“Lansing hates us,…the People love us!!!”

2nd hour discussion today, Thursday 3-22-18;

Snyder Endorses Calley To Succeed Him As Governor

(SOUTHFIELD) -- Brian CALLEY got the official thumbs up from his boss, Gov. Rick SNYDER, in the Lieutenant Governor's bid to replace the term-limited governor.

The blessing from Snyder -- a rare personal and public endorsement of a candidate for the state's top office -- came today at the headquarters of construction company Barton Malow. It was dubbed as the "Continue the Comeback" event, which follows on the heels of the theme of Calley's first television ad (See "Calley Off And Running With First TV Ad," 3/16/18).

Snyder has typically been known to stay far away from directly endorsing anyone, whether it's presidential candidates or anything else down ballot. His political action committee, the Relentless Positive Action (RPA) PAC has played in House races on numerous occasions. He's also has popped into fundraisers, but he hasn't been one to publicly throw his political support so directly behind a person (See "Snyder Running TV Ads In 6 House Races," 9/19/16).

MIRS searched the term "Snyder endorses" on its website archive and could only turn up one result: When the Governor endorsed GOP-nominated James Robert REDFORD in his bid for the Supreme Court in 2014 (See "Snyder Endorses Redford," 8/15/14).

Redford wasn't successful in that race, but later joined Snyder's office as his chief legal counsel and is now director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA).

Asked the question about his endorsement history today, Snyder said, "I think I probably have in the past, but nothing as important as this in terms of my successor."

The Governor said today this was something he's been looking forward to for eight years, dating back to when Snyder picked Calley to be his running mate.

"That's an important aspect I looked at when I had the opportunity to ask Brian," Snyder said, adding later, "Let's figure out to have good succession of letting the next generation come in and run our state."

The Governor said Calley is the "best leader possible" to take Michigan to "an even higher level." Snyder again stressed civility and said "fighting doesn't belong in our state."

Calley said it's been an honor to serve alongside Snyder and called Michigan the "American comeback state."

In a press release following the announcement, Calley said, "I'm honored to have partnered with Governor Snyder since 2010 to create the Michigan comeback and I'm honored to have his endorsement today. Together, Michigan's made tremendous progress since 2010, and I'll take Michigan to the next level as governor."

Snyder appeared alongside Calley the day before Calley made his gubernatorial run official, where he had again referred to Calley as the best lieutenant governor in the country (See "Calley Gearing Up With Snyder For 'Big News,'" 11/27/17).

Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE, the Republican gubernatorial frontrunner, made sure no one forgot about his campaign today.

Schuette issued a press release recapping the first quarter of 2018 by reminding everyone that he "earned the support of more than 300 conservative Republican leaders, including the President and Vice President of the United States, submitted the most petition signatures of any campaign to date, and began laying out his Paycheck Agenda of conservative policy."

The Governor was asked today how he distinguishes Calley from another statewide candidate running for Governor, a subtle reference to Schuette without naming names.

In response, Snyder said he'd rather focus on Calley's positive attributes and said that relentless positive action is not about "finding an issue or problem with something," but about finding solutions and working together.

The Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) chimed in today prior to the announcement, as MDP spokesperson Sam NEWTON said, "The only thing Rick Snyder's endorsement does today is ramp up the already growing GOP civil war with Donald TRUMP's wing of the Michigan Republican Party."

Also seen at the event today in Southfield was former Secretary of State Terri Lynn LAND, a former GOP U.S. Senate candidate.

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1st hour of “Your Defending Fathers”, Thursday 3-22-18; ...

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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 3-21-18; MIRS News Service

Hildenbrand To Push National Popular Vote

Senate Appropriations Chair David HILDENBRAND (R-Lowell) has more on his mind than just the budget in his final year in the Legislature. He's hoping to get Michigan to join the National Popular Vote interstate compact, potentially changing how the state allocates its 16 electoral college votes during presidential elections.

"It's more of a summer -- fall project," Hildenbrand told MIRS today. "I've talked to a lot of people about it and I've grown to feel more strongly about it."

The National Popular Vote effort has already succeeded in having 11 states with 165 electoral college votes pass enacting legislation. Those states and districts are California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

When states representing 105 more electoral college votes join the agree, all of the compact states will award their electoral college votes to the candidate that won the national popular vote -- essentially guaranteeing the popular vote winner the 270 needed electoral college votes to win.

Once that happens, presidential candidates will have to run nationwide campaigns aimed at securing the most votes, regardless of where those votes reside.

Hildenbrand told MIRS he became intrigued with the concept when National Popular Vote legislation was sprung on him in 2008 while he served in the House. That year, the Michigan House voted 65-36 to join the compact by passing HB 6610, a bill that later died in the Senate (See "Electoral College 'Fix' Heads To Floor," 12/10/08).

"I voted no at that time, but I was intrigued by it as kind of a different way to think about how we elect the president of our country," Hildenbrand said. That 2008 legislation was sponsored by then-Rep. Steve TOBOCMAN of Detroit.

The Lowell Republican is drawn to the idea of the compact because he feels presidential elections have become distorted through the "battleground state" system where only a handful of states decide the outcome and national candidates focus on only those states.

"We all know that in every presidential election it boils down to three to five states that really make the difference," he said. "The two biggest contenders are Florida and Ohio."

The National Popular Vote effort backs up that conclusion by noting that during the 2012 presidential election there were 253 campaign related events across the country. Ohio and Florida were host to 113 of those. The 12 states within three percentage points of the national outcome (therefore battle ground states) hosted all 253 events.

That left 38 states and the District of Columbia essentially ignored by then President Barack OBAMA and GOP nominee Mitt ROMNEY. Hildenbrand noted that while Michigan was a "battleground state" in 2016 and received attention (22 campaign events), for the prior 24 years the state was ignored.

So how does the Lowell Republican react when rank-and-file Republicans raise the point that the last two GOP presidents won the electoral college, but not the national popular vote and the compact therefore, would hurt Republicans.

"I disagree. I think it's a game. The presidential election is a game," Hildenbrand said. "Right now, you focus on how do you get to that magic number of 270 electoral college votes. And so, if you go to a different system, campaigns would act differently. They would campaign differently."

He contends that if the elections were decided by popular vote when Donald TRUMP won in 2016 and George W. BUSH won in 2000, those campaigns would have crafted a strategy to reach out to all voters, not just focus on a handful of states.

Hildenbrand also hopes the National Popular vote will restore regional equality to the presidential map. He noted that the bulk of swing states are in the Eastern half of the United States. That, he says, changes voting patterns and encourages voter drop off on the West Coast.

He notes if you're a Republican voter in California and at four or five in the afternoon you're told the GOP candidate won Florida or Ohio, there's no reason for you to cast your ballot.

"If you do have the national vote it doesn't matter when the polls close and when states are called, you won't be able to call the election until the West Coast states are in," he added.

How Would The Compact Work?

If Hildenbrand does succeed in convincing his colleagues to pass legislation to have Michigan join the other 11 states in the compact, the state's "winner take all" statute would remain in effect until states representing 270 electoral college votes join the compact.

Once that threshold is met, the state would be bound by the compact to cast its 16 electoral college votes in favor of whichever candidate won the national popular vote. In the future, once the compact took effect, state legislatures could "opt out of the compact" but could not do so close to the presidential election.

Hildenbrand said he believes the fact that the change is accomplished through an interstate compact makes it an easier sell to his colleagues.

"Really nothing changes," he said. "If we adopt the compact, nothing changes in Michigan we would still have our Michigan winner take all statute on the books. Nothing would change until there are enough states that sign up and we get to that 270 electoral college votes."

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Today's show was dedicated to Linda Hughes (Thayrone Xington's wife) who passed away, yesterday at 11:30 am.

"Miss Linda was the heart and soul of WAAM Radio" (1600 AM in Ann Arbor) and was a loving God fearing, Christian woman. She will be surely missed as she made our world (and Thayrone's life) a better place!!!

