May 25, 2020
Former Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema opines on Republican legislative leaders suing the Governor over her rolling executive orders. He and former Budget Director Bob Emerson advocated for a gradual gas tax increase 18 months ago. Do they support putting that in place now with gas prices still under $2 a gallon in many places? They discuss this and other budget opinions.
Doug Rothwell, the outgoing president of Business Leaders for Michigan, shares some memories as he and his wife leave for North Carolina to their retirement condo.
New data from Unacast shows Michiganders moved around Friday about as much as they did March 9, the day before the state reported its first COVID-19 case. What's going on with Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit) and could Rep. Justin Amash seek re-election as a Libertarian.
May 18, 2020
How do you fill a $2.2 billion state budget hole with less than five months to go in the fiscal year? Mitch Bean, the former House Fiscal Agency Director, says it's "ridiculous" to think it can be done with cuts alone. He lays out some options in this week's edition as someone who has lived through his share of budget crunches.
Also, Adam de Angeli, a board member of Michigan United For Liberty, says this new organization has gotten a bad rap due to the media's focus on the antics of a couple unaffiliated people. Would he have issued a "stay-at-home" order during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic? He answers these and other questions.
The MIRS team questions if U.S. Rep. Justin Amash missed an opportunity to connect with this pro-liberty crowd during his presidential exploratory committee. Why did Amash pull the plug on his bid for the Libertarian nomination? And now that the Governor is re-opening parts of the state, can she declare victory on the sinking number of COVID-19 deaths and hospital stays?
May 11, 2020
Is the state opening itself up to liability by not banning guns from the Capitol? Steve Liedel, managing member for Dykema's Lansing office makes that case. He also explains why the Legislature's argument that a future Governor could issue rolling emergency orders through the length of his/her tenure is a "disingenuous argument."
Adrian Hemond, CEO of Grassroots Midwest, goes through the state House seats most likely to flip with MIRS Editor Kyle Melinn. Also, the MIRS team explores why the Governor's stay-at-home orders can't last much longer and why Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James wants to distance himself from President Trump.
May 4, 2020
House Speaker Lee Chatfield says any executive order Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issues since May 1 is "legally questionable at best" since the Legislature did not extend her emergency authority April 30. So is he advising his residents to follow the Governor's executive orders? Chatfield is also asked about last week's protestors and what House session is going to look like going forward.
Also, Kathy Barks Hoffman of Martin Waymire and Josh Pugh of the AFL-CIO share their perspective on the "patriot" protests, how the Governor did with her response on the Joe Biden sexual harassment claim and Publisher John Reurink's idea of floating general obligation bonds to help the state stay afloat financially in the short term.
April 29, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey responds to Governor Gretchen Whitmer's public rejection of his proposal to extend her emergency order in exchange for legislative authority over future stay-at-home orders.
April 27, 2020
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is prepared to issue a new emergency executive order this week to extend her abilities to suspend state law during the COVID-19 pandemic. She explains why. The Governor also is asked what is behind all of these national TV appearances and why she brought Pete Buttigieg's former press secretary on board if it's not to raise her national profile (5:10)
Also, Rep. Matt Hall talks about the new COVID-19 oversight committee he will be chairing for the Legislature (13:22) also Republican political consultant Scott Hagerstrom (23:28).
April 20, 2020
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) predicts the House this week will pass a second federal CARES package with more money available for small businesses. She gives her thoughts on President Trump's tweets, the role of the federal and state governments during this pandemic, and why she is not campaigning or raising money right now despite having a primary opponent.
Also, Sara Wurfel from Truscott Rossman sits in with the MIRS team over Zoom to answer the following questions: Was last Wednesday's Operation Gridlock protest political? Did it accomplish anything? What are the odds the Legislature and the Governor work out a plan to reopen the government by April 30? Did the Governor's chance for being picked for VP fall after last week's events? This and more.
April 13, 2020
It's high-tension time for grocery store workers as five of their Michigan colleagues have died from COVID-19. Amy Drumm, legislative director for the Michigan Retailers Association, said some employees are afraid to come to work. There's not enough gloves and masks for medical workers, let alone for clerks and stockers. Grocers are losing staff despite the lack of jobs elsewhere and the bumped-up pay they're offering.
Also, staying pent up for the last three weeks "sucks" says T.J. Bucholz from Vanguard Public Affairs, but he argues why it's important. He and the rest of the MIRS team also share interesting news items they read over the weekend. The group responds to Uncle Chuck in Barry County, who wants only certain areas of the state quarantined.
April 6, 2020
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lands a spot on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's podcast as talk of Michigan's chief executive as the Dem running mate heats up. MIRS talks with John Sellek from Harbor Strategic about Whitmer's increased profile (1:19), petition signatures and political fundraising during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brian Calley, former lieutenant governor and state legislator, says it's "very reasonable" for the Legislature to come into session Tuesday to handle the one obligation they have under the emergency powers act (24:20). As president of the Small Business Association of Michigan, he also urges small businesses to get in line now for the federal "payroll protection plan."
And Jamey Fitzpatrick and Emily Sicilla of Michigan Virtual (27:16) urge parents and teachers to not push children into immediately doing an entire day's worth of schoolwork online. It's probably not going to work. They provide tips on how to get the most out of online learning in these difficult times.
March 30, 2020
Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac) talks about the late Rep. Isaac Robinson and their joint March 16 press conference, one of the last times Robinson, who died Sunday, made a public appearance. How is she feeling? How are House Democratic members? How is Robinson being remembered? (24:06)
Rounding up personal protection equipment (PPE) has been at the forefront of governmental efforts to help doctors and nurses care for COVID-19 patients, but a feared staffing shortage at hospitals has emerged as another concern for Brian Peters, president and CEO of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA). He also expresses fears of the next potential hotspot for an outbreak -- state prisons in rural areas.
Why would the Legislature need to meet on April 7? Did Trump create a problem for himself with his "That woman from Michigan" quip? And will the Whitmer administration wish they hadn't issued that strict March 24 guidance letter on a possible COVID-19 treatment? This and more in this week's podcast.