politics

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

University presidents from across the state, including Grand Valley State University, are lobbying against the income tax cut plan.

The leaders of Michigan's 15 public universities are lobbying against an income tax cut they worry would lead to state funding cuts.

While the House has altered the income tax cut and roll back bill. The legislation would now cut the tax down to 3.9 percent by 2021 and then go no further.

Rep. Brian Banks
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A former state lawmaker will not face more jail time or probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and agreeing to resign.

Former state Representative Brian Banks was sentenced Friday. Banks had eight prior felony convictions, but this time got off with a misdemeanor and a one-day jail sentence with credit for time served.

But Banks had to give up his metro Detroit state House seat as part of the deal.

Andrea Bitely of the state Attorney General’s office says Banks can’t run again – but not because of his criminal conviction.

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In January, President Donald Trump asked Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act “very quickly.”

The replacement plan has yet to be revealed. A recent statewide poll asks Michigan voters what they think about repealing the ACA without a replacement?

Whether you’re a Michigan Republican, Democrat or Independent the overwhelming number of voters, 57 percent, want Congress and President Donald Trump to have a health care replacement plan enacted before repealing the one that’s already in place.

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

A Republican-led House panel has voted to cut Michigan's income tax and eliminate it over a number of decades despite "serious concerns" lodged by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Supporters say the bill approved 7-4 Wednesday would fulfill a nearly decade-old promise to reduce the 4.25 percent tax to 3.9 percent after it was raised to balance the budget.

Opponents say the tax cut would cost the state $680 million next budget year and $1.1 billion in the first full year at a time general funds are tightening.

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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.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

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."

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.

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