Public Sector

Citizens cannot do their job of running their government if they don’t know what their public servants are doing. Bridge will take you beyond the political food fights into the policy decisions that affect everyday life.


Study claims Michigan has more blackouts than most states. Not true, says DTE

March 16, 2017 | Ron French

Last week’s windstorm left more than a million Michigan customers in the dark. Would more modernization and prevention efforts limit damage from future storms?

State Commission: Consider abolishing Board of Education

March 9, 2017 | Ted Roelofs

An education commission created by Gov. Rick Snyder has concluded that one way to reverse the slide of public schools is to give the governor’s office more control over education policy. Other recommended reforms would require significant state money.

Death to government mumbo jumbo

March 2, 2017 | Bridge Staff

Lansing is experimenting with turning jargon-filled public documents into something resembling English.

Trump’s travel ban could spark crisis in state’s doctor shortage, healthcare leaders say

February 16, 2017 | Ted Roelofs

Foreign-born doctors play a huge role in underserved areas of Michigan, particularly among the state’s rural and urban poor. The president’s immigration policies are causing many to reconsider their future in Michigan.

Broken: The human toll of Michigan's unemployment fraud saga

February 7, 2017 | Ted Roelofs

Even with settlement of a federal lawsuit, thousands of Michigan workers accused of unemployment insurance fraud await justice

In bid to eliminate state income tax, fears of another Kansas

January 31, 2017 | Ted Roelofs

Michigan Republican lawmakers propose eliminating a $9 billion source of revenue, the state income tax. Bridge dives into the numbers to see how that revenue would be replaced, if it is replaced.

Adding population until the cows come home

January 26, 2017 | Mike Wilkinson

Gov. Rick Snyder wants to goose the state’s population over the next four years. But getting to 10 million may be impossible

From lawmaker to lobbyist. Should the state slow down the revolving door?

January 18, 2017 | Craig Mauger, Ted Roelofs

Most states have a “cooling-off” period before a departing lawmaker can become a lobbyist. Not so in Michigan, where most who take the leap are lobbying their former colleagues within six months.

The Michigan counties most vulnerable if Obamacare is repealed

January 12, 2017 | Nancy Derringer, Mike Wilkinson

Nearly a million residents now get healthcare through the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid expansion, coverage that faces an uncertain future if Obamacare is scrapped with no replacement. At highest risk: several counties that voted for Trump.

Repeal Obamacare? Michigan delegation split…and a bit vague

January 12, 2017 | Nancy Derringer, Mike Wilkinson

Thousands of residents in each Michigan congressional district get health insurance through either Medicaid expansion or a government-run exchange. Here’s how their Washington representatives stand on repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

We hope you enjoyed your stay at the county jail. Here’s your bill.

December 13, 2016 | Ted Roelofs

Michigan’s county jails charge inmates up to $50 per day for housing, fees that can saddle ex-offenders with five-figure debt loads.

Voting without an ID? Not a big problem in most of Michigan

December 13, 2016 | Mike Wilkinson

The legislature wants to make it harder to vote without state-approved photo ID. But based on data from the most recent election, few voters did so.

State sheds little light on troubled prison transport firm

November 29, 2016 | Chastity Pratt Dawsey

Michigan uses a for-profit company that’s been accused in the death, injury and abuse of prisoners, while other prisoners have escaped. State prison officials don’t want to talk about it

Steps Michigan can take to make prisoner transportation more secure

November 29, 2016 | Chastity Pratt Dawsey

To reduce injuries, deaths, escapes and lawsuits involving for-profit prison transport companies, state prison officials could consider these recommendations

The price of Michigan's cash bail system

November 15, 2016 | Ted Roelofs

Critics say locking up criminal defendants before trial because they can’t post bond screws the poor while needlessly raising jail costs borne by taxpayers. Is there a better way?

Six ways Tuesday’s election may change Michigan

November 10, 2016 | Ron French, Nancy Derringer

From health insurance costs to road repairs to Rick Snyder losing the last of his mojo, Tuesday’s election is likely to have a huge impact on the Michigan Legislatur

Dewey defeats Truman 2.0, and why so many pollsters were blindsided by Trump

November 10, 2016 | Nancy Derringer

Polling is scientific – really. But its accuracy depends on skillful practices, which can be constrained by outside pressures like time and money.

State House bill takes partisanship out of some primaries

November 10, 2016 | Nancy Derringer

Why do we require local sheriffs, prosecutors and clerks to declare a party affiliation in the primaries? One U.P. representative lobbies to end this practice in a Bridge Q-and-A.

Rural Michigan thumbs nose at Clinton, backs Trump

November 9, 2016 | Mike Wilkinson

Donald Trump steamrolled Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in midsize to smaller counties across the state, flipping many that voted for President Obama in previous campaigns.

Got polling fever? Five points for surviving until the election results tonight

November 8, 2016 | Ron French

Anxiety-inducing polls are driving Americans to the edge. One expert explains how today’s polls work – and don’t work – and how best to read them