politics

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."

Wikimedia Commons / Arnold Newman

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.

amash.house.gov

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."

amash.house.gov

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.

gvsu.edu / Bernadine Carey Tucker

Some university leaders from across the state are reacting to President Donald Trump’s immigration order that includes temporarily barring citizens of seven majority Muslim nations from entering the United States. Grand Valley State University President, Thomas Haas and University of Michigan President, Mark Schlissel, are assuring international students their campuses are welcoming and supportive. 

Wikimedia | Tom Arthur | CC BY 2.0

State officials say any federal investigation will not turn up widespread vote fraud in Michigan, despite unsubstantiated accusations by President Trump that millions of people voted illegally.

President Trump says illegal voting kept him from winning the popular vote, but there’s no evidence of that. State officials – who are also Republicans – say that’s certainly not true in Michigan.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, the state’s top elections official, Michigan has done a very good job of clearing people who have died or moved from its voter files.

Joel Goldstein

Jan 25, 2017
Goodreads.com

This Thursday, the Ford Museum presents, "The White House Vice Presidency:  The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden.”  Joel Goldstein, the nation's premier scholar on the office of the Vice President, speaks at the event and joins us this morning.  

Grand Rapids Inauguration Day "watch party" reactions

Jan 20, 2017
Wikimedia Commons / Joint Congressional Inauguration Committee

As President Donald Trump took the oath of office and was officially sworn in, watch parties across Grand Rapids took place to witness the ushering in of a new presidency. WGVU spoke with a number of people about their immediate reaction to President Trump's inauguration speech.

"We will make America great again!"

As President Donald Trump finished his inaugural speech, a large crowd at kent County GOP headquarters cheered on the new president, and most felt that the speech delivered a unifying message after months of division.

Pages