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.

Articles

After years of impasse, bipartisan Lansing drive for criminal justice reform

April 9, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Republicans and Democrats are teaming up on measures ranging from cash bail to asset forfeiture reform to finding ways to better protect young prisoners.

It’s conservatives’ turn to complain about Michigan social studies standards

April 9, 2019 | Ron French

Last year, a draft of state social studies standards drew outrage after references to climate change, gay rights and Roe v. Wade were cut. A new draft restored them. Guess who is outraged now?

Michigan Commission: Fund courts so judges aren’t turned into fundraisers

April 8, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Trial judges routinely impose significant court costs on guilty criminal defendants that go to help fund court operations. A state-appointed commission calls the practice corrupting and evidence of a broken system.

How high is too high to drive? That’s up to police in Michigan

April 8, 2019 | Riley Beggin

A state commission tells lawmakers not to set a blood limit for stoned driving because science hasn’t caught up with legalization. Critics fear that’s ripe for abuse.

Michigan minimum wage, paid sick leave case to get Supreme Court review

April 3, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

The state’s high court will hear arguments in July on whether the Legislature followed the rules when it watered down the impact of citizen-drafted legislation to raise Michigan’s minimum wage and require employers to offer paid sick leave. But the court stopped short of saying it will issue an opinion.

Whitmer’s road funding plan could pit Michigan cities against rural areas

April 1, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed making roads with the heaviest traffic a priority for more than $2 billion in new funding. That’s not going over well in rural Michigan.

Katie Fahey of Voters Not Politicians to take Michigan model national

March 31, 2019 | Riley Beggin

At 27, she was a political novice. Now 29, Fahey is jumping to the national stage. She shares some hard lessons from the campaign to end gerrymandering in Michigan that she launched with a simple Facebook post.

Voters Not Politicians mulls its next Michigan battle

March 31, 2019 | Riley Beggin

VNP spearheaded the successful 2018 campaign to end legislatively-drawn voting lines in Michigan. Now the group is marching forward with a new leader, looking to take cues from voters across the state on what to fight for next.

Detroit isn’t alone. Car insurance sky-high throughout Michigan, data show

March 28, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson, Ted Roelofs

Look up average rates in your ZIP Code. Guaranteed, they are higher than the national average, adding grist to debate about reforming Michigan’s no-fault laws.

Michigan plows on with Medicaid work rules as law is struck down in two states

March 28, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

A federal judge stopped work requirements in Arkansas and Kentucky, ruling the federal government did not fully consider harm to patients. Michigan’s law, which is similar, does not yet face a court challenge.

Michigan minimum wage, sick leave laws to start Friday under legal cloud

March 26, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

Attorney General Dana Nessel and the state Supreme Court may yet weigh in on whether the Legislature violated the Michigan constitution in passing, then gutting, these laws during lame duck. The controversy may end in court.

Grand Rapids seeks to raise African-Americans’ stake in marijuana boom

March 26, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Minority communities have borne the brunt of marijuana arrests. Now that pot is legal in Michigan, the city is giving priority to residents in lower-income communities seeking to profit from licensed businesses.

Whitmer’s plan to raise business tax a hard sell to Michigan Legislature

March 22, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

The Democratic governor says the increase will likely be offset by tax relief elsewhere. Critics say that’s unlikely and warn that higher taxes will reverse gains Republicans attribute to business-friendly reforms from 2011.

Study: More Michiganders struggle to afford basic needs

March 20, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

A new study of the working poor in Michigan, from the Michigan Association of United Ways, suggests that more people, particularly seniors, are finding it difficult to afford necessities such as housing, child care and transportation.

Michigan House approves records transparency for Legislature and Governor

March 19, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Following unanimous House approval, the bipartisan package will now move to a Senate committee, where it could face headwinds.

Proposed repeal of Michigan ‘pension tax’ prompts fairness debate

March 19, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

Supporters of repealing a 2011 tax on some retirement income say seniors were asked to shoulder more of the state’s income tax burden to offset a business tax break. Advocates for keeping the tax say it treats all retirement income equally.

Here’s how Michigan should spend Bloomberg’s $10 million to fight opioids

March 15, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg invests $10 million for “high impact” solutions. Experts tell Bridge Magazine where investment would help most.

Bills to improve Michigan transparency still have loopholes, critics say

March 12, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Transparency advocates say the FOIA package would be a big step forward for the state, but push back on loopholes still present in legislation.

For cash-strapped police in Michigan, asset forfeiture bills could be a blow

March 12, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Whether the concern is personal liberty or social justice, legislation reining in police property seizures is a bipartisan priority in Lansing. Some law enforcement agencies are not happy.

Analysis: Gretchen Whitmer's budget banks on Michigan GOP backing one historic tax hike

March 5, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle, Riley Beggin

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget proposal is based on a series of interlocking monetary moves to fund roads, schools, cleanups and more. The Rube Goldberg-like plan is certainly bold, drawing a mix of admiration and caution.  

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