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Governor's Budget: $195M For Flint, Education Funding Increases
Governor Rick Snyder's budget proposal for the 2016-17 fiscal year will contain funding increases for education, and a new supplemental funding bill will include $195 million to deal with the Flint water crisis, sources told Gongwer News Service Tuesday.
DHHS, Genesee County Clash On Legionnaire's Outbreak Responsibility
The Genesee County Health Department and the state's Department of Health and Human Services took the gloves off Tuesday as a plethora of emails released by the press and DHHS itself show marred communication at best between the two entities most directly responsible for informing the public about a Legionnaire's outbreak in Genesee County.
Schuette: Legislators Will Not Want To ‘Impede' Flint Investigation
Saying he will "not shortchange justice" when it came to the investigation his office is overseeing in Flint, Attorney General Bill Schuette also said no legislator would want to "be viewed as obstructing" or "impeding" the investigation by not funding it fully. And Mr. Schuette also said the crisis involving Flint means "the rest button has been pushed" on Michigan's Freedom of Information Act and officials should look at opening it further (the Executive Office and the Legislature are exempt from FOIA currently).
Education Board Approves Initial Strategies For Top 10 Plan
Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Whiston now has some strategies to meet the goal he set of making Michigan a top 10 education state within the next 10 years.
Meekhof Taking Larger Look At Infrastructure
Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof is actively working with staff on a plan for statewide infrastructure improvements, his spokesperson said Tuesday, though funding sources and other specifics have yet to be identified.
Local Control Remains Primary Focus Of Second DPS Hearing
Members of the general public were given an opportunity Tuesday to have their voices heard on legislation pending before the Senate Government Operations Committee regarding reforming Detroit Public Schools, as were some other state officials, but the resounding theme continued to be a need for local control and a need for quick action before the district runs out of money.
Education Board Calls For Department To Oversee School Siting, Closure
After not being able to reach consensus on requesting a mechanism to oversee school location in Detroit, the State Board of Education asked the Legislature for authority for the Department of Education to oversee siting of all schools in the state.
Calley Calling For New Funds With Special Education Report
Lt. Governor Brian Calley announced that the executive budget recommendation coming Wednesday would include new funds to implement portions of the Special Education Task Force report he unveiled to the State Board of Education at its meeting Tuesday.
Weaver Seeks $55M To Begin Replacing Flint Lead Pipes
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver on Tuesday outlined a plan for an estimated $55 million public works project seeking to remove and replace her city's residential lead service lines as quickly as possible, with first priority given to high-risk households.
House Passes Logan's Law Without Sodomy Language
The House on Tuesday passed a package of bills requiring pet shops and shelters to do background checks on potential pet owners and prohibiting a person with an animal abuse conviction within the past five years from adopting a pet.
House Panel OKs Bill Allowing DNR To Hire Retired Employees
The Department of Natural Resources would be permitted to hire retirees to serve as temporary wildfire firefighters under a bill reported by a House committee on Tuesday.
House Judiciary Discusses Roadside Drug Test Pilot
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday discussed a potential pilot program allowing roadside saliva drug tests to determine if a driver was under the influence.
Pavlov, Senate GOP Introduce Package On Reporting Requirements
Sen. Phil Pavlov and other members of the Senate Republican caucus on Tuesday introduced a 14-bill package they say would eliminate unnecessary and redundant reports from educational facilities across the state while streamlining others.
PACS Raised More Than $22M In 2015
Political Action Committees raised more than $22.6 million in 2015, according to a report by Michigan Campaign Finance Network, $20.1 million of that total by the 150 most active committees. That fundraising was not terribly off pace from 2013, MCFN said, at which time the top 150 PACs raised $22.2 million.
First Pediatric Flu Death Reported
A school-aged child in Oakland County has died of influenza, the Department of Health and Human Services reported Tuesday, the first such death of the year. The fatality has caused officials to once again urge people to get a flu vaccine, as many of the confirmed cases of flu this year are of the H1N1 strain first discovered in 2009, which can have serious effects on children and the elderly
Source : Gongwer News Service : Michigan Report, Volume #55, Report 25, February 9, 2016. Full access requires a subscription or a visit to a subscribing library such as the Michigan State University Main Library. For assistance in accessing the database, stop by the MSU Library Reference Desk.
Gov. Rick Snyder will call for an additional $195 million to address the Flint water crisis in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget with the money being separated into four separate buckets. If approved by the Legislature, the state's total commitment to the city of Flint will be $232 million.
According to information obtained by MIRS, the new $195 million request will include the $30 million the Senate approved last week to give Flint residents rebates on lead-tainted water they didn't feel comfortable drinking or using (See "Senate Votes Out Gov-Recommended $30M For Flint Water Bills," 2/4/16).
The largest chunk, however, is $63 million going for physical, social and educational services -- treating children with high blood levels; expanding preschool programs, putting nurses in the schools; abating Flint homes of lead; making epidemiologists available to analyze blood lead levels; and paying for in-home behavioral services for children.
Another $37 million is going toward making the Flint municipal water safe to drink with water sampling, inspection and replacement of filters in schools, studying what needs to be doing with Flint infrastructure and staying connected with Detroit until the end of 2016, when the city is scheduled to hook up to the new Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).
