Michigan Government

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.


City blues: MSU study finds state tax policies cripple cities

November 17, 2015 | Ted Roelofs

Even as Michigan's economy grows, cities struggle against tax limits that a study concludes help choke their recovery.

Poll: Michigan voters strongly favor state prison reform

October 13, 2015 | Ron French

Voters back bipartisan efforts to lower Michigan’s prison population, in part by helping prisoners get job training so they can support themselves and are less likely to return to prison.

‘Clean slate’ law for offenders could be boon for business

October 13, 2015 | Ron French

A bill being introduced in Lansing would wipe criminal records for those nonviolent offenders who stay out of trouble, making it easier for them to get jobs.

Michigan prison reform gaining momentum in fall session

September 24, 2015 | Ron French

A measure that would make it easier for inmates to gain earlier release could be the first of several bills to reduce the state’s prison population.

Environmental groups see route to block Michigan highway expansion

September 3, 2015 | Andy Balaskovitz

Watchdog groups accuse MDOT of relying on outdated projections of traffic volume to justify expensive expansion projects. Federal courts have ruled in favor of such groups in other states.

In Michigan heroin epidemic, deciding whose lives are worth saving

September 1, 2015 | Chastity Pratt

With heroin and prescription drug abuse at historic levels, lawmakers are pushing for wider access to naloxone, a life-saving antidote, for some drug abusers.

Map: Heroin deaths by county in Michigan

September 1, 2015 | Bridge Staff

Overdose deaths as the result of heroin or other opioid addictions have quadrupled in recent years across Michigan, often primed by abuse of prescribed painkillers.

An accident runner, a chiropractor, and the push to curb no-fault insurance

August 25, 2015 | Nancy Derringer

The insurance industry cites schemes involving morally flexible lawyers and overactive doctors as reason to curb Michigan’s no-fault law. Critics say Lansing’s “reform” legislation would hurt the most seriously injured.

43,000 Michigan prisoners: Who should we cut loose first?

August 20, 2015 | Ted Roelofs

Reform advocates agree that Michigan could save millions by reducing its prison population, a cost that has risen seven-fold over three decades. But with politics never far from the surface, can policymakers agree on who doesn’t belong?

Hell freezes over - GOP and ACLU push prison reform

August 20, 2015 | Ted Roelofs

An unexpected coalition of conservatives and progressives is forming around finding ways to reduce Michigan’s costly prison population

Will Michigan defy Obama on lifting Iran sanctions?

August 11, 2015 | Chad Selweski

As President Obama tries to sell Congress and the U.S. people on a nuclear deal with Iran, legislators in Lansing are pushing for ratcheting up state-level sanctions to discourage companies in the state from doing business with Iran.

Father of Michigan fireworks law says he has no regrets

July 14, 2015 | Chad Selweski

Harold Haugh has been vilified for helping to legalize high-powered fireworks in Michigan. He says the law has proved an economic boon to the state.

Newspapers take notice of revenue threat

July 6, 2015 | Lindsay VanHulle

Proposed legislation would move public notices – hearings, descriptions of property to be sold, election dates, all in tiny type – from print to the Web, and with it money that Michigan’s newspapers can ill-afford to relinquish.

Legislature gets little respect from state voters in survey

July 6, 2015 | Lindsay VanHulle

Democrats disapprove of the work Lansing lawmakers do by a wide margin, but even Republicans were down on the GOP-dominated body.

Dem Rep. Sam Singh finds a lesson for Lansing in the streets of Pamplona

June 16, 2015 | Nancy Derringer

A Democratic representatives finds a legislator can be effective when his party is outnumbered, by turning policymaking into more of a chess game than an all-out assault.

One year later, undocumented immigrant children quietly settling in Michigan

June 2, 2015 | Jacob Wheeler

The anti-immigration protests last summer in Vassar have given way to the more mundane process of placing nearly 200 unaccompanied minors with relatives or foster families. Michigan remains one of the nation’s most welcoming states.

Hispanic immigrants playing more critical role in Michigan’s farm economy

June 2, 2015 | Jacob Wheeler

As residents flee rural areas in Michigan and across the country, Hispanic workers are becoming an even greater force in agricultural production. Nearly 3-in-10 Michigan farms are now owned by non-U.S. citizens.

Political notes from a small island

May 27, 2015 | Craig Ruff

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s three-day policy conference is this week at the Grand Hotel. Bridge has a live stream of all the action.

Reforms could mean fewer prisoners, shorter sentences – and more money for potholes

May 17, 2015 | Ron French

The urgent need for road repairs could be the final push needed for criminal justice reforms to be unveiled Monday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

6 things we learned (and 3 things we didn’t) from Proposal 1 debacle

May 7, 2015 | Ron French

Legislators can’t write ballot proposals. And voters don’t read newspaper endorsements. Those are just two reasons why Proposal 1 failed.