Friends are invited to celebrate Linda's life from 3 - 8 pm on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 at; Robinson-Bahnmiller Funeral Home on Michigan Avenue in Saline, MI.

Thank you God for bringing Linda Hughes home, to you Father in Heaven!!!
Father, please put your hand on our Brother Thayrone and keep him strong, just like Linda always was, here on Earth!!! ~ Amen

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JUST IN,...GET A "Your Defending Fathers",...COFFEE CUP TODAY!!!

Just click on the "Shop Now" button to be sent the information on how to get a "Your Defending Fathers" - Coffee Cup shipped directly to your home or business,...Thank You for your support!!!

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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 3-14-18 ...

1st hour of “Your Defending Fathers” with Trucker Randy on Wednesday, 3-14-18;

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Watch and Share our Daughter's $5 Jewelry AND $1 Kid's Jewelry PARTY,....right NOW,...LIVE!!! ...

Please do not share my post to any group unless you own the group. All Adult jewelry is $5.00 Kids $1.00. All jewelry is lead and nickel free. If you like an item please comment the # of item in comments. First person I see in my feed will get item. Happy Shopping!

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TEST - Facebook LIVE 3-9-18 ...

Test - Facebook LIVE 3-9-18

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World War III - China vs. United States of America ...

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GREAT SPEECH,...on the floor of the Virginia State House,...by Delegate Nicholas J. Freitas (Republican),...PLEASE SHARE!!! ...

For several days now, some Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates have made public speeches comparing those of us who take our oath to the Constitution seriously, to include the 2nd Amendment, to Nazis and segregationists. This is my response:

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1st hour discussion today, Monday 3-5-18;

If Bill Schuette is the Republican nominee,...he will lose to the Democrat to be Michigan's next Governor;

March 2, 2018
Contact: Sam Inglot, 616­916­0574, sam@progressmichigan.org

Protesters Greet Mike Pence and Bill Schuette at #GOPTaxScam Event

DETROIT — Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Bill Schuette were in Detroit today to tout the Republican tax
scam and protesters greeted them outside of the event. The rally pushed back against the false narrative around the tax

The reality is the tax plan is a massive boon for the wealthy at the expense of working people and families.

“I came out today because I wasn’t going to allow Mike Pence and Bill Schuette to come into Detroit and lie to us about what
this tax scam is,” said Tyshieka Benman, a Flint resident who works at Burger King. “It’s just more tax giveaways so
CEOs and corporate donors can line their pockets and boost their profits. We need real solutions that increase wages for
working folks, not more trickle­down economics.”

Reports show the tax plan overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy. While at the same time, working families may have their
taxes increase and have their healthcare costs go up within the next decade because of the plan.

“If Bill Schuette and Mike Pence are serious about raising wages for working families, they should support what we’re doing
at D15 rather than rely on greedy CEOs to do the right thing,” said Luanda Williamson, a Detroit resident who works at
McDonalds. “A higher minimum wage, earned paid sick time, and a right to organize in the workplace — these are ways we
can improve people’s lives.”

There’s been one very clear result of the tax scheme: massive stock buybacks to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars,
which will only benefit wealthy stockholders and CEOs. But that hasn’t stopped elected officials like Bill Schuette from trying
to spin the scheme.

“Bill Schuette seems to have one idea about how Michigan should operate: tax cuts for his wealthy donors. That’s the same
approach Rick Snyder has taken and it hasn’t helped Michigan’s working families,” said Sam Inglot, project director of
ShadySchuette.com, an accountability and public education project of Progress Michigan. “The fact of the matter is
this tax plan overwhelmingly benefits the wealthiest Americans and jeopardizes working families’ future.

The people ofMichigan deserve better than what Mike Pence and Bill Schuette are peddling.”

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3rd hour discussion today, Monday 2-19-18;

LAST DAY - ALL HANDS ON DECK!!! Call 616-534-5141 and leave your Name, Address and how many sheets you want mailed to your home.

Help us put Part-Time Legislature on our November general election ballot!!! Let's make history and take control of Lansing!!!

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1st hour discussion today, Monday 2-19-18;


In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.

Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

56 million defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control:

You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.

Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.

Take note my fellow Americans, before it's too late!

The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.

With guns, we are "citizens". Without them, we are "subjects".

During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!

If you value your freedom, please spread this antigun-control message to all of your friends.


Spread the word everywhere you can that you are a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment!

It's time to speak loud before they try to silence and disarm us.

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3rd hour discussion today, Friday 2-16-18;

Michigan State Rep. - Peter Lucido (36th House-R) joined "Trucker Randy" to talk about his House Bill (HB 4158 - Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform) and why it must be passed,....NOW!!!

Share this YouTube video; youtu.be/QL0iz5kTE5k

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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 2-14-18; MIRS News Service

Snyder Winning Tax Rollback Struggle

Gov. Rick SNYDER continues his back and forth with his "legislative partners" over the size of the personal income tax exemption, but lost in the battle is the apparent progress he has made on killing a state income tax rate rollback.

There was a time scaling back to the 4.25 percent rate to 3.9 percent was the top priority of some Republicans, particularly House leadership. But based on the observations of two key players, that is no longer the case.

Former Rep. Peter LUND, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Americans for Prosperity anti-tax group, is not totally conceding defeat but he's darn close.

Commenting on the current tax exemption debate he told MIRS, "My preference would be to keep it revenue neutral, but decrease the rate itself, but since we can't get that, we would support the higher exemption. The higher the number, the better, as far as I'm concerned."

Asked if he was conceding defeat on that front, he suggests, "I'm never conceding defeat, but I understand you have to take what you can get and right now that looks like the best chance we can get to get some tax relief to the taxpayers, so we support it."

Senate Finance Committee Chair Jack [BRANDENBERG] (R-Harrison Twp.) was in the midst of his plan to rollback the rate and had a blueprint for getting there (See "Plans To Scrap Or Cut Income Tax Haven't Stopped," 10/18/17).

But late last year, just before he was ready to run this past Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive), he reportedly got some push back from the small business community. It feared it would end up paying more under the Brandenburg plan, so he pulled it back to work with National Federation of Independent Businesses Executive Director Charlie OWENS to resolve their concerns.

He told MIRS at the time that the rate rollback was "on hold," where it apparently remains.

"I don't think Rick Snyder, at his core, particularly favors tax cuts," Brandenburg said.

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3rd hour discussion today, Monday 2-12-18;

Dave Agema joined us to talk about the signature petition drive to put "Part-Time Legislature" on the ballot. Call today to get a petition sheet (or 2) mailed directly to your home or business;

Call; 616-560-2708 to get a sheet mailed to you,...TODAY!!!

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Dear University of Michigan - Board of Regents ...

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1st hour discussion today, Friday 2-9-18; MIRS News Service

Kelly Offers 'Middle Of The Road' A-F Grading System For K-12 Schools

The Michigan Department of Education's (MDE) Parent Dashboard for School Transparency website, launched in December, "I think has got lots of useful information but still masks poor performance more than it should," said Rep. Tim KELLY (R-Saginaw) today as his House Education Reform Committee began hearings on legislation to give schools A-F letter grades.

Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 5526, sponsored by Kelly, would create an Education Accountability Policy Commission to develop a grading system that gives each public school in Michigan an A-F letter grade in six specific areas.

His proposal would not assign schools a final "summative grade" that some are calling for, Kelly said, so he called it a "middle of the road" proposal.

Doug GREER, School Improvement Consultant for Ottawa Area Intermediate School District who helped draft the bill, called it a school "report card." Because it is not a single summative grade and not a comprehensive dashboard. He called the plan "some middle ground."

"Michigan has made a unique slide nationally in academic achievement over the last decade or so, and I am trying to put a finger on what is unique to Michigan or why that is the case," Kelly told the committee in his opening remarks. "I have kind of come up with two different things that I think have contributed to Michigan's decline. Governance and accountability . . . The last time that Michigan was in the top 15 of student performance across the country, we had an A-F accountability system. Once we got away from the A-F in '03, '04, '05, I think that began a slide. When they are not accountable, performance wasn't there."

