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Gov Says Nice Try On Legislature Sending Her Vetoed Spending Again

March 30, 2021

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Friday Friday took the veto axe to SB 0029 and SB 0114, two supplemental spending bills that consisted of appropriations she line-item vetoed out of a mid-year supplemental this month. 

SB 0029 contained $86.7 million in federal COVID-19 relief money destined for private schools and the $10 million in reimbursements for parents who pay out of pocket to put their kids in summer schooling programs. 
 
And SB 0114 used $150 million from the General Fund to shore up the Unemployment Insurance Fund and businesses, as well as $405 million in assorted tax and licensing fee relief due to COVID-19 restrictions. 
 
“I remain ready and willing to negotiate regarding the allocation of the more than $2 billion in federal money now sitting idle in the Michigan treasury,” she wrote in her veto letter. 
 
House Appropriations Chair Tom Albert (R-Lowell) said in a statement that he wanted to make clear that “none of the funding she vetoed Friday was in any way connected to disputes over gubernatorial powers.” 
 
Albert said “the Legislature gave her a second chance to do the right thing, but she is again turning her back on school kids, families, job providers and the workers who depend on them for a living.” 
 
Meanwhile, the governor did sign SB 0100 into law, which she says makes a technical change to the Child Care Licensing Act to expand availability of federal funding for qualified residential treatment programs, which are specialized programs for foster youth who require additional, higher levels of social and emotional support. 
 
The legislation, which is sponsored by Sen. John Bizon (R-Battle Creek), defines “foster care” as 24-hour substitute care for a child removed from their initial guardian or parents. 
 
The bill would allow Michigan to utilize the Family First Prevention Services Act, which administers federal reimbursements for states that provide “substance abuse, mental health, and other treatment services to prevent children from entering foster care.” 
 
The 24-hour period under the Title IV-E Agency — the Children’s Services Agency within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services — would be used as a prevention service to “keep candidates for foster care in their parents’ or caregivers’ homes,” according to the bill’s Feb. 5 analysis. 

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