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The politics of roads, marijuana and body cameras

Three large potholes filled with water in a road
Michael Gil
Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg
The freeze-thaw cycle brings potholes to Michigan roadways.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss another road funding plan, proposed changes for medical marijuana cardholders, and body cameras.

Down this road again

Another week, another new road funding plan. Lawmakers are working on a $1.2 billion dollar plan that could increase gas taxes, among other things, to get money for the roads. Lessenberry says this proposal is the closest they have been to a roads funding deal, but it hinges on lawmakers agreeing to increase taxes, which some refuse to do no matter what.

Because this is a conference committee, lawmakers won’t be able to debate the bills on the floor. Lessenberry says the “devil is in the details” and they have debated many times before. We still don't know what the final product will look like, but Lessenberry says it is more likely to pass than before. 

Marijuana changes

There could be changes to the medical marijuana law, including a new tax and creation of a system to track marijuana from seed to sale. Lessenberry says that although marijuana might become more expensive as a result of the changes, it could also become safer.

The main problem with the current medical marijuana law, and reason behind the changes, is the lack of a legal growth and distribution system, Lessenberry says. But although the bills are likely to pass, he says some marijuana activists are not happy with the changes.

“Users of medical marijuana suspect more regulation, more difficulty getting it,” he explains. “It’s sort of a two edged sword.”

Body cams

The Detroit Police Department is joining a growing number of law enforcement agencies Michigan-wide and nation-wide. The department is working on using body cameras for all officers and making sure that all patrol cars have working dashboard cameras. 

Lessenberrys says most people, including officers, think it's a good idea. However, there is concern about how much discretion police officers should have to turn off the cameras. But the big question is money, says Lessenberry, and whether or not the departments can actually afford the equipment.

Michigan Radio Newsroom - Cheyna Roth

Christina began her career in radio at Michigan Radio while a student at the University of Michigan. She was a producer and researcher for The Todd Mundt Show, and then hosted Weekend Edition.
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