He contended most parents understand the A-F system, since their own kids are graded that way on their performance. He noted the Governor's Twenty First Century Education Commission recommended an A-F system.

Gov. Rick SNYDERjoined in the call for an A-F system in December. (See "Snyder: Now Is Time For A-F Grading System," 12/18/17).
Recently, House Speaker Tom LEONARD(R-DeWitt) however said he was satisfied with the MDE dashboard. (See "Leonard Shies Away From A-F After Seeing 'Good' MDE Parent Dashboard," 2/1/18).

"States that have an A-F system out-perform Michigan, another reason to mirror what works. So for those reasons I think Michigan needs to adopt an A-F system," said Kelly, who has long been a proponent of an A-F system. (See "Education Reform Chair Moving Ahead On A-F Scale for Schools," 3/16/18).

As chair of House Education Reform, Kelly said he plans to take more testimony on the bill next week and did not give a timeframe for calling a vote.

The six areas to be graded include proficiency in math and English, growth, percentage of English language learners who achieve growth, graduation rate, rate of students chronically absent and participation rate in assessments. Additionally, MDE would be required to rank schools in relation to comparable schools and student subgroup performance.

"It adds two things that the school index does not add," Greer told the committee. "It adds a comparison to similar schools because that is what we found in the Reading Now Network to have the greatest impact. And it highlights the student subgroups performance indicator as this is why a school might get a label of what we used to call focus schools."

Greer said he supports the MDE's dashboard, but the report card would be an addition to it.

"We don't think it replaces the dashboard," he said. "It comes alongside the dashboard."

Rep. William SOWERBY (D-Clinton Twp.) noted that socio-economic factors have a great impact on the performance of students at school. He asked if the report card would adjust for socio-economic factors.

Greer contended that by including the comparison to similar schools with similar demographics, it would adjust for those factors.

Sowerby said he feared that by grading the schools, colleges might discount good grades earned by students in those schools, a fear Kelly and Rep. Julie ALEXANDER (R-Hanover) dismissed, saying students get judged on their individual merits.

Moneak PARKER, executive director of Detroit Voice for School Choice, told the committee it is confusing for parents when the state's accountability systems change every two to three years. She said she supports the A-F system because it lessens confusion.

"I know when my kid comes home, if they got an F, they have done poorly," she said.

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1st hour discussion today, Thursday 2-8-18;

Gov To Lawmakers: Adopt My Budget For Long-Term Fiscal Stability

Gov. Rick SNYDER pledged that his $56.8 billion budget proposal, the final of his tenure, would leave the state's budget structurally balanced for whomever succeeds him in 2019 . . . as long as it's passed as proposed.

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 spending plan presented to a joint session of the House and Senate appropriations committees called for a tiny .6 percent increase to the $10 billion General Fund. It cuts taxes while sinking more in roads, schools and Flint.

It also asks lawmakers to hike fees on landfill dumping and water usage to pay for toxic cleanups and underground water infrastructure, which he acknowledged would be a heavy lift for the conservative Republican-led legislature, but a fiscally wiser approach to cleaning up the environment than bonding.

The budget comes amid future pressures like more General Fund money for roads, more funds to cover Healthy Michigan and homestead exemption increases that will make life difficult for a future governor, according to economist Mitch BEAN (See "Bean: Budget Cuts, Tax Increases Needed Without Income Tax Changes," 2/17/18).

Snyder made it clear today that he feels like everything is on the right path.

"We're on the path to get a great legacy," told reporters later in the day. "Over the years, we have built something that is a role model of the rest of the country."

Snyder didn't wade into the outstanding debate over whether to speed up of the driver responsibility fee repeal as the House wants or the $5,000 personal exemption on income taxes the Senate wants. However, he did stress that under his budget, Michigan taxpayers would see $1.85 billion in relief between 2018 to Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.

This is on top of the $3 billion in tax cuts that state Treasurer Nick KHOURI said the state has passed along to taxpayers over the past five years. Still, additional tax cuts were on the minds of legislative leaders during today's budget presentation.

"My priority is that we get the tax relief and driver responsibility fee (repeal) before we dig deep into the spending," said Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Dave HILDENBRAND(R-Lowell). "Every opportunity we can give back to the hard-working taxpayers of Michigan, we should do that. We've been doing it the last few years and I'm interested in doing it a little more so we're going to be pursuing that."

House Appropriations Committee Chair Laura COX (R-Livonia) was pleased Snyder gave "the soft nod" to an income tax exemption that was higher than the $4,500 level he initially pitched with his plan to save the exemption in the shadow of President Donald TRUMP's tax cut plan.

"Not to be disrespectful, but lame duck governors tend to want to spend a lot of money and our job as the Legislature is to make sure he doesn't spend a lot of money," Cox said.

Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint) called the increases in roads and schools "seven years late and many dollars short."

"The governor is throwing pennies at our roads and schools and crossing his fingers that it makes up for his legacy of shortchanging Michiganders."

Also more money could have been set aside to take care of those residents falsely accused of fraud, said Rep. Fred DURHAL III (D-Detroit).

"We still haven't made those individuals whole. We still haven't made those families whole," he said.

Durhal said he believes there are more things that can be done to help the residents of Flint "repair their lives" after the Flint water crisis of 2015 and 2016.

Snyder gave most of his message over the muffled roar of protestors outside the House Appropriations Committee door, who chanted, "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Rick Snyder has got to go!" among other things. The protestors were made up of SEIU state employees, janitors and health care workers pushing for a $15-an-hour minimum wage for hospital, childcare and fast food workers.

"Contrary to what Governor Snyder is telling us about the economy and budget in Michigan, Michigan's working families are still struggling," said Pam Owens MOORE, a Detroit janitor. In the 30 years I've been working, I have seen Detroit go from a union town with good family sustaining wages to one where workers are doing three or four jobs just to get by.

"We need a Governor who will fix the economy for all Michiganders by raising wages and supporting unions."

The highlights of Snyder's spending priorities included:

- An extra $175 million on top of the already required $150 million in General Fund money for road improvements (See "Gov Wants $325M More Into Roads In FY' 19," 1/25/18).

- $112 million left over from last fiscal year to put some up-front payments on some capital outlay projects, including $70 million toward the ongoing Capitol infrastructure upgrades and $42 million toward new veterans homes in Grand Rapids and Detroit.

The $112 million used from the $280 million that lapsed from Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 would help save $48 million in interest costs through making Snyder's proposed "pre-payment."

- Per pupil funding increases of $120 to $240 per pupil for a total increase of $312 million for a minimum funding of $8,734 per student.

- Funding cyber schools at 75 percent of the per pupil foundation allowance given to traditional brick-and-mortar schools

- Up to a $50 investment per high school student enrolled in a career and technical training program

- $46 million more for the indigent defense commission

- $25.9 million ($18 million General Fund) to meet the requirements of the Concerned Pastors for Social Action settlement on service line replacement in Flint. There's $4.6 million for lead investigations, lead abatement and health care programs for Flint children.

- $20 million toward statewide broadband access (See “Price Tag On Snyder Initiatives This Week Run At Least $189M,” 2/2/18).

- $8 million PFAS containment response

- $7.5 million for rural hospital payments

- 2 percent increase for university funding as long as tuition increases are kept at twice the rate of inflation, which is currently 1.9 percent.

- A combined $1.26 million for Michigan State University AgBioResearch and MSU Extension operations

- A combined $6.8 million to hire 50 new Michigan State Police troopers and 80 troopers to replace those lost through attrition.

- $600,000 for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Initiative

- $2.5 million for a Michigan Israel Business Accelerator to further spur investment between the two nations

- $2 million for the "Rising Tide program" that helps smaller rural communities with talent development and economic development.

Besides that, the Governor also announced investments in road funding and K-12 spending that had previously been reported by MIRS (See "Governor Walking Back Private Vendors For Prison Food," 2/6/18).

The Governor had previously said he'd like to raise $79 million in increased landfill dumping fees to clean up contaminated sites, as well as a $5-per-customer water bill fee worth a combined $110 million to put toward water infrastructure improvement projects.

