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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.

From lawmaker to lobbyist. Should the state slow down the revolving door?

Most states have a “cooling-off” period before a departing lawmaker can become a lobbyist. Not so in Michigan, where most who take the leap are lobbying their former colleagues within six months.

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The Michigan counties most vulnerable if Obamacare is repealed

Nearly a million residents now get healthcare through the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid expansion, coverage that faces an uncertain future if Obamacare is scrapped with no replacement. At highest risk: several counties that voted for Trump.




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Repeal Obamacare? Michigan delegation split…and a bit vague

Thousands of residents in each Michigan congressional district get health insurance through either Medicaid expansion or a government-run exchange. Here’s how their Washington representatives stand on repeal of the Affordable Care Act.




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We hope you enjoyed your stay at the county jail. Here’s your bill.

Michigan’s county jails charge inmates up to $50 per day for housing, fees that can saddle ex-offenders with five-figure debt loads.




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Voting without an ID? Not a big problem in most of Michigan

The legislature wants to make it harder to vote without state-approved photo ID. But based on data from the most recent election, few voters did so.




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State sheds little light on troubled prison transport firm

Michigan uses a for-profit company that’s been accused in the death, injury and abuse of prisoners, while other prisoners have escaped. State prison officials don’t want to talk about it.




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Steps Michigan can take to make prisoner transportation more secure

To reduce injuries, deaths, escapes and lawsuits involving for-profit prison transport companies, state prison officials could consider these recommendations.




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The price of Michigan’s cash bail system

Critics say locking up criminal defendants before trial because they can’t post bond screws the poor while needlessly raising jail costs borne by taxpayers. Is there a better way?




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Six ways Tuesday’s election may change Michigan

From health insurance costs to road repairs to Rick Snyder losing the last of his mojo, Tuesday’s election is likely to have a huge impact on the Michigan Legislature




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Dewey defeats Truman 2.0, and why so many pollsters were blindsided by Trump

Polling is scientific – really. But its accuracy depends on skillful practices, which can be constrained by outside pressures like time and money.




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State House bill takes partisanship out of some primaries

Why do we require local sheriffs, prosecutors and clerks to declare a party affiliation in the primaries? One U.P. representative lobbies to end this practice in a Bridge Q-and-A.




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Rural Michigan thumbs nose at Clinton, backs Trump

Donald Trump steamrolled Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in midsize to smaller counties across the state, flipping many that voted for President Obama in previous campaigns.




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Got polling fever? Five points for surviving until the election results tonight

Anxiety-inducing polls are driving Americans to the edge. One expert explains how today’s polls work – and don’t work – and how best to read them.




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How accurately have polls predicted the presidential race

Individual polls can vary to a maddening degree, but the average of final national polls tallied at the RealClearPolitics.com website has been fairly accurate in the past three presidential elections.




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Trump or Clinton in Mitten? What past elections tell us

How Michigan may play a pivotal role in presidential election: It could be firewall for Clinton or the fulcrum of a Trump shocker.




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Promised water infrastructure investment comes only in drips

Remember when Flint’s crisis had everybody calling for upgrades to pipes and mains? That’ll be very expensive, and the new Great Lakes Water Authority has lots of other problems to address.




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In Lansing, where potentially self-serving votes run ‘rampant’

Michigan’s failure to pass a conflict-of-interest law allows legislators to cast votes even when they appear to have a financial interest.




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15 lawmakers and their potential conflicts of interest

What’s a conflict of interest, and what isn’t? You decide.




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