As Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s state administration and lawmakers are negotiating how to spend billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 aid, with some of the funds getting particular attention in the dying days of 2021: $ 300 million to reopen schools.
What makes unallocated dollars different from others is that they are intended for the current school year, which flies in the face of Republican lawmakers’ arguments that they have several years to allocate. federal aid money.
“These dollars in particular, they must be allocated and used by August,” said Chris Harkins, the Democratic governor’s state budget manager, in an interview on Wednesday.
The funds for the reopening of schools were part of a request for additional spending of $ 2.5 billion that the Whitmer administration sent to legislative leaders in November. According to the document, the dollars “will support screening and testing activities to facilitate the reopening and safe operation of schools.”
Most of the money, Harkins said, is for testing, and the dollars are for helping kids stay in school this school year.
The dollars come from the US bailout, a stimulus effort signed by law President Joe Biden in March.
The state budget director mentioned school reopening funds and $ 522 million for COVID-19 emergency rental assistance as two credits he would like to see the GOP-controlled legislature make. ‘by the end of the year.
The House and Senate now each have six sitting days scheduled for 2021.
House Appropriations President Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, told reporters last week that lawmakers were “methodical” with the funds.
“We have already allocated a historic amount of funds,” said the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “And there is no rush right now with regard to funds.”
Sanction decision appealed
Seven of nine lawyers ordered to pay legal fees after trying to overturn the 2020 Michigan election have filed notices saying they are appealing to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Thusday, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker of the Eastern District of Michigan ordered the nine attorneys to pay $ 175,250 in legal fees to the state and city of Detroit. Parker said the sanction was “an appropriate sanction” and “an amount the court deems necessary to deter lawyers for the plaintiffs and others from engaging in similar misconduct in the future.”
One day later, Sidney powell, Gregory Rohl, Brandon johnson, Howard kleinhendler, Julia haller, Scott Hagerstrom and Lin wood provided their notices of appeal.
David fink, an attorney who represented Detroit in the case, said he did not expect the higher court to overturn Parker’s decision.
“In advancing the Big Lie, these lawyers have exploited their privileges as members of the bar, making false statements in federal court,” Fink said. âAny court examining this file will see that what it did was desperately wrong.
“The defendants are entitled to reimbursement of their legal fees and these lawyers should face the consequences of their fault.”
On firearms, the lecturer “gathers information”
Tuesday’s mass shooting at Oxford High School reignited a debate over gun policies in the Legislature. But it’s still unclear whether Republicans are ready to consider changing the state’s gun laws.
Michigan House’s top lawmaker, Representative Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, “continue to study the problem and learn more about what went wrong,” spokesperson Gideon D’Assandro said Friday.
âNew details and new information are becoming available every day, including today,â D’Assandro added. âHe is always ready to consider anybody’s suggestions and ideas on how to make schools safer, and he will.
“Right now he’s focused on collecting information as it comes out.”
Oakland County Attorney Karen McDonald, a Democrat, called Michigan’s gun laws “woefully inadequate” at a press conference Friday.
The legislator presents ‘JACK-Act’
Social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, would not have the right to ban candidates while running for office under a new bill introduced by the state Beau LaFave Representative, R-Iron Mountain.
LaFave named the new bill “JACK-Act ‘” for the Justice Abolishing Corporate Kneecapping Act. Twitter’s longtime CEO had been Jack Dorsey.
In early January, Twitter banned then-President Donald Trump, citing “the risk of further incitement to violence” following the insurgency on Capitol Hill, according to the Association Press.
LaFave said that under his proposal, social media companies would not be able to “choose authorized people on their platforms based on their own political leanings and biases.”