Nearly $30-million in additional funding has been signed into law today by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, including money for the 2020 Census, implementation of Proposal 3 as passed by the voters, and other items, but she's also taking the legislature to task for not getting the full budget approved yet.
Today the Governor signed Senate Bill 150, a supplemental appropriations bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Stamas of Midland, which includes $28.8 million in gross spending, while also issuing a line-item veto of an unconstitutional command to the Auditor General.
The legislation includes funding for ensuring accurate counts through the 2020 U.S. Census; implementing provisions in Proposal 3, including automatic voter registration and no-reason absentee voting; administering the Double Up Food Bucks program; and implementing provisions in the new Lead and Copper Rule to protect clean drinking water for Michigan residents.
Upon signing the bill, Gov. Whitmer said, “This legislation provides critical funding that will expand access to voting, ensure a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census, and help provide clean drinking water to Michigan residents.” She admitted, however, they're far from over, noting, “We’ve got more work to do. It’s been 111 days since I introduced my budget to fix the damn roads, make the largest investment in public school operations in a generation of students, and clean up our drinking water. There’s no reason why the bipartisan work that went into passing this supplemental shouldn’t carry over into passing the full 2020 budget. Instead of going on summer break, the Republican Legislature should get back to work so we can finish the job. Let's get it done.”
Governor Whitmer also exercised a line-item veto of subsection (105) of the bill, which contained a $0 appropriation directing the Auditor General to immediately audit the Department of State’s roll-out of the new automatic voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting laws enacted by Proposal 3. The Auditor General’s constitutional powers enable audits to be conducted after the conclusion of the fiscal year or program being examined but do not extend to an audit of an ongoing program during the current fiscal year.
Whitmer says, “I applaud the Legislature’s desire to hold the departments, including the Secretary of State, accountable to the people. Nevertheless, the Auditor General may only conduct an audit at the constitutionally appropriate time.”
Senate Bill 150 includes:
- $2,000,000 for the Double Up Food Bucks program, which doubles the value of federal nutrition (SNAP or food stamps) benefits spent at participating markets and grocery stores, helping people bring home more healthy fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers.
- $635,000 for the Department of Attorney General’s Lawsuit Settlement Proceeds Fund for investigations into alleged sexual assault and abuse in the Catholic church.
- $3,000,000 for the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the 2018 changes to Michigan’s lead and copper rules. The appropriation specifically includes $832,000 for public education, $484,000 for drinking water investigations in homes, and $1.7 million for water filters.
- $5,000,000 for the Department of Health and Human Services to support outreach and preparation for the 2020 Census to ensure accurate counts in rural and urban communities.
- $5,000,000 for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to support implementation of the 2018 recreational marijuana law, which will fully reimburse the General Fund in FY 2020 with excise tax collections.
- $2,500,000 for the Department of State to implement Proposal 3. The appropriations specifically includes $750,000 to implement automatic voter registration and no-reason absentee voting; $750,000 for education and training services; $1 million for absentee voter counting board tabulators; and additional $500,000 for IT costs appropriated in DTMB.
- $163,600 to the Michigan State Police for Shiawassee County Emergency Relief, which assists first responders and communities with costs related to the recent tornado.
- $10,000,000 for Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation, which provides funds for payment to those wrongfully convicted based on court actions.
As for the rest of the budget...stay tuned.