Public sector

Citizens cannot do their job of running their government if they don’t know what their public servants are doing. Bridge will take you beyond the political food fights into the policy decisions that affect everyday life.

Michigan prosecutors defying U.S. Supreme Court on ‘juvenile lifers’

The U.S. Supreme Court has instructed states that only “rare” circumstances should keep juvenile offenders in prison for life. Despite this ruling, prosecutors across Michigan have filed petitions seeking to hold most juvenile lifers behind bars until they die.

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In prison for decades, one juvenile lifer’s quest for redemption

Convicted of a Macomb County murder in 1992, Bosie Smith, now 41, has earned consistent praise for his leadership from prison staff and even a former warden.




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Amid opioid crisis, few doctors use Michigan’s outdated drug monitoring tool

Michigan’s online system is supposed to detect physicians and patients who abuse prescription painkillers. But the current version is so slow most doctors don’t even bother. And a bill to update the system hardly seems a cure-all.




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Map: Addiction’s deadly trail

Michigan has not been left out of the opioid epidemic that has engulfed the nation in recent years.




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Northern Michigan counties vulnerable to HIV, hepatitis C outbreaks

Federal public health officials say 11 poor and rural Michigan counties share characteristics that make them ripe for illness, much of it stemming from drug abuse.




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Map: Michigan counties share growing HIV risk

Eleven counties in rural northern Michigan are vulnerable to an HIV outbreak, according to the CDC




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How secret donors tried to shape Michigan’s next House GOP caucus

Mystery groups funded attacks against at least 7 GOP candidates for the state House before the recent primary. State campaign finance law makes it difficult to know who is funding these attacks.




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Politics meets facts on free-trade deals in Michigan

Expect plenty of anti-free-trade rhetoric this fall as the Clinton-Trump presidential campaign hits Michigan. But the economic record doesn’t quite match the rhetoric.




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The email trail of the latest workers charged in the Flint water crisis

Bridge Magazine culled its comprehensive timeline of the Flint lead-poisoning scandal for emails relating to the six state health and environmental workers charged Friday with criminal conduct.




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Missing in action: Michigan’s primary voters

Dozens of state House primary races will likely shape both parties for years to come. And yet 4-in-5 voters are expected to stay home on Aug. 2.




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Amid guns and violence and police shootings, a program that works

Operation Ceasefire, designed to get police and young people talking and taking responsibility, has shown results in cities across the nation. Kalamazoo is betting it can work there, too.




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As hunting wanes, selling Michigan to a new outdoors generation

Critics say the state must better promote a $19-billion industry built on biking, kayaking and other pursuits to attract young adventurists, and residents. More REI than Cabela’s.




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Blue-collar Duluth transformed by outdoor tourism economy

A once-declining industrial city now breathes new life by banking on its outdoor recreation assets




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Bridge book on Flint crisis offers lessons on government failure

“Poison on Tap,” the first book released on Flint’s lead-poisoning disaster, shows how a series of government missteps left children in this impoverished city with a lifetime of heartache. A portion of book sales will go to help those children.




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Michigan balks at rule shortening full-contact practice for high school football

A new guideline recommends no more than 90 minutes of hitting a week to reduce brain injury, but official policy still allows up to six hours. That’s six times what Ohio and Wisconsin allow.




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City dwellers came for the tax breaks. Will they stay when breaks expire?

Cities like Detroit, Grand Rapids and Muskegon lured young professionals to struggling neighborhoods with tax breaks that allowed them to pay a pittance in taxes for beautiful homes or condos. Should those breaks be extended?




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Live free and die: Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law four years later

In 2015, Michigan recorded the highest number of motorcycle deaths in 30 years, with an average of 14 more deaths annually since a law requiring helmets was dropped. Lansing has no interest in revisiting the helmet law.




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Bipartisan bill to make governor, lawmakers subject to open records law in doubt

After disclosure of government incompetence in Flint, there were passionate calls for Michigan to join 48 other states in making the governor and legislature subject to the state’s public records laws. But House and Senate leaders remain reluctant.




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