LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved $312 million in spending to provide financial assistance for adults age 25 and older to attend community college and partially revive the state’s tourism campaign.
The supplemental bills won bipartisan approval from the Senate two days after clearing the House. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will sign the legislation after the House concurs with minor changes.
Some of the money will partly restore funding the Democrat vetoed last fall amid a budget impasse with the Republican-led Legislature over fixing roads.
The measures include:
— $35 million to fund the Reconnect Grant program, which Whitmer proposed a year ago. Starting next school year, the state will provide tuition-free community college or technical training for 25,000 people age 25 and older who have graduated from high school or received a GED and have not previously earned an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The aid will cover tuition or mandatory fees not already offset by need-based federal Pell Grants or Michigan’s tuition program for Medicaid recipients.
— $31 million for legal settlements. There is an initial $25 million payment as part of the state’s $80 million settlement with male teens who said they were sexually harassed or assaulted in prison while housed with adults. Legislators also allocated $6 million to cover costs associated with a $12 million settlement with the family of a Detroit teenager who crashed an all-terrain vehicle and died after he was shot with a Taser by a state trooper.
— $25 million to prepare for and respond to the coronavirus, $10 million now and $15 million in reserve. Michigan has two confirmed cases of COVID-19.
— $16 million for the Pure Michigan tourism and MARKETING campaign, which was not funded for five months.
Lawmakers waited to pass $9 million in additional education funding, to give themselves flexibility to use the bill as a way to quickly add more money to fight the virus.