politics

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Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is stepping away from leading a petition drive to switch to a part-time Legislature. That further fuels speculation he’s getting ready to run for governor next year.

The petition drive is widely seen as an effort to boost a candidacy for governor. But in his announcement about the change in leadership, Calley dropped no hints on his future plans.

Running a ballot campaign while running for governor would present a host of legal and practical problems, however.

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

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is handing over leadership of his part-time Legislature ballot drive to conservative grassroots activists as he prepares for an expected 2018 campaign for governor.

Calley told The Associated Press on Friday that the Clean Michigan Government committee is halfway toward collecting the 315,000 valid signatures needed to make the ballot. The goal is to submit petitions in mid- to late-January.

wikipedia

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a spending bill that includes more money to prosecute members of his administration for their roles in the Flint water crisis. The $600,000 will go to state Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office.

State Health and Human Services Department Director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Eden Wells are among those charged. They face manslaughter charges related to a fatal outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. Hoekstra, who was confirmed Thursday, previously served as chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was the ranking Republican on the Committee until 2011. 

First elected to Congress in 1992, Hoekstra was born in the Netherlands and moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 3. He was an executive with Michigan-based office furniture maker Herman Miller and later ran unsuccessful campaigns for Michigan governor and U.S. Senate.

Concealed guns could be carried in schools, churches and other places they’re currently banned under bills adopted Wednesday by the state Senate. The bills were adopted on largely party-line votes.

Republicans used the chance to clean up a loophole in the law to largely eliminate public concealed gun-free zones.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof says he considers places such as schools, day cares and stadiums where people cannot currently legally carry a concealed pistol to be more dangerous.

wikipedia

The ACLU has asked a federal judge to release hundreds of Iraqis who are being detained by immigration authorities.

The Iraqis are fighting deportation orders. The detainees face deportation for crimes, many committed years ago. They’ve lived in the country lawfully since their convictions, and reported regularly to immigration officials before they were detained.

Miriam Aukerman is an ACLU attorney. She says the detainees have been held for as long as five months without ever seeing a judge.

wikipedia

In his new book Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century, author Hank Meijer explores the life of the Grand Rapids republican who passed away nearly 70 years ago.

Meijer shares with readers Vandenberg's political savvy and his ability to forge foreign policy with democrats creating NATO and the United Nations.

What can today's political leaders learn from Senator Vandenberg? Meijer explains it's about bipartisan engagement and an openness to a large number of groups.

Public domain photo via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0

“Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics” is now on display at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. It focuses on rock music and its influences on Civil Rights, War, gender equality and freedom of speech.

“The really great thing about seeing some of those times when you had the FBI perhaps investigating Elvis and they have files on Lennon and even Whitney Houston, you really start to see that the government, a lot of times, saw this as a threat.”

handgun
Ken Lunde via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia.org

Concealed pistol permit holders would be able to carry guns in more places. That’s under legislation that cleared a Senate committee Tuesday. Right now guns are banned in places like schools and hospitals. This legislation would change that.

Opponents say there’s no need to open up the gun laws like this – that it makes those areas less safe. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof is a bill sponsor. He says a majority of mass shootings take place in gun free zones.

Voters in Grand Rapids have authorized a tax to support the city's library system for another 20 years.

The proposal was on Tuesday's general election ballot. The tax began in 1997, when voters agreed to help the library pay off a bond for building projects and an expansion of the library system.

The tax expires this year and the bond will be paid off. The new tax will raise $1.75 million in the first year and will last until 2037.

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