June 20, 2016
MIRS polls in the 10th Congressional District,
but the most interesting number coming out of it may be how few people cared enough to participate. Is this an indictment of the 10th Congressional District? Lower ballot races in general? Or of people's growing disinterest in robo-polls at this point in the process?
Also, Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to vote as soon as Tuesday on whether he believes Waukesha, Wis., should be allowed to tap into the Great Lakes Basin. Why is Michigan's position on the issue so vital? The MIRS team bats around that question.
June 13, 2016
Tens of millions of dollars managed by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund should be put toward addressing the public health impact of the Flint water crisis, says one of the Fund's board members, Jim Murray, the president of AT&T Michigan. Murray is supportive of legislation that makes it more clear that the money can go toward Flint-like emergencies.
Also, can the world thank the media for the creation of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee? The MIRS team debates how much impact the media's coverage of Trump led to his rise in the polls and his eventual success in the GOP primary.
June 6, 2016
Did the House Republicans' passage of the latest Detroit Public Schools reform package upstage the Detroit Regional Chamber conference? Is the annual event on Mackinac Island over-covered by the state media, anyway?
Also, on this week's podcast, listen to House Speaker Kevin Cotter talk about the DPS plan moments after its passage on Thursday night. A road package may have passed last year, but Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle says we're only about five years away from needing to revisit the issue.
And, finally, MIRS talks about why Line 5 will be the issue that keeps giving for environmentalists until the public is sick of hearing about it.
May 30, 2016
How many Republican state House candidates have bothered to send back a questionnaire to Planned Parenthood of Michigan? How many Democratic questionnaires have not been supportive of Planned Parenthood? Lori Carpentier, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood talks about abortion as an increasingly partisan issue in the past 15 years and if she sees it continuing to be.
Also, Brad Williams of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce previews the annual policy conference this week on Mackinac Island. What he is looking forward to? Are Republican House members playing politics by not showing up?
And why isn't District Court Judge Hugh Clarke a big fan of Attorney General Bill Schuette? And is it possible the AG went after Gov. Rick Snyder last week as cover in case his Flint water investigation doesn't dig up anything else?
May 23, 2016
Would the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) support any iteration of a Detroit Education Commission (DEC) as part of a Detroit Public Schools (DPS) reform package? What if all five members were appointees of the charter school movement? Gary Naeyaert, GLEP's executive director, answers that question and why GLEP doesn't support a Senate version that only puts a DEC in charge of approving the opening of a charter school entity that doesn't have an A or B grade.
Also, will the Governor sign legislation that sets a firm 180-day window for collecting citizen initiative signatures? The MIRS team tackles this question while also commenting on the Governor's use of a fund created to pay for his presidential exploratory efforts last year to cover his Flint-related legal bills.
May 16, 2016
Will the state of Michigan pay to replace Flint's lead water pipes? When it's all said and done, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said the answer is yes. Having spent at least three days a week in Flint since mid-January, Calley talks about his experiences in the city suffering through a lead-laced municipal water supply that has made national news. Has he been as poorly received as Gov. Rick Snyder when he was booed during the President Obama visit?
Also, Mitch Bean of Great Lakes Economic Consulting said he sees lawmakers needing to make $200 to $300 million in negative adjustments to the Fiscal Year 2017 budget after Tuesday's Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference. Where are the most likely places to get money?
May 9, 2016
As much as $5 million in state government money is being proposed to reimburse private schools for the costs of state mandates. It's not a voucher, said Tom Hickson of the Michigan Catholic Conference, who also talked about Syrian refugees, among other things.
Meanwhile, Democrats are amusing themselves by listening to different Republican officials conduct verbal gymnastics on the question of whether they would support Donald Trump at the convention. Answering yes and you are connected to his controversial comments. Say no and you don't support the Republican nominee.
May 2, 2016
The votes were there to move a $515 million Detroit Public Schools package out of the House Appropriations Committee last Friday. Are they there now that DPS teachers' mass "sick-out" has closed nearly every traditional public school in the Motor City? House Appropriations Committee Chair Al Pscholka answers that question. Also what is in the new House DPS package? Why $515 million instead of the $715 million the Governor and Senate want?
Also, Craig Thiel of the Citizens Research Council said the failings of Proposal A, the lack of a state school infrastructure fund or a special pool of special education funding all contributed to the decline of DPS. Listen to his suggestions to improve the state's public school system.
April 25, 2016
Sen. Tom Casperson reveals that his school bathroom plan for transgender students is being implemented without issue in two schools in his district. He speaks more about his proposal in this week's edition. Casperson, a congressional candidate, also handicaps his race and talks about eliminating a federal department. Which one?
Also, Brian Began of Grassroots Midwest, the former House staffer who drew the current state House races, gives his perspectives on how well he believes Republicans will do in retaining majority since the map he drew was designed to keep GOP majority through three presidential elections. Grassroots Midwest colleague Adrian Hemond projects a 55-55 shared leadership split after the November election.
April 18, 2016
Do Democrats really have between a 35% and 45% chance of
winning back the state House? The answer is yes. Craig Mauger with the Michigan
Campaign Finance Network and MIRS Editor Kyle Melinn explain why 2016 may be
the best chance the D's have to win control of the chamber in 10 years and why
Also, what are the odds Republicans could nominate someone
other than Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich at their convention this
summer? John Yob gives his perspectives on that and if he, the owner of Grand
Rapids-based Strategic National, will be joining the convention as a delegate amid a nasty party fight in the Virgin Islands that sparked an alleged physical altercation this weekend involving another Michigan political consultant.