politics

Former Republican Congressman Pete Hoekstra is the new U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands. White House spokeswoman Vanessa Morrone says Hoekstra was sworn in Monday afternoon by Vice President Mike Pence. 

Hoekstra was confirmed last month by the U.S. Senate. He 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.

Part-time Legislature group seeks signatures by mail, ads

Dec 11, 2017

Organizers of a ballot drive to make Michigan's Legislature meet part-time are pushing for more signatures by mail and through advertising. The Clean Michigan Government ballot committee announced the plan Monday. Spokesman John Yob says the group is two-thirds toward collecting the 315,000 valid signatures needed, which includes an extra cushion to allow for duplicates and flaws. 

The committee says hundreds of thousands of petitions have been mailed to voters, who are being asked to gather signatures from friends and family. Online and radio ads also will be run.

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation to require that the Michigan Department of Corrections have a policy allowing for the hiring of felons. State law prohibits people convicted of felonies from being employed in the prison agency. It apparently was a reaction to fears over the state hiring felons as corrections officers. 

The legislation, signed Thursday, makes an exception if the job doesn't risk public safety or the operation of the department. An extensive background check and written approval from the department director will be required.

wikipedia

NPR political commentator Cokie Roberts says every member of Congress should read the book Arthur Vandenberg: The Man in the Middle of the American Century for a lesson in leadership. Its author is Grand Rapids businessman Hank Meijer who spoke Wednesday night at a World Affairs Council of Western Michigan event.

Recently, WGVU spoke with Meijer about the book before a recording of West Michigan Week

“The week I sent it to the publisher earlier this year, the final draft, it felt like I was talking about a bygone era.”

Michigan could end up being the only state where legislators pass and reject laws without the public knowing about their personal finances. It's a distinction good government watchdogs say is an embarrassment that must be changed. Forty-seven states require lawmakers to file some type of financial disclosure that lists their occupation, income or business associations - information that indicates if a legislator might benefit personally from supporting or opposing legislation.

Michigan capitol building
Michigan Senate / www.senate.michigan.gov

Parents could use tax-free savings accounts to pay for students' school-related expenses including extracurricular activities under legislation that has cleared a divided Michigan Senate. The Republican-led chamber approved the bills 23-14 Tuesday, with Democrats and some Republicans in opposition. The legislation goes to the House for consideration next. 

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 / Pixabay.com

Michigan's Legislature is beginning hearings on legislation that would force local governments to boost funding for employee retirement plans or face the possibility of a state intervention.

The bills are being debated Tuesday in House and Senate committees controlled by Republicans. Legislative leaders hope to enact the measures this month to shore up underfunded municipal systems, but opposition is building from police and firefighters worried about cuts to benefits.

Michigan Representative John Conyers told a Michigan Radio station he is stepping down from his seat from Congress. Calling in from a hospital, the longest serving member of Congress made the comments on the Mildred Gaddis’ radio show Tuesday morning.

"I am retiring today and I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the support - incredible undiminished support I've received over the years," he said. 

Recently under fire over claims he sexual harassed former employees, Conyers maintained the accusations against him were false.

Michigan Lt. Governor Calley enters gubernatorial race

Nov 28, 2017

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will seek a promotion to governor next year. The Republican launched his long-expected candidacy Tuesday while vowing to continue an economic rebound that has resulted in the addition of more than a half million jobs in Michigan.

Calley touts the Michigan unemployment rate at a 17-year low this year and says the state leads the Midwest in job creation, ranks sixth nationally and is first in new manufacturing jobs. He told The Associated Press he is running to "continue the comeback" and to "make Michigan the most prosperous state in the nation."

gophouse.org

Yet another West Michigan State Representative is announcing a run for state Senate. It’s the seat currently held by the term-limited Senate Majority Leader, Arlan Meekhof.

Ottawa County State Representative Roger Victory is currently serving his third and final term in Michigan’s 88th House District. A term limited Republican, Victory is turning his attention to a run for a Michigan Senate seat where 26 of Michigan’s 38 Senators are term limited in 2018.

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