House OKs spending package, restores Pure Michigan funding

AG clergy abuse probe gets another $1M

By: - March 11, 2020 11:13 am

Susan J. Demas

State representatives approved a package Tuesday afternoon that will restore partial funding for a number of programs that were cut during last year’s budget battle, including the Pure Michigan tourism campaign.

The GOP-led House approved Senate Bill 151, which provides $312.3 million to various state programs and agencies with a 101-4 vote. 

Senate Bill 373 was also approved by the House, with a 99-6 vote, appropriating $9.06 million to the School Aid Fund and higher education. The bills now return to the Senate for final approval before going to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.

Included in SB 151 is $16 million to help restore funding for Pure Michigan after Whitmer vetoed it from the Fiscal Year 2020 budget last year. This did not make it into the budget supplemental she signed in December restoring funding for autism services, health care and rural and urban hospitals.

Whitmer’s Michigan Reconnect program, which assists students ages 25 and older obtain their associate degree or other certification, received $35 million in the supplemental.

“Including funding for the program in this budget supplemental is an important first step in giving our colleges the ability to work quickly and get the program up and running before the fall semester begins,” said Michigan Community College President Michael Hansen. “We greatly appreciate Gov. Whitmer and the Legislature for continuing to make investing and training Michiganders a priority.”

Another $15 million would fund the job training program Going Pro.

“[The Small Business Association of Michigan] is pleased that a supplemental appropriations bill including funding for the Going PRO Talent Fund and Michigan Reconnect is moving forward for this current budget year. Both are essential in jump-starting the state’s talent efforts to close the skills gap,” said SBAM President Brian Calley. “This timely action will hopefully make it possible to implement Michigan Reconnect before the fall semester and help employers implement training plans through Going PRO without further delay.”

The supplemental also allocates $1 million to Attorney General Dana Nessel’s clergy abuse investigation.

Environmental cleanup projects will receive $5 million from the supplemental, and Madison Heights was given the funds to tear down the building where the toxic green ooze on I-696 originated.

The supplemental also provided $37 million total for 85 Michigan Enhancement Grants, including funding for libraries, museums and road projects. 

The grants allocated $1 million to the North American Auto Show, $2 million for the Great Lakes Research Center at the Detroit Zoo and $1 million to the Van Andel Institute. 

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.