The $15 million bucket is for food and nutrition programs for Flint's children, including a summer meal program, mobile food banks and food inspections.
Finally, Snyder would like to set $50 million in reserve for any future needs in Flint.
This money is separate from a $165 million pot the Governor wants to create for other budding infrastructure needs that may pop up. While Flint is grabbing the headlines with its crisis, it's not the only city with old pipes leeching metals into the water supply.
The $165 million could be used for other schools with public water concerns or other immediate infrastructure costs that may pop up.
MIRS has learned House Republican leadership is looking forward to digging into the Flint proposal and taking its time in learning the costs associated with the Flint water crisis before signing off on the proposal.
"I think it's time for some statesmanship," said House Appropriations Committee Chair Al PSCHOLKA (R-Stevensville). "We'll take a good hard look at that. There has to be accountability of the dollars to make sure the money goes to where it is suppose to help."
Pscholka added that if anti-waste guarantees are written into the plan, "I'm a yes vote."
MIRS has also learned the administration will not use the K-12 foundation grant to fund the Detroit Public School (DPS) deficit reduction proposal.
Instead, a $72 million-a-year-for-10 years proposal is being recommended to be withdrawn annually from the tobacco settlement money. The total $720 million is meant to settle up a DPS debt of some $515 million while also setting aside the $200 million Snyder wants to transition students and teachers out of DPS and into a newly created public school district (See "Possible Education Commission Biggest Obstacle For DPS Package," 2/4/16).
"The Governor looks forward to making an announcement" on the DPS funding issue and "one of the governor's priorities will be to hold school aid harmless when it comes to helping the district in Detroit," confirmed state Budget Director John ROBERTS, Jr.
Asked if he thought the rest of the schools would be happy with that, he reported, "The Governor is happy and we hope the schools are happy, too."
Other expected highlights of the Governor's proposed budget for 11 a.m. Wednesday in the House Appropriations Committee room include:
- $61 million more for the state's 15 public universities. The 4.3 percent increase will put the schools at the same state funding level they enjoyed when Snyder took office in 2011.
- The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the suggested tuition increase cap for the next year will be 4.8 percent as opposed to last year's cap of 3.2 percent.
- $60 or $120 more per-pupil for K-12 schools, depending on where they fall on the state funding scale. Lower-state funded schools would get the $120.
- A 2.4 percent funding bump for community colleges
- $135 million for specialty drugs to help those on Medicaid, Healthy Michigan and in state prisons who suffer from Hepatitis C and Cystic Fibrosis.
- Renewal of the Health Insurance Claims Assessment (HICA) tax, a proposal currently sitting in the Senate.
- $10.4 million in General Fund support for roads as part of $464.5 million in new revenue coming from the increased fuel taxes and driver registration fees approved last fall in the road-funding package. The Governor is projecting $1.2 billion in additional funding will be put into the roads by FY 2021.
- No major announcements on statutory revenue sharing.
For the full article, see "Snyder's Proposed $195M For Flint To Fall In 4 Buckets", Inside MIRS Today, February 9, 2016.
Other topics covered include:
MIRSNews.com is available via the MSU Library electronic resources page. Access is restricted to the MSU community and other subscribers.
State health officials today defended their response to the Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Flint, discounting concerns that infighting hurt public health.
"We rely on strong relationships with our partners at the local level including primary care providers, community organizations, health plans, and most importantly our local health departments,” Nick Lyon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.
The response came after the Free Press reported harsh criticisms of the state from the Genesee County Health Department, which was investigating an outbreak of the bacteria that killed nine people in 2014 and 2015.
For the full article, see John Wisely and Elisha Anderson, "State defends Legionnaires' response in Flint crisis", Detroit Free Press, February 9, 2016
A Flint water official was concerned that using phosphates to protect the city’s water from lead might feed bacteria in the system, according to a September email from Flint’s former director of public works.
In the Sept. 3 email to city and state officials indicating that the city had returned to safe drinking water standards, Flint Public Works Director Howard Croft also addressed an earlier decision to avoid corrosion controls in the system until further testing was done.
“Most chemicals used in this process are phosphate-based and phosphate can be a ‘food’ for bacteria,” wrote Croft, who resigned two months later.
For the full article, see Jim Lynch, "Bacteria fear may be factor in tainting of Flint water", Detroit News, February 9, 2016.
Gov. Rick Snyder will ask for $72 million in his 2017 budget as part of a 10-year plan to pay down the debt of Detroit Public Schools and restructure the state’s largest school district, which could run out of money this spring, according to a source familiar with the spending plan.
The money will come from the Tobacco Settlement Fund.
Additionally, the governor wants a $50 million appropriation to keep the district running while lawmakers debate legislation to overhaul DPS, which has struggled for years with mounting debt and falling enrollment.
The debt relief funds will free up $1,000 per student to go into the classrooms.
At this point, there is no indication that Snyder’s request will include any funds to deal with an estimated $50 million in building repairs. The district has been roiled by reports of health and safety problems in numerous schools, including water leaks, mold, rodent infestations and heating issues.
For the full article, see Shawn D. Lewis, "Snyder to seek $72M in ’17 budget for DPS rescue"The Detroit News, February 9, 2016.
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