Developing Logjam At The Michigan State Capitol
Republicans in the Michigan State House early yesterday were announcing their plans for a massive COVID-19 relief plan. The announcement was probably intended to put some pressure on the Governor, hours in advance of her early evening State of the State address. The Governor was quick to attempt to turn things around, issuing a release that implied the majority Republicans in the House are following her lead on the issue.
But the Governor did not make reference to the underlying theme of the legislative plan. House GOP members plan to block the Governor from being able to decide issues relating to classroom teaching in state schools, and school sports schedules under the umbrella of virus protection. There’s little chance this will be an agreeable position.
The GOP legislative initiative ties more than $2 billion in education funding to a proposed law to shift power over classroom settings and sports programs out of the grasp of the state Department of Health and Human Services. The proposal would shift that control to local individual or multi-county health departments.
State House Appropriations Committee Chair Thomas Albert of Lowell says too much control in the hands of any state administration can lead to devastating results. "That’s hurting kids in ways we can’t even imagine, and not just academically.” Chairman Albert goes on to say, “The disruption of sports and other extracurricular activities also takes a major toll. It’s going to take years for some of these students to recover academically. I will do everything possible to get kids safely in the classroom now."
The legislative plan calls for the spending of about $3.5 billion in all. The Governor earlier proposed a more than $5 billion dollar virus relief action plan. It relies heavily on federal support.
Majority Republican State Senators are also pushing back against the Governor by withholding approval of the administration's latest group of appointees to boards and commissions. Senate Majority Floor Leader Dan Lauwers says it's long since past the time to work together.