Legislator votes to send proposal to governor’s desk
State Rep. Jack O’Malley, of Lake Ann, this week joined the Michigan House of Representatives in finalizing a plan to restore budget funding vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this year.
The governor vetoed nearly $1 billion in Legislature-approved funding when she signed the budget plan for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, but Tuesday’s actions constitute a breakthrough and signal an end to what has been a two-month standoff in negotiations.
“There has been a lot of hard work done to restore funding for essential services that people in Northern Michigan rely on,” O’Malley said. “It was a positive for the people of this state to have it done in a bipartisan way where everybody sat down and got to work on a solution. That’s setting differences aside and coming together for the people of Michigan. With these funding measures back in place, the state is going to be in a better place – especially for those in rural areas.”
Essential funding for secondary road patrol programs throughout the state will mean safer neighborhood streets and local sheriff’s offices aren’t forced to lay off deputies.
The plan also includes:
• $16.6 million for rural hospitals and additional money for critical access hospitals serving Medicaid and low-income patients, including Munson Healthcare Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital in Frankfort.
• $1 million for the Autism Navigator program helping connect families with services.
• $350,000 for a new autism intervention training program to help infants and toddlers with developmental delays.
• $7 million for Michigan’s rural and island school districts that serve more isolated populations, including many across Northern Michigan.
• Restored tuition grant money for 17,000 independent college students.
• $10 million for school safety grants.
• $400,000 to bolster care for Michigan’s Alzheimer and dementia community.
• $10.7 million to improve pediatric psychiatric services.
• Nearly $2 million to continue the fight against opioid drug abuse.