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 gets serious about high cost of prisons

Michigan prisons have increased seven-fold as a percentage of the state’s budget since 1980. Michigan also holds prisoners behind bars far longer than other states, a cost that conservatives say the state can no longer afford.

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Judge haunted by 26-year-old conviction

In 1988, Judge Norman Lippitt sentenced Karen Kantzler to life in prison for killing her husband, who she said was abusive. Lippitt never imagined she would actually spend her life behind bars.

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Conservatives seek to lead on prison reform

Republicans are rethinking the wisdom of “tough-on-crime” formulas of the past, as they eye alternatives to incarceration.

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Are Michigan’s restrictions on gay and abortion rights holding state back?

Recent restrictions on gay rights and abortion coverage in Michigan raise questions about whether these laws are stunting the state’s economic recovery, and making it more difficult to attract talent.

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Gay and abortion rights laws at issue in Michigan

Debate over gay and abortion rights has been percolating in the Michigan Legislature and courts for years. Here are some key issues and legislation that have framed the debate

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What Michigan women want

New restrictions on abortion ignite debate over state’s ability to attract women to Michigan jobs

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Tom McMillin: Tea Party conservative, ACLU sympathizer

Anti-tax. Anti-gay. Anti-Obamacare. That’s all you need to know about brash Tea Party favorite Tom McMillin. Or is it? A growing chorus of progressives are finding common bond with the Rochester Hills Republican.

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What Tom McMillin wants

The brash Republican hasn’t had much legislation signed into law, but it’s not for lack of effort. McMillin’s nearly 200 bills and resolutions span the political spectrum, from deeply conservative efforts to restrict abortion and gay rights, to strange-bedfellows alliances with the ACLU and progressive Democrats on civil liberties issues.

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What business wants from Detroit’s next mayor

Bridge contributor Amy Lane talked to Business Leaders for Michigan CEO Doug Rothwell about the results of a new Detroit mayoral election poll, commissioned by BLM and The Center for Michigan. Bridge: What is the business community looking for in a new […]

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Why ‘dark money’ matters when you stand before a Michigan judge

The State Bar of Michigan this month urged Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to require everyone who contributes money to Michigan judicial campaigns to be publicly identified. It said a 2004 decision by then-Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land allowing those who […]

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New Michigan Scorecard: Five years later, state still stuck in neutral

Despite a rebounding auto industry and real estate prices beginning to turn around, Michigan is barely moving the needle in many other quality of life rankings against other states. That’s the somewhat humbling message of this year’s Michigan Scorecard, compiled through a […]

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Michigan Scorecard solutions elude policymakers

This year’s Michigan Scorecard shows the state needs to boost educational performance, reduce poverty, repair crumbling roads and trim the percentage of residents without health insurance. Fortunately, there are proposals in Lansing that would address those issues that affect the quality of […]

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The Tea Party’s tepid relations with Michigan business groups

As the Tea Party has gained political profile and headlines, it has crossed swords with business groups that would seem to be natural allies in the push for conservative policies. “Long before the Tea Party, the business community was the voice of […]

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Tea Party teamwork: money and foot soldiers

A Tea Party member had a question for the moderator of a recent meeting. “Can’t we get rid of all these lobbyists?” he asked. Why can’t we outlaw them, he wondered, run them out of the state capitol and break the backs […]

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Michigan’s Tea Party battles for GOP’s soul

It’s the second Saturday of August, as a group of political newcomers gathers in a classroom of a Baptist school near Lansing. They are plotting a political coup. Among their many goals, they want to dump Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and […]

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Kitchen table politics: Tea Party leverages social media to advance causes

From a corner of her dining room, Joan Fabiano directs a Tea Party group she founded called Grassroots in Michigan. “This is command central,” she said, pointing to a desktop computer on a small table. She has no budget, no bylaws, no […]

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Michigan draws thin in new, high-stakes Indian casino tax negotiations

After 20 years of legalized Indian casino gambling in Michigan, the state is trying to claw back a piece of the action from six tribes as high-stakes talks to extend gaming compacts proceed. At stake: A share of a multi-billion-dollar industry and […]

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State seeks tighter oversight of Indian casinos’ local revenue sharing

Since Indian casino gambling in Michigan began in 1994, seven tribes have doled out more than $200 million in communities surrounding their casinos.  It was widely presumed, under a federal decree governing these payouts, that 2 percent of slot machine and video […]

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