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 primaries – where democracy goes to die

Primary voters in Dickinson County will go the polls Tuesday; probably in the same sedan. A county-by-county guide to voter apathy in Michigan.

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See how YOUR county (doesn’t) vote

Go to Bridge’s voter turnout map to see how your county turns out to vote in past primary elections

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The three worst political ads of 2014

Among dozens of ads this election cycle, a trio earned Michigan Truth Squad’s dreaded “flagrant foul” citation.

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Even with no opposition, is Proposal 1 in trouble?

Support from Republicans and Democrats. More than $8 million in spending. No organized opposition. Why is the public skeptical?

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A Republican civil war plays out in Michigan

Michigan GOP primary foes wage a battle of ideas and tone, echoing similar struggles within the party in Washington and elsewhere.

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A primer for a primary with national themes

Close races, marijuana referendums, a southeast Michigan mass transit tax proposal and a statewide business tax issue highlight the Aug. 5 ballot.

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Obamacare giveth, but courts could taketh away

A federal court case could set the stage for the repeal of Obamacare tax credits, and drastically raise health-care costs for 250,000 Michigan residents. A final decision is likely a year away.

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Q&A: Home is what you make it

There are many cities that can be improved with planning that turns public spaces into the heart of those communities. Michigan’s “placemaking” chief explains how.

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Emergency manager or emperor? Why Michigan’s law stirs contempt

Michigan has one of the most aggressive receivership laws in the nation, giving emergency managers extraordinary power in distressed communities, but leaving hard feelings in their wake. Other states have had a smoother ride by involving elected leaders in turnaround plans, rather than shuttling them to the sideline.

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Politicos were out to get me, says emergency manager

Benton Harbor’s first emergency manager sidelined elected officials and a public war soon followed. EMs have authority to make the hard cuts that elected leaders won’t, but entrenched politics are harder to ax.

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Political reformers, with hardly a friend across the aisle, press on in Michigan

Redistricting reform, election reform and finance reform all have their supporters in Michigan, but most have Ds after their name.

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3 hot political reforms not heading Michigan’s way

Efforts aimed at making voting easier, races more competitive and political money easier to track are gaining steam elsewhere.

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Obamacare booms in Michigan, but wide differences in policy rates raise new questions

After a disastrous launch, Michigan residents are flocking to the Affordable Care Act. Yet the rates all those newly insured vary widely depending on where you live. A lack of competition in some local markets raises questions on why the same kinds of coverage have such different price tags across the state.

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Medicaid expansion widens safety net, but are future costs a ticking time bomb?

Nearly 270,000 low-income Michigan residents signed up for expanded Medicaid in less than two months. While officials project that number to explode, critics fear the program will prove too costly to sustain.

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Is Michigan wasting 20,000 teen lives – and at great expense?

Michigan is among a dwindling number of states that prosecute 17-year-olds as adults, even though teens are more likely to commit more crimes when placed with adults. Most teens prosecuted as adults committed nonviolent crimes.

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How one county keeps troubled teens out of prison

Innovative programs in Berrien County are going to teens’ homes, not waiting for teens to find trouble. The result: recidivism is down sharply.

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New rules for fracking disclosure in Michigan

Proposed rules require more testing around drilling sites and disclosure of the chemicals used by energy companies. Environmentalists call the rules a step forward, but not nearly enough to protect Michigan waters and public health.

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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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