Snyder also wants to use 25 percent of the lapsed funds from Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 to go to the Rainy Day Fund, which is projected to put the $889 million fund at $922, close to the coveted $1 billion number.

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“The Big Lie” topic by Dinesh D’Souza at “Battle Cry Michigan” - 2018 ...

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3rd hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-31-18;

Get your ticket NOW,....this event is going to sell OUT!!!

Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

Corey R. Lewandowski​ - Author of "Let Trump be Trump" will be there too!!! Register at; battlecrymichigan.com

Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 1-30-18; MIRS News Service

Gov Rejects Calls To Temporarily Close Line 5

Gov. Rick SNYDER today said he wouldn't be taking the advice offered by some members of his Pipeline Safety Advisory Board (PSAB), who called for the shutdown of Line 5 until its coating issues could be addressed.

Snyder today announced his official responses to the three resolutions that were said to have been approved by the PSAB at its meeting in December (See "Pipeline Safety Board Adopts Call For Temporary Line 5 Shutdown," 12/11/17).

The resolutions were pushed by a faction of PSAB members, consisting of Jennifer McKAY of Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, Mike SHRIBERG of the National Wildlife Federation and Craig HUPP, the general public representative on the board.

The resolutions surfaced in the wake of Snyder striking a deal with Enbridge in November, which some PSAB members saw as the Governor going over the board's heads, as the PSAB was set up by Snyder to provide him advice on Line 5 and other pipelines (See "Enbridge Deal Keeps Line 5 Open In Possible Underwater Tunnel," 11/27/17).

The resolutions only received supporting votes from McKay, Shriberg, Hupp, Christopher SHEPLER of Shepler's Ferry and Homer MANDOKA of the tribal governments. The rest of the voting board members were state government, Enbridge or Marathon officials, and they all abstained from voting.

Despite this, PSAB Co-Chair Valerie BRADER said at the time that the resolutions passed, despite none of them gaining a majority of the board's support. Snyder said today Brader had been incorrect and that the resolutions needed a majority vote, meaning the resolutions aren't considered official board action.

Shriberg criticized Snyder's assertion in a statement, saying that "means that the advisory board cannot conduct its work. The non-state actors voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolutions, which means that the appointees not directly employed by Governor Snyder agreed. That should be enough to provide critical input to the governor."

The first resolution had called for Enbridge to shut down Line 5 operations in the Straits of Mackinac until all the areas of the pipelines could be inspected and the external coating gaps could be fixed.

Yet, Snyder said inspections and repairs could not be done until the summer, and that an "immediate and unexpected shutdown of the pipeline for several months would very likely create a propane supply crisis."

The Governor also didn't accept the two other resolutions.

The second one called on the state to broaden the standard by which Enbridge would close Line 5 under adverse conditions, proposing to replace "sustained adverse weather conditions" with "significant adverse maritime conditions."

Snyder said "given the amount of negotiating time and effort that went into that specific provision, a request to reopen that provision would be extremely unlikely to result in an agreement to move in the direction envisioned by the resolution."

The last resolution called for a more Michigan-specific analysis of the alternatives to Line 5 that resolution supporters said would address shortcomings in the final edition of the Line 5 alternatives analysis.

The Governor said state agency staff is already working to verify "key Michigan-centric data and assumptions" within the alternatives analysis report.

He also said the state is "considering the possibility of obtaining the services of outside transportation consultants to better define the feasibility and costs of alternatives to meeting Michigan propane and Michigan-produced crude oil transportation needs that would not depend upon Line 5."

Also in his letter to the PSAB, Snyder said he would be reaching out to Enbridge to move the deadline set for action on Line 5 from Aug. 15 back to Sept. 30, based on the fact that the risk analysis being conducted by Dr. Guy MEADOWS of Michigan Technological University won't be done until September.

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2nd half of hour #1 discussion today, Tuesday 1-30-18; MIRS News Service

Cutting Taxes Takes Center Stage At Kent County GOP Debate

Cutting taxes was a main theme of the evening as three Republican candidates for governor -- Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY, Sen. Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton) and Saginaw physician Jim HINES -- met for a debate at the Kent County Republican Headquarters in Grand Rapids this evening.

Asked to provide their record as a tax cutter, Calley was able to claim the cuts put in place working with Gov. Rick SNYDER.

"There are two parts. You want taxes that are as low as possible and you want to have a system that is simple," Calley said. "In Michigan, that is the course that we took. We started right out with a tax cut of $1.2 billion."

He claimed Democrats only accomplished making the bad less bad. "With us, it was a leap to best practice . . . we went from 40th to 11th in our overall business climate. That is because we decided to make it simple, fair and efficient. And we cut taxes $1.2 billion," Calley said.

Colbeck touted his opposition to various taxes that have come up in time in the state Senate.

"I have no problem saying I'm a tax cutter and I have a record to back it up," Colbeck said. "I opposed the senior pension tax. I wrote a letter to leadership at the time identifying $700 million in expense reductions that could be used instead and offset the need for taxes by $300 million. I opposed the health insurance claims assessment. That's one of those little taxes that starts out at one percent, but every time, there is a short fall they find a way to dial it up."

And he brought up the increase in the gas tax.

"Remember Proposal 1? I was probably the most vocal person saying there were other ways to fix our roads without increasing taxes," he said. "That got rejected by 81 percent of the voters. What happened right after that? Within two months, they came up with another tax increase and increased taxes by over $600 million . . . I opposed that as well. And when I oppose things, I provide alternatives."

Hines noted that he didn't have a record as a tax cutter, because he is not a politician.

"When you start raising taxes and regulations, this has a direct effect on what we can do, the number of people that we can employ and at what level we can employ them . . . As you increase the taxes, you have less to do what you want to do," Hines said, saying he favored keeping taxes as low as possible.

"I am so thankful for the Trump tax reform," Hines continued. "We are seeing businesses save money and pass that on to their employees. They are already talking about expanding, so this has been a tremendous boost. And we are see this all across our state."

The forum was the first of a number of forums for the GOP candidates. The next is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Jackson at Weatherwax Hall, 215 W. Michigan Ave.

A third has been scheduled for Feb. 5 at Saginaw Valley State University, although the exact location has yet to be determined. More forums are planned, two in the Upper Peninsula, another in Traverse City and perhaps one more for Oakland County.

Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE was not present at tonight's debate. Luke ARENDS, Executive Director of the Kent GOP, said Schuette's campaign did respond to the invitation to participate, but said the date for the event did not fit into his schedule.

Earlier however, Schuette had called the series of debates "political gimmickry" and "hijinks." "Frankly, I have a job to do and it's time that people get back to work," he said in a radio interview. (See "Schuette Calls Calley-Colbeck-Hines Town Halls 'Political Gimmickry'," 1/9/18).

But the Republican contenders present took the opportunity to put their best arguments forward.

Calley said that when he and Snyder took over the state administration in 2011, the state was "last in every list you want to be first in, and first in every list you want to be last in."

Now the state is at a 17-year low in unemployment, he said. Now, the state is leading the Great Lakes states in inbound people with bachelor degrees.

Colbeck said he's the only candidate who has stayed true the conservative principles that first led him to run for office. He noted that he's been rated the most conservative member of the Senate twice.

"Government works for us, not the other way around," he said.

Hines touted the fact he is not a politician, but a medical doctor, former missionary and a business owner.

"For 38 years, I have been putting my patients first," he said. "As governor, every decision we make, we will ask what the impact will be on the people."

Hines said he is "pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-family and pro-limited government."

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1st half hour of 3rd hour discussion today, Monday 1-29-18;

Get your ticket NOW,....this event is going to sell OUT!!!

Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

Corey R. Lewandowski​ - Author of "Let Trump be Trump" will be there too!!! Register at; battlecrymichigan.com

Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

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2nd hour discussion today, Monday 1-29-18; MIRS News Service

Snyder Considering Action Against Michigan State University Leadership

Action involving the leadership at Michigan State University (MSU) by Gov. Rick SNYDER "is under consideration," Snyder Press Secretary Anna HEATON said today, hours after ESPN released a report about the "widespread denial, inaction and information suppression" at the school involving sexual assaults.

