May 22, 2017
Senate and House Republican leaders want to close off the state's teacher retirement system as a way to save the state money in the future, but Gov. Rick Snyder is not interested in going down that road. Could a proposal by Rep. Scott Van Singel be the compromise that breaks up a legislative log jam while addressing Michigan's soaring unfunded liability costs involving pensions? The Grant Republican talks to MIRS Monday about his idea.
Also, the MIRS team handicaps Lena Epstein's candidacy for the U.S. Senate. The Mark Bernstein for Governor talk is growing louder. And reporter Jack Spencer has a story about Mackinac Island in advance of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce conference that may have you crying "horse pucky."
May 15, 2017
Why do legislative leaders want to close down the Michigan Public Schools Employees Retirement System, again? James Hohman of the Mackinac Center makes the case for the significant policy change as budget discussions on the issue kick into high gear.
Also, why Geoffrey Fieger claiming he's looking at running for public office shouldn't be considered the Southfield lawyer's biggest political proclamation since losing the 1998 gubernatorial race to then-Gov. John Engler. And former Congressman Mike Rogers. What were the rumors on why he didn't run for Congress in 2014? MIRS' Mike Mallott, then of The Livingston County Press & Argus, looked into Rogers' background at the time. Listen to what he and his staff found.
May 8, 2017
What is there to like about a "dinosaur" like the state's teacher pension system, the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS)? According to Nick Ciaramitaro of AFSCME, closing the system is more expensive and provides fewer benefits than keeping it. Ciaramitaro, a former state legislator, also updates listeners on the Governor's task force on local government retiree health benefits reform.
In other subjects, when is the Flint water crisis actually over? How will we know? The MIRS team kicks around this subject as well as where gubernatorial candidates are likely to end up on marijuana legalization. This and more in this week's edition.
May 1, 2017
Do you think Michigan's high auto insurance rates are padding the pockets of insurance companies? Not so, according to Insurance Alliance of Michigan Executive Director Pete Kuhnmuench, who claims auto insurance coverage in Michigan is a money loser. Then why are policies so expensive? Kuhnmuench explains the reasons and gives potential solutions in today's podcast.
Also, could the pending marijuana legalization ballot proposal push the Republican-led legislature to pass its own legalization bill? The MIRS team debates the prospects of this and the flatscreen TV that fell off its conference room wall this week.
April 24, 2017
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley looks to be well on his way toward a gubernatorial run, and he's already separating himself from Gov. Rick Snyder on one issue -- the state's federally mandated education plan sent to U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Calley wants it returned to revisit provisions related to special education. The MIRS team explores this with guest Peter Spadafore of the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA).
Also, Spadafore talks about Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof's interest in the revisiting old MPSERS debt. He talks off his MASA hat to talk about school bonding proposals and to give listeners a primer on who is running for what in the upcoming Lansing city elections. This and more in this week's edition.
April 17, 2017
Gov. John Engler drives a spike through any U.S. Senate rumor. The answer is no, he's not interested. "It's a stupid question. You have to ask it, I suppose."
The answers are not as definitive when asked if he would be labeled a conservative in the current economic climate and what his attitude would be on further tax reductions at the state level. Listen to his thoughts on this and more.
Also, how did four Democratic gubernatorial candidates do at Saturday's forum and when does U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) risk losing support for a possible bid by waiting too long to announce? This and much more on this week's edition.
April 10, 2017
What is the expiration date of Enbridge's Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac? Jason Manshum of Enbridge explains why there is no hard-and-fast date by which the company believes this 4.5-mile length of dual pipeline needs to be replaced. The MIRS team also asks about suspended portions of pipeline under the Straits, the chances of an anchor strike and other questions about the health of the pipeline.
Other subjects covered into today's episode include Cindy Gamrat's new lawsuit, nearly 70 percent of political insiders believe Gretchen Whitmer would beat Bill Schuette in a hypothetical gubernatorial race and the state of Nestle's expanded bottle water application.
Finally, does bottled spring water taste better than municipal water? Shocking results from MIRS' first-ever Nestle challenge.
April 3, 2017
Does Justin Amash have to worry about this weekend's Trump Twitter Assault? What to make of the fight between Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) and Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller - is giving the county a grant the opening of a Pandora's box of local infrastructure funding requests? MIRS' Publisher John Reurink along with Jack Spencer, Mike Malott and Simon Schuster dissect the issues.
Also listen as Kyle Melinn interviews House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Laura Cox (R-Livonia). Is there a tax increase she'd support? How does she view the progress to date on passage of Michigan's 2017-2018 budget?
March 27, 2017
Republicans swung and missed on moving an Obamacare "repeal and replace" bill last week. U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Royal Oak) discusses his hopes moving forward on the health care debate. Levin also shares his opinion on why partisanship has become so entrenched in federal politics and his thoughts on the prospects of Republicans eliminating his 9th Congressional District as part of the redistricting process.
Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon shares his views on how he sees the Democratic Party moving forward and the MIRS team shares its views on issues both the Republican and Democratic parties have at the state and federal level.
March 20, 2017
Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) says he "absolutely" believes the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) expansion that passed the House last week would pass the Senate if it were put up on the board for a vote. Hertel also weighs in on other open government issues, including whether state employee salaries should be published on a public website and how U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) is doing on the accessibility front.
Also, why are Republican policy makers having such a hard time getting on the same page when it comes to education reform? Why the constant tinkering and when does it end? And, from a political standpoint, why should Republicans wait until 2019 to handle FOIA reform?