McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Budget

Senate Passes Supplemental; MICRC Given $1.5M

Update: Jan 2-20, 2023

As previously reported in Updates from the Capitol, the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) sued the state Legislature for failure to properly fund the commission on December 12, 2022. The commission expected the Legislature to appropriate around $3.1 million to the commission for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, but a year-end supplemental was not passed prior to adjournment.

On January 18, the Senate passed two close-of-books supplemental appropriations bills to provide funding for multiple departments for FY 2021-22 and FY 2022-23. The supplementals included $1.5 million for MICRC’s expenses, about half of what the commission originally asked for in 2022.

Senate Bill 7 appropriates $146.3 million for FY 2021-22 and $1.5 million for FY 2022-23. Senate Bill 8, a School Aid supplemental, appropriates $45.6 million for FY 2021-22 and $27.9 million for FY 2022-23. Both bills have been transmitted to the House for further consideration.

Governor Signs Economic Development, School Aid Appropriations Bills

Update: Oct 3-14, 2022

On Tuesday October 4, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 844, the $1 billion supplemental appropriation bill that would mainly provide additional funding for the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund.

Items in the economic development supplemental include, among other things, $496 million for future economic investments, $350 million for site development statewide, and $27 million to secure an investment from Hemlock Semiconductor to produce chips in Michigan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer later signed Senate Bill 842 on October 12, a supplemental appropriations bill which established the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. Beginning with the class of 2023, high school graduates are eligible for additional financial aid through the state. The scholarship program will cover 94 percent of community college students, 76 percent of public university students, and 79 percent of private college or university students. FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, will be used to determine need.

The Executive Office and Legislative leaders celebrated the signing of both bills. On SB 844, Senate Appropriations Chairman Jim Stamas (R-Midland) shared, “Economic development is critical to our future. As our economy faces the challenges of high inflation, labor shortages and supply-chain issues, we must help our state remain competitive for long-term, high-wage jobs.” On SB 842, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Universities and Community Colleges Chairwoman Senator Kim LaSata (R-Niles) said, “Expanding the eligibility of this scholarship to cover traditional classroom education, as well as hands-on training at a skilled trades academy, is a great way to both strengthen and diversify Michigan’s workforce.”

Albert Resigns as Appropriations Chair, Elections Deal Struck

Update: Sep 19-30, 2022

On September 28, one of the final session days ahead of the November 8 election, the Michigan State Legislature finalized a $1 billion supplemental appropriation bill, most of which would additional funding to the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (SOAR) Fund for various economic development projects.

In light of the negotiations, Representative Thomas Albert (R-Lowell) announced during the House Appropriations committee meeting that he would be resigning as chair due to his concerns with approving additional spending. Albert, who again addressed the chamber during his no-vote explanation, said he could not support the spending during a “period of economic uncertainty”. Representative Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township) will serve as the Appropriations Chair for the remainder of the 2021-22 legislative session.

Following an agreement struck between the Whitmer administration, local clerks and lawmakers, the Michigan State Legislature also took up a package of bills related to election security and preprocessing of absentee ballots. All bills in the package passed out of both chambers and now head to the desk of Governor Gretchen Whitmer. House Bill 4491 would allow county clerks to remove deceased individuals from the qualified voter file as well as allow absentee ballot preprocessing up to two days before the election. Currently, Michigan only allows preprocessing 24 hours prior to an election and only in municipalities of at least 1,500 voters. House Bill 6071 would increase access to polling locations. Senate Bill 8 defines “verified electronic signature” for military personnel, while SB 311 allows the electronic return of ballots for military voters.

The legislation is expected to be signed into law and be in effect for the upcoming November general election.