Larry NASSAR's numerous assaults against mainly female gymnasts aside, the ESPN report notes how MSU fought in court to withhold information on alleged sexual assaults and for years steered complaints to the athletic director or coaches.

It quotes the schools' former sexual assault counselor who said complaints were addressed "behind closed doors . . . none of it was transparent or included people who would normally be involved in certain decisions."

"The situation is heartbreaking and unprecedented," Heaton said. "The Governor first needs to consider whether action, if any is taken, would interfere with the myriad investigations already taking place."

The NCAA, Attorney General, the state House, possibly Congress and the U.S. Department of Education are among the entities set to launch inquires into the handling of sexual assault complaints at Michigan State.

Today's remarks are the first indication of Snyder getting involved in the discussion about whether the MSU Board of Trustees should be replaced following Nassar being sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexual assault that may have involved as many as 160 women.

The Board has taken fire, particularly after Trustee Joel FERGUSON referred to the controversy surrounding his school as that "Nassar thing" and sounded generally dismissive about the whole affair during a radio interview.

"There needs to be accountability and when you see the types of comments made by Joel Ferguson, it is contributing to the culture," said Sen. Tonya SCHUITMAKER (R-Lawton), who held sexual assault awareness seminars on college campuses with First Lady Sue SNYDER.

The Board today accepted the resignation of President Lou Anna SIMON. Athletic Director Mark HOLLIS also resigned today. The Speaker of the Michigan House said today all of the eight members of the Board of Trustees should be the next to go.

"This is heartbreaking. This is so much worse than we thought, and it was already unimaginable," said House Speaker Tom LEONARD (R-DeWitt). "Dozens more of these young women were brushed aside and buried by Michigan State University. No one knows how deep this goes and how badly the school failed this community.

"We are trying to bring as much of it to light as possible, but every day that goes by shows how far we have to go."

Under the constitution, the House has the authority to start impeachment hearings against public officials for "corrupt conduct in office" under Article XI, Section 7, but the Constitution also gives authority to the governor under Article V, Section 10 to remove public officers for "gross neglect of duty."

Information gathered by MIRS on Wednesday was that Leonard has not taken impeachment of the board off the table, but hearings weren't imminent either.

Republican political consultant Dennis LENNOX went as far as to sue Snyder earlier this week to get him to take action to remove the board. Today, he wrote:

"The members of the MSU Board of Trustees admitted their inaction contributed to the university's failure to safeguard. It is time for the governor to convene a removal inquiry, pursuant to the Constitution, for gross neglect of duty, malfeasance and misfeasance."

The situation could be tricky or uncomfortable for Snyder considering his director of appointments is Brian BRESLIN, the chair of the MSU Board of Trustees.

The chair the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee, Rep. Kim LASATA (R-St. Joseph) noted that the university board is an independent body and that going beyond asking trustees to resign "gets really tricky."

"We need to be careful. Maybe they should do the right thing and resign," LaSata said. "They were elected. They can recalled. That's an option we have as citizens. For governor to remove them, we have to be very careful with that."

LaSata and House Law and Justice Committee Chair Klint KESTO (R-Commerce Twp.) are in the midst of asking MSU for documents related to the Nassar case, but the ESPN report reinforced her desire to see how the school's athletic department handled other sexual assault cases.

"This isn't just about gymnastics. It's the entire school. If there's football or basketball involved, that should all be part of it," LaSata said.

If Snyder decides to remove members of the board, Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Brandon DILLON said he would "strongly urge" the governor to "not turn this into a partisan issue and keep the political make-up of the board as it is."

"Let the voters decide if they want to make partisan changes," he said.

The eight-member board includes four Republicans and four Democrats. Two terms of two Republicans -- Breslin and Mitch LYONS -- expire at the end of this year. Both have decided not to run for re-election.

Sen. Margaret O'BRIEN (R-Portage) said she was "sick to her stomach" after reading the ESPN report. Asked about the future of the board, she said, "It's not good. The ones I know personally are good people but Joel Ferguson doesn't get it. His comments have been offensive and the rest of the board has been silent and that's being interpreted as silent agreement."

She praised the news media for succeeding in bringing these cases to light where the school and law enforcement officials clearly failed.

"All of this was hidden," she said. "It took Rachel (DENHOLLANDER) going to the Indy Star. Since then, it's been all of you digging this up. If it weren't for the journalists, justice wouldn't have been served."

O'Brien wrapped up an interview with the BBC on the Nassar affair today. BBC reporters told her that they had spoken with victims.

"They said the world is watching," O'Brien said.

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Corey R. Lewandowski​ - Author of "Let Trump be Trump" will be there too!!!

Join us February 2nd and 3rd for Battle Cry Michigan 2018 at Soaring Eagle Casino. The premier gathering of conservatives in the Midwest.

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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-24-18; MIRS News Service

Snyder Tells How Michigan's Comeback Story Is Real

Michigan's "relentlessly positive" governor used his final State of the State address to make the case why the Great Lakes State is better off today than it was when he took over more than seven years ago.

The vast majority of Gov. Rick SNYDER's 53-minute speech heralded "The Michigan Comeback Story" as an example of how civility in government is part of what is making Michigan great. Fighting is for the "beaches of Normandy, not the beaches of Lake Michigan.

"If we can't get along with ourselves, how can we be great?" said Snyder, saying that when a political candidate talks about "fighting," "the red light should be flashing." He asked, "What are we fighting for?"

Asked who Snyder might have been referring to with that comment, possibly Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Gretchen WHITMER, Secretary of State Ruth JOHNSON said, "I think it's directed towards the nation."

Absent from the speech were the sticky issues political opponents will use to paint Snyder's tenure -- the Flint water crisis, the false unemployment fraud charges, the maggots in prisoners' food or the failings at the Grand Rapids Veterans Home.

Rather, Snyder sought to define his two terms early in his speech by holding up two posterized Wall Street Journal editorials, a 2009 piece headlined "The State Of Joblessness, The tragedy of Jennifer Granholm's Michigan" and a 2017 editorial titled, "The Michigan Comeback Story."

In his Democratic response, Senate Minority Leader Jim ANANICH (D-Flint) said "too many working families" aren't seeing the recovery Snyder was pitching.

New Detroit News and WDIV-TV-commissioned polling would seem to side with Ananich, with Snyder's favorability rating underwater -- 35.8 percent to 47.5 percent, despite his job approval rating being split 41.1 percent favorable to 42.6 percent unfavorable.

House Minority Floor Leader Christine GREIG (D-Farmington Hills) noted these types of polling numbers in making the point that fiscal stability in state government isn't translating to economic stability in the minds of Michiganders.

"While Gov. Rick Snyder likes to brag that Michigan is the 'Comeback State,' I've got to wonder what, exactly, that means . . . People aren't a ledger book of debits and credits," she said. "They are families who are concerned about their children's education, seniors who are making desperate decisions between prescriptions and groceries."

In the speech, however, Snyder stuck to the 540,000 new private sector jobs, higher per-capita income and how programs like the Vocational Village in Michigan's prisons and First Robotics has helped residents with first-hand stories.

The speech's most powerful moment came when 2-year-old Jeremiah NELSON, whose severe form of spina bifida keeps him from being able to walk or crawl, drove down the center aisle of the House chambers driving a motorized Power Wheels car retooled by the First Robotics team from Petoskey and Central Lake.

Snyder stopped his speech, stepped down from the rostrum and greeted Nelson and his parents.

"I was extremely touched," said Sen. Wayne SCHMIDT (R-Traverse City). "Jeremiah is truly a story of Michigan's gumption and what we are capable of when we put our minds to accomplishing our goals."

Throughout the speech, Snyder took victory lap after victory lap and Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) said he was glad he did.

