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.


Pure Michigan faces troubles from climate change to drinking water

March 15, 2018 | Riley Beggin

Environmental experts weigh in on what the state and communities can do to protect Michigan’s natural resources and prepare for change.

Why don’t Michiganders trust government? Let’s count the ways.

March 15, 2018 | Lindsay VanHulle

Government records are private. Gerrymandering is common. Dark money is omnipresent. But some say solutions will cause more problems.

Michigan voters may weigh legalizing pot, repealing prevailing wage

March 15, 2018 | Riley Beggin

Initiatives to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law and to legalize recreational marijuana may be on the ballot in November. Those backing and opposing each issue defend their sides.

Michigan governor candidates release tax returns, other assets

March 13, 2018 | Riley Beggin, Lindsay VanHulle

Bridge Magazine requested financial data from 19 candidates for governor to shed light on potential conflicts of interest. Here’s a rundown of who responded, and who didn’t.

Which Michigan governor candidates gave financial info

March 13, 2018 | Bridge Staff

Bridge Magazine asked the 19 candidates for Michigan governor for tax returns and other financial details. Here’s a checklist noting who replied, and who did not.

As hacking fears mount, Michigan election security gets middling marks

March 8, 2018 | Riley Beggin

Good news: Michigan has new voting equipment. Bad news: No system is secure, and state procedures make it harder to catch tampering.

Michigan’s 2018 infrastructure report card: D+

March 6, 2018 | Lindsay VanHulle

The state earns a near-failing grade for its roads, water and other infrastructure from civil engineers, with virtually no improvement since 2009.

Where they stand: Michigan governor candidates’ infrastructure policies

March 6, 2018 | Lindsay VanHulle

From roads to drinking water, Michigan doesn’t spend enough money on upkeep. What would candidates to succeed Rick Snyder do to make long-term fixes, and how would they pay for it?

Where Michigan governor candidates stand on ‘red flag’ gun bills

February 20, 2018 | Riley Beggin

Bridge asked Michigan candidates for governor if they support “red flag” legislation, that would allow police to seize firearms from ag person deemed dangerous before they commit violence.

Will Florida school shooting nudge Michigan to pass ‘red flag’ gun laws?

February 20, 2018 | Lindsay VanHulle, Riley Beggin

A Republican committee chair promises to give a good look to stalled bills to allow relatives and police to petition courts to temporarily remove guns from those who pose risks.

Chaos in Traverse City, as county government wrestles with pension debt

February 20, 2018 | Bob Campbell

Grand Traverse County is searching for its fourth administrator in three years as county workers go to war over benefit cuts. Could the political upheaval be a bellwether for other distressed communities?

Michigan cities and counties haunted by retiree liabilities

February 20, 2018 | Bob Campbell

While the political chaos playing out in Grand Traverse County is bizarre, it’s a harbinger of local troubles throughout the state.

Search Michigan counties for the biggest budget shortfalls

February 20, 2018 | Mike Wilkinson

Using new state data, Bridge ranks each of Michigan’s 83 counties on how they are handling retiree debt, taxes and revenue.

Want info on Michigan governments? Get out your wallet and prepare to wait

February 15, 2018 | Mike Wilkinson

Michigan’s open records laws remain more barrier than gateway. Government officials, though, say they’re besieged by requests.

Map: Use this tool to get information from Michigan governments

February 15, 2018 | Melissa Mason

Interactive map allows residents to file electronic Freedom of Information Act requests in southeast Michigan

Five tips on getting info from Michigan governments without going broke

February 15, 2018 | Sandra Svoboda

Filing a FOIA is often an exercise in frustration in Michigan. Here’s some tips on making the process somewhat less painful.

Want to fill out a FOIA in Michigan? Here’s a sample request form

February 15, 2018 | Bridge Staff

Use this form to make your life slightly easier when filing a Freedom of Information Act request in Michigan.

Early Michigan governor debates heavy on big ideas, light on details

February 8, 2018 | Riley Beggin

Six months out from the primary, Michigan’s candidates for governor are on the town hall circuit. As for now, they’re still mostly talking in broad strokes.

Five takeaways from Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s final budget

February 8, 2018 | Lindsay VanHulle

How will a desire for tax cuts among GOP lawmakers affect Snyder’s plans for more money for roads and schools?

Six ways Gov. Snyder has changed how Michigan spends taxpayer dollars

February 6, 2018 | Lindsay VanHulle

Over Gov. Rick Snyder’s two terms as Michigan governor, state spending has risen overall, but has gone down for prisons, and spending remains far below 2000 levels.