politics

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A former chairman of the Michigan Republican party is leading the GOP again. Ron Weiser was unanimously elected Saturday as chairman.

Ronna Romney McDaniel stepped down to become head of the national party.

Meanwhile, Brandon Dillon was given another term as chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party.

Both parties are holding conventions this weekend. Weiser told 3,000 party members in Lansing that "united we win; divided we lose."

McDaniel gave a farewell speech, saying President Donald Trump's victory gives Michigan "the respect it deserves."

Michigan Capitol Building
Phillip Hofmeister via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

The Michigan Capitol's aging infrastructure is starting to wear down. Out of sight behind the walls and beneath the floors, significant repairs and upgrades are needed to much of the Capitol's plumbing, electrical, mechanical and fire suppression systems.

The first and last major renovation and restoration project was almost 30 years ago when equipment and new systems were installed, but they have not been updated since.

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The Senate has confirmed school choice activist Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie.

The Senate historian says it was the first time a vice president had to break a tie on a Cabinet nomination.

Two Republicans joined Democrats Tuesday to vote to derail DeVos' nomination.

Democrats cited her lack of public school experience and financial interests in organizations pushing charter schools.

DeVos has said she would divest herself from those organizations.

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Vice President Mike Pence says he fully expects billionaire GOP donor Betsy DeVos will be confirmed as education secretary with his tie-breaking vote.

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Pence says the Trump administration is "very confident" she will take up her Cabinet post soon.

Last week, two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said they would vote against DeVos' nomination, citing concerns from parents and teachers.

Betsy DeVos has cleared a major hurdle in the Senate to become the next education secretary, despite vigorous opposition from Democrats.

Senators voted 52-48 to cut off debate before dawn Friday morning, setting the stage for a final confirmation vote next week.

DeVos is a billionaire Republican donor and school choice activist. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York calls her "one of the worst nominees."

Schumer says, "Ms. Devos does not deserve to be secretary of education."

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During this week’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Donald Trump said he'll work to "get rid of and totally destroy" the Johnson Amendment.

What is it and what will it mean to do away with it?

“The Johnson Amendment was created in 1954 by Lyndon Baines Johnson who was interested in making sure that tax exempt entities like churches and nonprofits are unable to directly engage in partisan and political activity.”

That’s Kyle Caldwell, executive director of the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University.

Michigan Capitol Building
Phillip Hofmeister via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0 / wikimedia.org

The Michigan Senate has overwhelmingly approved wide-ranging legislation that is aimed at keeping criminals from re-offending. Supporters say the bills - the first approved in the new two-year term - would keep communities safer and save the state money by implementing evidence-based practices.

About half of those entering the prison system each year are parole or probation violators.

Proposals OK'd Thursday include limiting how long offenders can be incarcerated for technical violations of their probation and more clearly establishing sanctions for parole violators.

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Call it what you want, says President Donald Trump in a Wednesday tweet, but his executive order to restrict travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries to enter the U.S. is about keeping "bad people" out.

U.S. Representative Justin Amash disagrees calling it unlawful.

The Cascade Township republican spoke with WGVU about his recent Facebook post that says "President Trump's executive order overreaches and undermines the nation’s constitutional system."

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Grand Rapids’ Betsy DeVos is considered by many democrats to be one of the more controversial of Donald Trump's cabinet nominees.

Tuesday, DeVos won Senate Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee approval to be education secretary.

“I’ve been supportive of Betsy. She’s worked in the education field for a long time and I’m hopeful she can make a difference.”

That’s Cascade Township Republican, U.S. Representative Justin Amash providing his views from the House.

A Senate committee has approved Republican donor and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos for education secretary, even as two GOP senators expressed some reservations.

After a heated debate Tuesday morning, senators on the Health, Education, Pensions and Labor Committee have voted 12-11 along partisan lines to support DeVos' nomination, sending it to the full Senate for action.

But two prominent Republicans on the committee, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, are expressing their skepticism over DeVos.

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