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Lawmakers focus on non-budget issues in meeting with Whitmer

Posted at 5:33 PM, Oct 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-03 19:31:49-04

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and four legislative leaders have met after she vetoed nearly $1 billion from the newly signed budget, but their discussion was mainly focused on policies such as criminal justice.

The Democratic governor met Thursday with top lawmakers in the Republican-led Legislature.

It was their first meeting in a month, and followed Whitmer's moves this week to sign the budget, veto spending and shift money around.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she will ask the Republican-led Legislature to pass a supplemental measure to mend Michigan's budget after she vetoed nearly $1 billion in proposed spending.

The Democrat said Wednesday the $59 billion plan, which took effect Tuesday, must still be revised after her line-item vetoes and fund transfers.

She is proposing to add funding to three departments she says is needed to protect public health and safety.

She also wants to triple the number of literacy coaches and to fund tuition-free community college or technical training for nontraditional students age 25 and older.

Gov. Whitmer says the budget measure could include other priorities Republicans "may be interested in chatting about" following her vetoes.

Governor Whitmer cut $375 million in one-time road funding saying it doesn't fix the fundamental problem.

"I remain eager to have a conversation with anyone who's serious about fixing the problem. The fact of the matter is this budget, this one-time 400 million dollars that fixes four bridges and 39 miles is not serious," she said.

A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey says the budget was mentioned, but the goal was to discuss other legislation, including raising the age at which criminal defendants are treated as adults to 18.

Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich says purpose of the meeting was to "get back on track again."

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