We've Got Issues

We've Got Issues follows the critical issues facing northern Michigan by tracking how policy and politics affect people. Join us Monday mornings at 6:44 and 8:44 a.m.

What issues do you care about? Tell us about what matters to you. Leave IPR a message at                   231-276-4441. Email us at gotissues@interlochen.org.

Joe Ross

Candidates for governor are on the campaign trail in Michigan. They’re raising money, giving speeches and trying to get support before the primary election next August.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is term-limited, so it’s an open seat race for the first time since 2010. 

A ballot initiative aims to change the way Michigan draws the boundaries of legislative districts following the census. 

Redistricting can have a big impact on the state’s politics by affecting the demographics of districts. Right now, state lawmakers are in charge of drawing the maps for state and congressional districts.

Hundreds of juveniles in Michigan have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Now they have a chance at freedom.

CREDIT STEVEN DEPOLO/FLICKR - HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/STEVENDEPOLO/5233546650

Swiss company Nestle has been criticized for its plan to take more water out of northern Michigan. Opponents say the company wants to take too much water from the area – and an increase in pumping will degrade streams and wetlands. But the company denies the allegations.

Peter Payette

The State of Michigan wants the federal government to postpone approval for development plans in Acme Township.

The dispute centers on 157 acres of land next to the Meijer store.

ANGELICA A. MORRISON

Lake Erie is a route for huge freighters carrying cargo to cities like Cleveland and Buffalo. Now a company wants to use the lake to transport another product: electricity.

It plans to run an underwater electrical cable from Canada to the U.S. That would be the first one to cross any of the Great Lakes.

Morgan Springer

It’s back to school Tuesday for most students in public schools in Michigan. 

The law requires that class begin after Labor Day, although some districts do have waivers from the state to start earlier. In fact, an increasing number of schools are requesting them. 

Conservation Resource Alliance

The Boardman River Dam is gone. The river is flowing freely through an area that used to be a pond. It’s the second of three dams to be removed in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar project to return the waterway to a more natural state.

Steven Depolo/Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/5233546650

Water has been a dominant topic in Michigan politics in recent years, from the Flint water crisis to the controversy over the oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.

There’s another water debate going on in northern Michigan. The Swiss company Nestle wants to boost the amount of water it pumps from a well in Osceola County, south of Cadillac. The water would be bottled under the company’s brand Ice Mountain. 

Local leaders and Native American groups are fiercely opposed to the increase, and the effort has been tied up at the state and local level. 

 


People with clipboards are prowling streets across Michigan these days. They’re on the hunt for signatures for ballot initiatives. The campaigns are also collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars for their efforts. 

NOAA

President Trump proposed ending a popular Great Lakes restoration program earlier this year. Michigan lawmakers from both parties criticized the idea. 

Now a U.S. House committee has released a bill that would keep federal dollars flowing to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for the next budget year. 

David Cassleman

State officials want hunters to shoot more deer in northeastern Lower Michigan – a lot more. Infected deer in this area spread a disease called bovine tuberculosis. It can kill cows, and it can be passed to people through unpasteurized milk.

Michigan Sheriffs' Association

Law enforcement officials in Michigan are talking about what President Trump’s immigration policies mean for them. 

The Trump administration has made a priority of deporting people living in the country illegally. Normally immigration enforcement is the job of the federal government – not local sheriffs. But sheriffs and local police departments do sometimes play a role in the process. 

David Cassleman

A group of Michigan lawmakers has introduced legislation in Washington, D.C. to authorize building a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie. 

Supporters of the project say a new lock is needed as a backup for the Poe Lock. 

David Cassleman

Hospitals in northern Michigan are bracing for the chance that fewer people will have health insurance in the future. One local hospital leader says that could lead to higher costs for everyone.

Aaron Selbig

Northern Michigan University professor Dwight Brady first came close to running for Congress in 2010. But the Upper Peninsula Democrat says he stepped aside when former state Rep. Gary McDowell entered the race.

Now, four elections later, Brady has decided to challenge Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) in Michigan’s 1st District.

Aaron Selbig

Tart cherry growers in northern Michigan are hoping the Trump administration can help them get a leg up in the juice market.

David Cassleman

Last November’s election was shocking for many progressives in northern Michigan. Democrats were expecting to do well in some races Up North. Instead, Republicans drubbed Democrats across Michigan and most of the country. 

Morgan Springer

Low-performing schools throughout Michigan have to turn in transformation plans to the state that show how they will improve. They are due Monday. Forty-five schools were identified by the state's School Reform Office in January. Betsie Valley Elementary in Thompsonville is one of two schools in northern Michigan on the list of schools. The other school is Bear Lake High School in Manistee County.

More and more people in northern Michigan are collecting disability checks. 

In some northern Michigan counties, nearly 20 percent of working-age adults are enrolled in disability insurance through Social Security. That’s according to a report published by Bridge Magazine this month. 

Nationwide, the average is about five percent. 

“We have in northern Michigan disability rates that are mainly seen in the deep South and in Appalachia,” says freelance writer Chad Selweski, who reported the piece for Bridge Magazine.

 


Paul Maritinez/Flickr

State lawmakers return to Lansing this week and to a budget standoff. The House and Senate left Lansing at the end of March without an agreement on how to help an area in metro Detroit where a giant sinkhole opened up last December.

Some Republicans in Michigan are pushing for restrictions to the state’s power to write regulations. State agencies, like the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, write many rules and regulations that don't need legislative approval. 

In the last few years, some Michigan lawmakers have criticized this process. They say that state departments are writing rules that are too strict.

Legislation introduced by one of northern Michigan’s state representatives, Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona), would add a new hurdle for state agencies to clear.    

“This would restrict them from enacting administrative rules that would be stricter than federal rules,” Cole says, “without clear and convincing evidence, and or going through the legislative process.”

Cole spoke with IPR News Radio about the legislation:

 


David Cassleman

Advocates for a new Soo Lock have been trying to get Congress to fund the estimated $600 million project for decades. Congress first authorized the construction of the lock in the 1980s but has not come up with the money to pay for it. 

Child care is hard to find in northern Michigan. Parents face year-long waiting lists to find someone to take care of their infants while they’re at work, and some are resorting to illegal providers they find on Facebook or Craigslist.

Northern Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) says he supports the GOP health care bill in its current form. The legislation could come up for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House as soon as this week. 

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