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 police big and small defend use of military gear

A Bridge database tracks Humvees to bandages, snowshoes to sleeping bags, rifles to ratchet straps, given by U.S. military to local police.

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Searchable Database: Military donations to local police

Search by community, law enforcement agency or type or item. For instance, you can put in "Oakland" to see what the county sheriff, "state police" to see what the MSP got, or "rifle" to see which communities got military rifles. Department/itemItems acquiredNo. […]

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Is state’s defense of prison rape allegations another $100 million gamble?

Critics question the state’s aggressive defense of a lawsuit by young inmates who say prison officials failed to protect them from sexual assaults. An earlier suit by women inmates cost the state $100 million, far more than taxpayers would have paid had the state settled the case earlier.

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What NOT to post on Facebook: Jokes about prison rape, when you’re in charge of preventing prison rape

A social media post by a prison rape coordinator may serve to underscore allegations that the state is insensitive to young inmates’ rape claims.

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A program to give young offenders a second chance is sending many to prison

A program meant to help young, nonviolent offenders get back on track is instead sending more to prison, where they say sexual assault is rampant.

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Similar accounts in suit over alleged teen prison rapes pose challenge to state’s defense

The full deposition testimony of seven teenage inmates is notable for its graphic consistency, producing a damning portrait of institutional indifference within Michigan’s prisons.

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‘New fish’ ‒ One teen inmate’s account of alleged sexual assault

The inmate known as John Doe 3 says the abuse began from the moment he entered adult prison.

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Plan B or no Plan B, here’s what happens if road proposal fails

The governor is telling voters there’s no alternative to Proposal 1. Lawmakers counter that there’s always a Plan B, but fear it might be worse.

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The political tale behind the selling of Proposal 1

Complex problems rarely have simple solutions, say the legislators whose last-minute work in December’s lame-duck session produced the byzantine statewide vote to fix Michigan’s roads.

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A Bridge primer: Untangling the pothole promise of Proposal 1

As Michigan drivers swerve around, and fall into, cracks in the state’s transportation infrastructure, the only solution on the table is almost as much of a headache.

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Who supports, and opposes, Proposal 1

A wide range of groups are urging a yes vote on the plan to fix Michigan’s roads, and a few are opposing or staying neutral. How are they lining up? It depends on who stands to get paid.

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For one Michigan legislative staffer, an hour or two in the spotlight

Bill Drake won an award from his peers — the people who work behind the scenes to keep the Michigan Legislature running. He’s not used to being in the center of the frame.

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Deal to fix roads reached in lame duck, but voters must approve new tax

The bipartisan deal aligns with overwhelming public support for road investment across the state, even if it means higher taxes. The deal captures $1.2 billion a year for Michigan’s crumbling transportation infrastructure, but requires voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax increase in May.

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What state House and Senate leaders say they will do first in 2015

Four legislative leaders tell Bridge Magazine what’s on their mind when the new legislative session begins in January.

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Legislature weighs 2 bills to aid wrongly convicted felons

Bipartisan bills to ensure DNA testing is available for some convicted felons and to compensate those who are wrongly convicted remain stalled in Lansing.

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Higher death rates, medical bills for Michigan motorcyclists without helmets

Government and medical studies reveal motorcyclists are more likely to die or be seriously injured if they are not wearing helmets in a crash, raising questions about the 2012 repeal of Michigan’s helmet law. A Republican Legislature sees no reason to take up the issue.

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What’s cooking in lame duck:

Electoral College voting

Republicans are promising another effort to change the way Michigan electoral votes are apportioned in presidential races, giving Republican candidates an advantage even when most state votes go to a Democrat.

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What’s cooking in lame duck:

Road funding

Gov. Snyder, business groups and state experts agree that more than $1 billion is needed to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads. If an agreement is not brokered in lame duck, the prospects of a deal diminish significantly in January.

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