"Looking back over the seven and a half years he's been serving I'm very proud to have served with him and the investments we've made in the future the assets we've paid down, the budgets that we've balanced have put Michigan in a place where my kids can have a great future here," he said.

The closest Snyder came to criticism came when he singled out tax cuts or unaccounted-for spending as ideologically driven policies that may have short-term political gains, but long-term fiscal pain.

"We have a broken culture in our political world where it's OK to say we can spend money or we can cut taxes now for short-term benefit and leave the bill to our kids," Snyder said. "I don't think that's right either. If we're going to do something, let's make sure we're paying for it."

The comment was likely a swipe at Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial Bill SCHUETTE, who spent the afternoon heralding tax cuts in his released comments and Republican lawmakers who are pushing the envelope on income tax exemptions in recent weeks.

Snyder recognized Lt. Gov. and GOP gubernatorial candidate Brian CALLEY's work on opioid abuse prevention. But otherwise, used his own legacy to subtly infer that his second in charge would be best in terms of solving "real problems with real solutions" as opposed to "forcing ideological solutions on one another" after his term ends in 343 days.

As is common for this governor, Snyder rushed through or breezed past his major policy initiatives for 2018.

If you'd run to the bathroom, you might have missed his desire for a "Marshall Plan" on talent in Michigan's workforce, the highest per-pupil funding increase in 15 years, a new way to clean up industrial brownfields, a recycling initiative, stopping Asian carp, more money for water infrastructure and roads and addressing an emerging chemical pollutant known as "PFAS."

The other piece of news is Snyder plans on breaking ground on and starting construction on the Gordie Howe Bridge, the second span across the Detroit River, an initiative he launched in his 2011 State of the State address.

The Dr. Larry NASSAR scandal at Michigan State University was mentioned in brief, when Snyder recognized his wife, Sue SNYDER, for her work in addressing sexual assaults on college campus through a bipartisan effort that spent grants on education and victim support.

"Let us also apply a similar commitment in the Nassar case and reach out to support the courageous survivors and ensure that cases like this never happen again," he said.

The quirky governor had another strange "Snyderism" that has become commonplace for the "One Tough Nerd." After mentioning Michigan's growing wine and hard cider industry, Snyder enthusiastically blurted, "So get out there and check out those grapes."

Among those mentioned during today's speech were Detroit Mayor Mike DUGGAN, Flint Mayor Karen WEAVER and Charlotte Mayor Tim LEWIS.

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Our 3rd hour discussion, 1st half hour today, Tuesday 1-23-18;

Norm Kammeraad called in to talk about the petition drive to put Part-Time Legislature on our November's general election ballot, which needs YOU to help get more signatures for this effort!!!

Call them today to get petition sheets mailed directly to you;
616.560.2708 and leave a message with your Name, Address and how many sheets you want mailed to your home or office.

Thank you for your time and efforts!!! ~ "Trucker Randy"

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2nd hour discussion today, Tuesday 1-23-18;

Call your State Rep. & State Senator and tell them to DEFUND Michigan State University until their current President - Lou Anna K. Simon is FIRED!!!

DO IT TODAY,...as a former Spartan I am fully disgusted and outraged that Dr. Larry Nassar abused young women under her watch!!! No MONEY for MSU, until she is FIRED!!!

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1ST AND 3RD HOUR DISCUSSION, today Friday, 1-19-18;

Call the Capitol - Washington D.C.'s "Switchboard" at;
202.224.3121 (STORE THAT NUMBER) and Hit "Zero" 0
to be connected to a LIVE OPERATOR,...then ask for the "Senate Majority Leader's Office";

Tell them to "eliminate the 60 Rule, and pass the bill with a Simple Majority tonight"!!!

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Our 2nd hour discussion today, Monday 1-15-18; MIRS News Service

AG's Office Has 3X More GOP Delegates Than SOS

Attorney General Bill SCHUETTE's department has three times the number of past or present Republican precinct delegates or alternates on staff than that of fellow statewide elected official Secretary of State Ruth JOHNSON, even though Johnson's department has almost three times more employees.

After comparing lists of recent GOP precinct delegates and alternates to staff lists of state agencies, MIRS found at least 24 individuals who have worked in the Department of Attorney General who were also on GOP precinct delegate lists from 2017 and 2015. The Department of State listed at least seven such employees.

Of the 24 identified delegates or alternates in the AG's office, seven appeared on a similar AG staff list from 2010, meaning the rest -- 17 people -- have come on since Schuette took office as AG in 2011.

"It's not unusual that those who defend the Constitution chose to exercise their First Amendment rights of assembly and free speech, on both sides of the aisle," said Schuette spokesperson Andrea BITELY said in a statement today.

While the Executive Office has considerably fewer employees than either of those agencies, MIRS identified eight recent delegates or alternates who are also on staff for either Gov. Rick SNYDERor Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY.

In Calley's shop, four of the six employees attributed to him also served as GOP delegates or alternates in recent years. MIRS also reviewed former Calley staffers like Jenell LEONARD and Nat FORSTNER and found Leonard was a precinct delegate in 2015 and 2017, and a Calley spokesperson confirmed Forstner was an alternate in 2014.

In an effort to get a better scope of politically involved people who are also working for the four statewide elected officials, MIRS acquired and analyzed the state GOP's 2017 and 2015 delegate and alternate lists along with current staff lists for the offices of Schuette, Johnson, Snyder and Calley.

All four of those elected officials have served as precinct delegates in recent years, and were not included in the final tallies with their staff. Of the statewide officials, three are seeking another office -- Schuette and Calley are both running for governor, while Johnson is seeking a term in the state Senate.

Matt GROSSMANN, director of Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, said there's a lot of crossover between the types of people who end up being political appointees and those who are valuable in political campaigns.

Still, Grossmann said the matching names aren't necessarily evidence of corruption or politicization of those offices.

The recent staff list for the Department of Attorney General -- pulled from December 2017 -- listed 548 individuals. The staff list for the Department of State, which included the various branch office employees, numbered 1,555 employees.

For that fact alone, Bill BALLENGER, head of The Ballenger Report, said the number of delegates found in the AG's office isn't very significant in his eyes. If being a precinct delegate or alternate delegate is a measure of Republican Party involvement, that means just under 5 percent of people who work in the AG's office fall into that category.

Further, Ballenger theorized that a large number of SOS employees are career types working in the branch offices, and he "doubts these people are political at all." He said it's "conceivable" that the AG's office has more lawyers and others that "could have some avowed interest in politics and government beyond just being bureaucrats, which is what you probably have in the Secretary of State's office."

State employees are not barred from being precinct delegates for any party -- or vice versa -- and they're not allowed to conduct political business on state time. The state constitution bars appointments, promotions, demotions or removals in classified service for partisan considerations, and civil service rules prohibit discrimination based on partisan considerations.

But Schuette in particular has still come under fire from a Detroit Free Press article for a number of hires he's made and of others working on his state staff who also do time on his campaign.

Critics -- ranging from Calley and other gubernatorial candidates to Progress Michigan -- have called on Schuette to pull those campaign staffers off the public payroll (See "Calley Calls On Schuette Over Campaign Staff Issue," 1/5/18).

"Forcing taxpayers to subsidize any officeholder's political ambition is a clear and disturbing breach of the public's trust," Calley said. "Attorney General Schuette should immediately move the gubernatorial campaign field staff exposed in the story off the government payroll and refund the state for all taxpayer funds that were misspent on political purposes."

Democratic Attorney General hopeful Pat MILES has gotten into the act, as well saying Schuette's hiring practices are "outrageous and an enormous breach of trust with the taxpayers . . . The Attorney General is the top law enforcement in the state, and citizens deserve to have an AG whose top priority is protecting and serving the people, not their political career."

Bitely had told the Free Press they've hired people not for their political considerations but because of their qualifications.

The Free Press named several people who work on Schuette's campaign or have been politically active with the GOP. Most, if not all, were also on the GOP precinct or alternate delegate lists that MIRS reviewed.

They include Dennis STARNER, Judith SCHWALBACH and Brandon SINCLAIR, who have received reimbursements from his campaign or had some other role with the campaign.

