Schmidt votes to fund programs impacted by Whitmer vetoes

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Wayne Schmidt on Wednesday joined his colleagues in voting to restore several of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s vetoes — many of which negatively impacted communities across the 37th Senate District.

“There is simply too much at stake to do nothing, and this is a good first step in getting back on course,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “I’d like to think we could all agree that the things we funded yesterday are crucial programs and it is my hope that the governor will sign the bills into law.”

Senate Bills 376 and 377 would restore a total of $573.5 million of the governor’s vetoed funding and administrative funding transfers. The legislation largely focuses on restoring funding to the most critical state services.

The bills would restore funding to treat Alzheimer’s, autism, and opioid addiction. Cuts to secondary road patrols that assist local police departments and payments to local governments for state land would also be restored and charter and rural schools would receive the payments they were expecting.

Schmidt noted that he was especially pleased with the restoration of funding for isolated school districts.

“The governor’s cuts to the budget we presented drastically impacted schools in my district, but few felt the hit worse than the isolated districts,” Schmidt said. “We are talking about locations that require taking the school bus on a ferry to get back to the mainland. These are very remote districts with limited resources, and without this funding, face closing their doors.”

Also included in Wednesday’s supplemental legislation was language to restore funding to island clinics and rural and critical care hospitals that serve many areas throughout Schmidt’s district.

In addition to the supplementals, the Senate also approved measures that would limit state administrative board transfers and set in statute a target deadline of July 1 for the Legislature to present a budget to the governor.

All four bills now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.