuesday from his 13th District Congressional seat, which he held for 53 years, the race is shaping up to replace him.

Zach Gorchow, editor of Gongwer News Service, and Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s Lansing bureau chief, joined Stateside to discuss who’s lining up to succeed the former dean of the House.

Macomb County Commissioners are turning to a rather obscure state law to help them get the county clerk's office back on track, and possibly remove County Clerk Karen Spranger.

The commissioners hope this state law will force Spranger to answer questions about the way she's running her office, and about the many problems that have piled up since the Republican clerk took office in January.

Macomb County Commissioner Leon Drolet joined Stateside today to give us the latest.

Michigan’s 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level is set to expire next year. But a bill is on its way to the governor’s desk to prevent that.

Once in a while the state’s BAC level essentially expires. The law has a built in sunset that requires the Legislature to look at the level and consider changing it. But bill sponsor Klint Kesto (R-Walled Lake) says the current level is good for Michigan and it needs to stay.

“I think it’s good for public safety, I think it’s good for road safety, and I think it’s good for the safety of all our Michigan families out there,” he said.

The ranking Democrat on the US House Oversight Committee wants to subpoena Governor Rick Snyder. Rep. Elijah Cummins (D-MD) says the governor has not been forthcoming about when he first knew about a fatal outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in Genesee County.

From Cummins’ letter to committee chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC):

Another Democrat entered the ring for Michigan’s Attorney General Thursday.

Pat Miles is a former US Attorney for Michigan’s Western District. He was appointed to the US Attorney post by President Barack Obama. He voluntarily resigned when President Donald Trump took office.

Trump’s election was a driving force behind Miles’s decision to run, he said.

“We need somebody who will be an independent watchdog and who doesn’t answer to a president, a governor, or to corporate special interests, but only answers to the people,” Miles said.

Gretchen Whitmer is one of the most well-known candidates among the Democrats who are vying to become Michigan’s next governor.

The former state Senate minority leader is viewed by many as a front-runner in the race.

Now James Blanchard, former Michigan governor, is endorsing Whitmer as his choice for the position.

Several ballot proposals for Michigan’s 2018 election crossed a hurdle Thursday.

The Board of State Canvassers approved the form of proposals on earned sick time, marijuana legalization and redistricting.

That doesn’t mean the board guarantees the content of the ballots will hold up against lawsuits. But it makes sure the campaign won’t succumb to a challenge in front of the board on technical issues after they gather signatures.

Governor Rick Snyder has signed into law controversial changes to the state’s public school employee retirement system.

Starting in February of 2018, new teachers will get a new choice about their retirement savings. They’ll automatically be put into a straight 401(k) plan. But they can enroll in a hybrid plan if they want. That hybrid plan also includes a pension, but it’s more expensive for the teacher.

Senator Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair) says 401(k) plans are the way of the future.

State lawmakers passed legislation to give big tax incentives to a handful of large employers Wednesday.

The bills would let approved companies keep all or part of the state income taxes withheld from their employees’ paychecks. The companies would have to meet job-creation targets and pay their workers average or above-average wages.

Governor Rick Snyder advocated strongly for the bills, but some members of his own party were not on board. Representative Martin Howrylak (R-Troy) opposed the bills. He said the incentives take from taxpayers and give to wealthy businesses.

The state House meets Wednesday and Governor Rick Snyder hopes they will vote on a controversial set of business tax breaks.

Governor Snyder is trying to salvage a business tax incentive deal that he says could mean thousands of jobs for Michigan. He met Tuesday with state House Speaker Tom Leonard and several other Republican House members.

A group of 13 Republican Senators continues to work in secrecy, writing a bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans will see a "discussion draft" of the bill tomorrow.

Their goal? A vote a week from tomorrow, on June 29.

A group marched on Governor Rick Snyder’s office Tuesday to call for faster work fixing Flint’s water system.        

About 50 demonstrators delivered more than 1,100 empty water bottles with messages from Flint residents curled inside.

The state is hammering out its budget. And lawmakers are having a sharp disagreement with the governor’s office over one of Michigan’s biggest price tags – the corrections budget. Both sides agree rehabilitation and lowering recidivism is the way to go. But they can’t agree on how much money to spend this year.

At stake are programs – like the Vocational Village in Ionia – that have helped lower the state’s incarceration rate.

Some Democrats in the Legislature are calling for a law that would allow authorities to seize the firearms of people who threaten to commit suicide or hurt others.

State Representative Robert Wittenberg (D- Oak Park) sponsored a bill that would allow a judge to issue an “extreme risk protection order.” The order would have to requested by a family member or a law enforcement official. And it could last no more than a year.

Donations rise while legislation passes

Jun 1, 2017

Some businesses are set to get millions of dollars in tax incentives -- if Governor Snyder signs a package of bills.

Around the time those bills were going through the legislature, business groups were giving big political action committee donations to some key lawmakers.

Only a handful of Republicans and three Democrats voted against the bills in the House this year. Republican Representative Steve Johnson was one of them.

Johnson says there were lobbyists at the Capitol every day talking to members about the bills.

Lawmakers across the United States, both Republicans and Democrats have been reacting to President Trump’s White House budget proposal released Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D- Royal Oak,  has served in the House since 1983. He calls the cuts "extreme" and "based on false assumptions."

A showdown is brewing in Lansing over the fate of teacher retirements. 

Teachers can currently choose between a full 401(k) type plan or a hybrid 401(k) and pension plan.

Many Democrats, like Senator David Knezek oppose the legislation.

In Michigan, the news report Inside Michigan Politics ranks the most conservative and the most liberal members of the state legislators. Among conservatives, ranking among the most conservative lawmakers is “branding.” It’s going to be on campaign literature.

For the second year, there's another ranking for most conservative legislators in Michigan. It's put out by the national group American Conservative Union.

Congressman Dan Kildee, who many expected to run for governor, said he won't enter the race. He’s going to run for another term in Congress instead.

That leaves former senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer and former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed as candidates on the Democratic side.

Governor Rick Snyder has chosen the newest member of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Judge Kurtis Wilder is the first of a couple appointments Governor Snyder has to make in the coming weeks. He will replace Justice Robert Young who retired from the court in April to return to his former law firm, Dickenson Wright.

Wilder is a former Chief Judge of the Washtenaw County Trial Court. He currently serves on the state Court of Appeals.

Governor Snyder said Wilder has already done great work to help the state.

Cheyna Roth of MPRN

Democrats in Lansing have renewed their mission for a Voter Bill of Rights.

Democrats in the state House attempted to pass a resolution to amend the Michigan Constitution last year. This time, State Representative Jon Hoadley is spearheading the effort.

President Donald Trump talks a lot about "renegotiating" NAFTA.

There are few places that would feel the fallout from changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) more than Michigan and Ontario.

What happens when a city can't keep its promises to retirees?

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