Typically, most of the delegates or alternates working in the state offices were senior-level staff.

On Schuette's team, for instance, that included folks like long-time Schuette allies and past campaign operatives like Rusty HILLS and John SELLEK -- directors of public affairs and public relations, respectively -- and the same could be said for Johnson's Mike SENYKO or Kieran MARION, the senior chief deputy director and senior policy executive, respectively.

Both Schuette's primary media contact, Bitely, as well as Johnson's media contact, Fred WOODHAMS, were listed as delegates in recent years. Snyder and Calley's media personnel were not found to be delegates.

That high-level staff were the ones showing up as delegates was a significant point for Ballenger, who said, "I'm not going to say is grounds for suspicion, but it's grounds to make a conclusion that it seems that these people are more inclined to be political activists" and are surrounding the state officials they're working for and on behalf of.

Ballenger also said not all precinct delegates are created equal.

Some might not be full-out party activists, rather, just the next-door neighbor of a party chair who needed some help filling out some delegate slots.

Then there are others who are really involved in district and county conventions, with politics being "their meat and potatoes," Ballenger said, making those delegates "a lot more significant."

With the analysis came some caveats. MIRS was not able to contact every matched name between the delegates list and the state staff list to make sure they were the same person.

Not every delegate had listed personal contact info, and state employees are typically directed to steer any media requests to their respective communications offices.

And one of the delegates that came up on the SOS list was Norm SHINKLE, an active GOP operative who is listed as a "per diem employee" as a member of the Board of State Canvassers (BSC), so it's not like he's a full-time employee of the SOS.

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3rd hour discussion today, Friday 1-12-18;

Meet & Greets set up in Northern Michigan for Patrick Colbeck to be Michigan's next Governor!!!

Saturday - Traverse City 5-7 pm at La Senoritas on Garfield (North of Cherry Capital Airport).

Monday - Cheboygan 5-6 pm at Cheboygan County Republican Party's headquarters (215 N. Main Street - across from the Post Office);


Meet & Greet - Patrick Colbeck for Governor!

January 13, 2018, 5:00pm - January 13, 2018, 6:00pm

Michigan's State Senator - Patrick Colbeck will be in Traverse City to meet and greet everyone who would like to hear his policy platform to truly fix Michigan with his "Principled Solutions" as our next Governor!!!

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1st hour discussion today, Friday 1-12-18; MIRS News Service

Personal Exemption Talk Up, Income Tax Cut Talk Down

Senate Finance Committee Chair Jack BRANDENBURG (R-Harrison Twp.) one-upped Gov. Rick SNYDER and Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY today by proposing a heightened personal property tax exemption of $4,800 by 2021, $300 more than the administration's proposal.

The proposal comes as key legislators and the administration back away from any talk of lowering the state's 4.25 percent income tax in the face of a projected windfall from President Donald TRUMP's federal income tax change because Michigan's sputtering General Fund is showing turtle-slow revenue growth.

Legislative leaders are beginning to resign themselves to the reality that an income tax cut wasn't in the cards last year and it's not in the cards this year.

"I don't think the idea of tax relief is in the forefront of our minds right now," said House Appropriations Committee Chair Laura COX (R-Livonia).

Rather, the focus has moved to the personal income tax exemption, which the Snyder administration fears is going away with the Trump tax plan. He wants to restore it back to $4,300 personal exemption and then increase it to $4,500 (See "Snyder, Calley Team Increase Personal Exemption to $4,500," 1/8/18).

Brandenburg's newly introduced SB 0780 would do the same thing but, in addition, hike the exemption by $100 per-year over the next three years, while remaining tied to inflation.

"Michigan residents have not had any real tax relief over the past 20 years," Brandenburg told reporters on the Senate floor this morning. "I think the Governor is right when he says his cut would mean about $35 more for a family of four. Ours would go past $80 and up to about $100 over the next three years. It's not the greatest thing in the world but it's responsible."

According to information from Brandenburg's office, the possibility that the exemption increase could eventually mean more than nearly $100 for a family of four was based on a different set of numbers than those that have been used by the Governor.

Brandenburg was asked if he thought Gov. Snyder would be supportive of SB 0780.

"I don't know why he'd object," Brandenburg replied.

Reporters then asked Brandenburg if he thought the current push to cut taxes was "playing" into the GOP gubernatorial race.

"I think their plan played into the governor's race," Brandenburg said. "That just gave me the idea to boost it up."

In response to reporter questions concerning theories that the federal tax changes do not zero-out Michigan's tax exemption, Brandenburg said he couldn't figure out what those claims are based on (See "Mitchell Says Calley 'Dead Wrong' On Tax Fix," 1/10/18).


"I've heard that argument," Brandenburg said. "I'll tell you this -- our state tax law is very straight-forward, and on exemptions it follows along with what the federal number is."

Reporters asked Senate Majority Leader Arlan MEEKHOF (R-West Olive) to comment on Brandenburg's plan.

"Chairman Brandenburg has worked very hard with his group," Meekhof said. "He's already scheduled a hearing [on the bill] for next Tuesday."

In response to reporters asking how he thought Gov. Snyder would react to Brandenburg's bill, Meekhof said: "I don't know why the Governor would object to giving people back their own money."

Weighing in from the opposite perspective, Gilda JACOBS, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, issued a press release today arguing that this is no time for an "irresponsible election year tax cut." Her group supports the Snyder/Calley proposal, opposes any tax cut talk and was silent on Brandenburg's accelerated exemption idea.

"This morning's numbers show that lawmakers need to carefully consider what lies ahead," Jacobs is quoted as saying in the release. "The state's General Fund will be strained over the coming years by potential federal cuts and by funds already committed to roads and tax relief for businesses.

"Some elected officials in Michigan still have tax cut fever in 2018 and are thinking more about the ballot box than balance sheets, but they need to understand that there's no money or political will to do that."

Budget Director Al PSCHOLKA observes that there is "moderate growth" and one of the question marks is taxes and efforts in some circles to rollback the income tax rate.

"Once you start rolling back the income tax rate, you're going to put solid pressure on the General Fund," he warns.

House Tax Policy Chair Jim TEDDER(R-Clarkston) signaled earlier this week that he'd like to take another run at a rate cut (See "Tedder: Use $1.5B For Rollback," 1/10/18).

But Pscholka said he'd prefer to leave the rate along for now.

"Please look at the data," he offered, referring to budget data that suggests the state has other baked-in budget costs that must be met first.

He advised that at the end of the day, the state has to have a "balanced budget."

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3rd hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-10-18; MIRS News Service

Bentivolio Wins Straw Poll Following GOP MI-11 Debate

Former U.S. Rep. Kerry BENTIVOLIO won Monday night's straw poll of attendees at the Michigan Conservative Coalition's (MCC's) Republican 11th Congressional district debate at Novi's Emagine Theater.

Asked for whom they would vote after the night's performance, 33.8 percent selected Bentivolio.

Former state representative Rocky RACZKOWSKI was second with 31.9 percent, and 28.1 percent picked Vesco Oil official Lena EPSTEIN.

Also participating in the debate were small business entrepreneur Kristine BONDS, Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt HEISE and state Rep. Klint KESTO (R-Commerce Twp.) (See "Immigration, Support For President Top Issues In 11th Congressional Debate," 1/8/18).

Even with the April 24 filing deadline more than three months away, GOP supporters filled the 336-seat theater to capacity, not counting the candidates, questioners and volunteers.

"Tonight's victory told me that experience matters, fighting for conservative values matters, and fighting for America matters," said Bentivolio told the MCC after the results were announced at the candidate post-debate reception. "Tomorrow is another day and there are more battles to fight and win."

Bentivolio hasn't always done well at the ballot box. The "accidental congressman" won his seat in 2012 when then-U.S. Rep. Thad McCOTTER was kicked off the ballot in a petition signature scandal. U.S. Rep. David TROTT (R-Birmingham) took the seat away from him in the next election. Trott's decision not to seek re-election this year is what has set off this high interest race.

