MIRS BREAKING NEWS: Gov, Legislature Strike Deal On Budget, Ad Board Changes — December 4, 6:43 p.m.

This article can be found on Michigan’s Independent Source of News & Information (MIRS)’s website. Below, MIRS outlines the legislature strike deal agreement and the spending categories of the government budget. Learn more.

Gov. Gretchen WHITMER and legislative leaders finalized a deal to iron out the last 65 days of budget cuts, money transfers, and executive authority consternation, but it’s not all being made public for now. All the bills needed to consummate the agreement won’t be finished until next week, an inside source told MIRS.

Parts of the deal did start to move today, however.

The Senate unanimously passed a combined $573.5 million in restored funding ($261 million General Fund, $70 million School Aid Fund). The House and Senate passed a shell bill that will make some-yet-to-be defined changes in state Administrative Board powers and a new July 1 budget deadline for lawmakers. A fourth piece is also part of the deal, MIRS has learned, but details on what that is wasn’t available.

House Speaker Lee CHATFIELD (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY (R-Clarklake) ducked in and out of the Governor’s Capitol office today to iron out the deal.

The end product looks a lot like what Chatfield and Whitmer came up with nearly a month ago, but does include a version of statutory changes that Senate Majority Leader Mike SHIRKEY insisted upon, MIRS has learned.

The crafting of the exact language has begun and won’t be ready until next week, when the Legislature is expected to wrap up session action for 2019.

The movement came today so bills could satisfy the Constitution’s five-day requirement that bills first passed from one chamber sit for five days before being passed by another.

On Thursday, some Republican members are attending an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. Some Democratic legislators are going to Puerto Rico for a Council of State Governments conference and there’s a black caucus event, as well.

The $459 million spending bill is a collection of the major line-items Republican lawmakers separated out two months ago in 47 separate bills (See “House, Senate Introduce Bills To Bring Back $265M Into Budget,” 10/8/19).

The spending returned to circulation includes: $38 million in private college scholarships, $35 million for charter schools, $27.4 million for local governments in lieu of taxes (PILT payments), $16.6 million for rural healthcare, $15 million for IT upgrades, $14.8 million for county jails, $13.1 million for secondary road patrol, $10.5 million to hire new corrections officers, $10.7 million for pediatric psychiatrist raises, $10.5 million for early literacy coaches, $10 million for school security upgrades, $5.1 million for 37 “critical access” hospitals, $4.5 million for lead paint abatement, $4 million in veterans grants $1.25 for autism navigators and $350,000 for autism intervention.

The $13 million in individual bridge projects Whitmer vetoed is now going into the larger Transportation budget for general road and bridge repair.

The supplements — SB 0376 and SB 0377 — does not include the vetoed money for Pure Michigan nor the $175 million she wanted for her Reconnect Michigan program. She did get the funding scheme she wanted for the Department of Corrections so the tethers can be replaced and prisoner programming can continue.

Whitmer also got the $10 million for the 2020 Census and $2 million for the implementation of Proposal 2. The $37.26 million for the Going Pro skilled trades training program also didn’t make this bill.

“The Governor is pleased that the House and Senate each took initial action on a supplemental budget that will restore critical funding for public health, public safety, and public education,” said Whitmer Press Secretary Tiffany BROWN. “This is an important, bipartisan step forward for our state to ensure we are providing essential services to Michigan families and she is hopeful we can finalize it next week.”

More spending may be added next year in additional supplementals, but these bills are the only ones lawmakers will consider this year.

“While this does not restore all of the Governor’s vetoes and transfers, it is a good first step in the first step in the right direction,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Jim STAMAS (R-Midland).

The other measures that make up the deal that passed today included:

  • Rep. Shane HERNANDEZ’s (R-Port Huron) HB 5176, which will ultimately lay out some changes to the state Administrative Board, passed on party-line votes in each chamber.

Remember, Whitmer on Oct. 1 used the seven-member Ad Board made up of herself and six other Democratic elected officials and appointees to move around $625 million in funding, passed on party-line votes in each chamber (See “Whitmer Flexes Executive Muscle With Vetoes, Ad Board Moves Money,” 10/1/19).

  • Rep. Greg VanWOERKOM’s (R-Norton Shores) HB 5177, which mandates that the Legislature provide the Governor with the next year’s spending bill by July 1 passed, 105-0.

Chatfield told reporters after session said the day was “incredibly productive” and “a lot of progress was made.”

“A lot of progress was made and I look forward finalizing this deal and moving forward as a state next week,” he said.

Sen. Curtis HERTEL (D-East Lansing) told reporters, “It is the first steps toward what a deal could look like,” said (D-East Lansing). “It’s a very positive sign. I would take my earlier prediction of 80% of this getting done to 90%.”

Upcoming Information

While this is not a done legislature strike deal, this is a start in the right direction. The legislation will finalize this deal next week. Please stay tuned to POAM’s website, Facebook, and Twitter platforms for the latest information regarding this matter.

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