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

Dana Nessel, Michigan’s brash attorney general, plows through Lansing

April 19, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Just months into office, the state’s top lawyer has dueled with Lansing Republicans, the Trump administration and the Catholic church, while reversing course on lawsuits by her conservative predecessor. Got a problem with that?

Yes, it takes billions to fix Michigan roads. No, taxpayers don’t want to pay.

April 19, 2019 | Ron French

How willing are politicians to raise taxes on roads when the idea is unpopular and voters don’t trust Lansing? We’ll soon find out.

Whitmer and Republican leaders join forces to study Michigan jail reforms

April 17, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

Elected leaders, judges and law enforcement want to learn more about the state’s crowded jails in an era of lower crime rates, in hopes of crafting new laws to reduce the inmate population, cut costs and right wrongs.

Public outcry changed Michigan social studies standards. Add your voice.

April 16, 2019 | Ron French

The public has one more round of public meetings to offer its views on updating subjects covered in social studies classes across the state. Check out the schedule for a hearing near you.

A deal to fix Michigan’s roads looks to roll into summer, at least

April 12, 2019 | Lindsay VanHulle

The ball is in the Republican Legislature’s court when it comes to presenting an alternative to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s $2.5 billion road-funding plan. Will private negotiations produce a compromise both sides can sell?

No escaping billions of dollars needed for Michigan road fix, experts say

April 11, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson

With up to half of all Michigan roads in poor shape, the state must generate new funding or residents will spend billions more in repairs and lost productivity, experts reveal at Center for Michigan road summit.

Jocelyn Benson plans overhaul of Michigan Secretary of State offices

April 11, 2019 | Riley Beggin

The Secretary of State visited all 131 branch offices in her first 100 days in office. What she found, she said, “was heartbreaking.”

Bills to bar Michigan 'sanctuary cities' face headwinds in Lansing

April 11, 2019 | Riley Beggin

Proponents say they would protect law enforcement from political retribution. Opponents say it would encourage racial profiling and destroy trust between local police and immigrant communities. The bills face headwinds in Lansing.

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.

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