In any case, Bentivolio started off the evening Monday with a high point during introductions.

"The hardest part I have is getting people to pronounce my name correctly. You've got to sing it when you say it. Bentivolio. You try," he said, point the microphone at the audience. "I can't hear you, what? . . . Who scored as a congressman the second-most transparent member? . . . Who got a 100 percent rating for cutting spending? . . . "

In all, he got the crowd to shout his name back to him five times. One audience member thought out loud, "very clever."

During the pre-debate schmooze-fest, Bentivolio worked the crowd heavily, walking up and down the aisles of the theater introducing himself and chatting with those he knew.

But the award for most active schmoozer, by reporter observation, would probably go to Epstein. With a large contingent of supporters working the crowd and a table in the center of the lobby area, Epstein spent the warm-up time shaking hands, hugging supporters and posing for photos. When the crowd mostly had entered the theater, she moved in there and continued to work the room.

Raczkowski also had a table and his own contingent in the lobby. He worked the lobby hard and then the theater, shaking hands and greeting supporters.

Kesto was also spotted midway through the prelims working the theater aisles.

Lower on the schmooze ranking would be Heise, who spent most of the warm-up time hanging out in front of the debate stage, staying out of the way of the higher traffic areas like the lobby and hallway into the theater.

Bonds, a newcomer-to-politics, was hard to find. When a reporter had organizers point her out, she was seated in the far corner seat at the front of the theater. After an affable handshake and an attempt engage in chit-chat, one of her handlers shooed the reporter away, asking him to talk to her after the event. She was "preparing for the debate," he said.

Kesto's knowledgeable performance during questioning was marred only slightly during introductions -- the moderator skipped his name. He could only shrug. But Raczkowski played on it later in the evening, pretending to hand the mic past Kesto during questioning.

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1st hour discussion today, Wednesday 1-10-18; MIRS News Service

SOS Widening Net On Prevailing Wage Repeal Signatures

The Bureau of Elections is taking a closer look at the prevailing wage repeal folks' petitions after its preliminary review was inconclusive as to whether they had the signatures needed to make the Nov. 6 ballot.

Of the 535 Protecting Michigan Taxpayers (PMT) signatures the Secretary of State sampled, 370 were found to be valid, fewer than the 373 required by the Board of State Canvassers' statistical model, according to Fred WOODHAMS of the Secretary of State's office.

In response, the Bureau of Elections will go through 4,000 signatures and then recommend whether the petition be approved or denied. There will be no third sample, Woodhams said.

In their second crack at trying to eliminate the state's prevailing wage law through a citizens' initiative, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)-based PMT turned in 380,000 signatures in November (See "Prevailing Wage Repealers Say They've Submitted 380K Signatures," 11/3/17).

PMT President Jeff WIGGINS said he "can't emphasize enough" that the signatures are there to move the question of prevailing wage repeal to the Legislature. If 370 of the 535 sampled signatures were found sufficient, that's 69 percent. If used on the entire 380,000 collected, PMT has 262,803 valid signatures, more than the 252,523 valid signatures needed.

"This is a procedural hurdle," Wiggins said. "I can't argue with their procedure and I can understand why they'd want to be 100 percent sure. I have no qualms about that. But this will show we have the necessary signatures."

Patrick DEVLIN, secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Building and Constructors Trades Association, said his group also saw the types of anomalies the Bureau of Elections flagged that "led us to believe this happened again."

PMT failed to turn in the needed number of signatures in 2015 after an aggressive campaign effort (See "Prevailing Wage Repealers Starting From Scratch On Ballot Initiative," 10/30/15).

This go around, the Builders and Contractors' attorney, John PIRICH, argued that just 303 of the 535 sample signatures were valid (See "Challenge To Prevailing Wage Repeal Again Says They're Short Sigs," 12/28/17).

"I applaud the rigorous efforts of the Secretary of State's office to guard our state's democracy from fly-by-night operations looking to gut our state's skilled workforce by repealing the prevailing wage," said Mike JACKSON, executive secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights. "Repealing the prevailing wage would be a major setback to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce in Michigan, and I am pleased to see these efforts delayed."

The state's prevailing wage law requires that workers on public infrastructure projects be paid a wage that represents the region's prevailing wage on similar projects. PMT argues repealing the law would save taxpayers money. Organized labor said ditching the law would result in shoddy work done by disinterested out-of-state workers.

The Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council is sponsoring an 8 a.m. rally in front of the Capitol on Wednesday morning, at which Devlin is expecting about 1,000 participants.

The rally in support of the prevailing wage law was originally scheduled on the premise that the Board of State Canvassers would pass the initiative along to the Legislature. Due to today's development, this will not be the case.

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2nd hour discussion today, Monday 1-8-18; MIRS News Service

Sessions Decision Could Open Door To Federal Pot Raids In MI

U.S. Attorney General Jeff SESSIONS' reversal of a Obama-era marijuana policy that kept federal officers away from states that legalized and regulated pot could open the door to federal raids on marijuana businesses deemed legal in Michigan, according to Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) spokesperson Morgan FOX.

Fox said individual U.S. Attorneys will now enforce marijuana laws as "they see fit within their districts," meaning "They could send threatening letters or they could send in SWAT teams."

"Individual U.S. Attorneys could decide intelligently that it is a waste of resources to go after individuals and businesses that are in compliance with state law," Fox explained. "But this is definitely sending a very clear political signal to them that leadership in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and, in particular, Jeff Sessions want them to start going after these businesses. Given that the majority of Americans want marijuana to be legal and that these businesses are creating jobs and paying taxes and keeping a large portion of the marijuana market out of the hands of criminals, I think there is going to be tremendous political backlash."

Josh HOVEY, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), said the feds can't crack down on local medical marijuana users or businesses because of a budget amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which prohibits DOJ from spending money to enforce federal prohibitions in states that have legalized, and regulated, medical marijuana.

True enough, according to Fox. But that amendment currently is set to expire in just 15 days.

"Right now, there is actually a spending amendment that prevents the Department of Justice -- it's not a policy guideline, it is binding -- that prevents the Department of Justice from spending any resources to go after medical marijuana patients or providers in states where it is legal," Fox said. "However, those protections are set to expire on Jan. 19 unless Congress includes them again in the fiscal year 2018 spending budget or there is a continuing resolution that continues the current levels of spending for another couple weeks while we keep working on the issue."

Congressional leadership must reauthorize the amendment, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved it but the House Rules Committee held it and other budget amendments back. House and Senate leadership will decide the issue when they meet to reconcile the appropriations bills.

Since 2013, DOJ has operated under guidance given in a document known as the Cole Memo, which directed U.S. Attorneys to not enforce federal marijuana laws in states where medical marijuana is legal as long as eight public safety criteria are met.

Sessions issued a new directive today, instructing U.S. Attorneys to use their discretion on the matter, essentially rescinding the Cole Memo.

"My guess is they have more pressing issues than going after what is now a pretty tightly controlled medical marijuana industry in Michigan, and what we are proposing will also be very tightly controlled," Hovey said.

Hovey's CRMLA has submitted petitions to put the question of legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use on the ballot in 2018 (See "Marijuana Coalition Submits 365,000 Signatures To Bureau of Elections," 11/20/17).

Meanwhile, the Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has been working to revamp the state medical marijuana licensing program (See "Three Apps Completed On Medical Marijuana Program Opening Day," 12/15/17).

LARA Public Information Officer David HARMS issued statements in reaction to the Sessions announcement.

"As a state, Michigan has recognized and authorized the use of medical marihuana pursuant to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) and has tasked LARA with administering the registration process for patients and caregivers. We will continue accepting and processing applications for registry identification cards. Any questions regarding enforcement of federal law should be directed to federal authorities," he said.

Regarding facilities, he said: "The Michigan Legislature has authorized the licensing of medical marihuana facilities and has required a rigorous statewide monitoring system to help keep Michigan's citizens safe. LARA . . . will continue to move forward in accepting and processing applications for state operating licenses."

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