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Stateside: Governor and GOP meet on budget; preventing tax foreclosure; money for isolated schools

Whiskey Point, at the west end of the harbor at Beaver Island.
Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio
Beaver Island is home to one of five Michigan school districts that relies on a $7 million state fund for isolated schools. The funding was vetoed by Gov. Whitmer, but a bill to restore the funding has been introduced in the state House.

Today on Stateside, we hear the latest from Lansing after Governor Whitmer met with top Republican leaders in the state Legislature. Plus, what Michigan can learn from Norway’s prison and mental health systems. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Governor and top GOP lawmakers meet amid continued disagreements over budget

Stateside’s conversation with Emily Lawler and Rick Pluta

  • In Lansing, Republicans in the Michigan Legislature have set the stage for a showdown with Governor Whitmer over her 147 line-item vetoes in the state budget. The governor met Thursday with top GOP leaders from the state House and Senate.
  • Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta and MLive reporter Emily Lawler joined Stateside to break down the supplemental bills being pushed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to restore vetoed funding, and what could happen if the two sides don't reach a deal by early next week.

State funding for community colleges falls far short of costs, says Jackson College president

Stateside’s conversation with Daniel Phelan

  • Business leaders and elected officials often cite community colleges as an important resource to increase the number of skilled workers in Michigan. But increases in state funding for those schools hasn't even kept up with inflation. For example, Jackson College, which has an annual budget of $48 million, received just $104,000 in increased funding in the latest state budget. 
  • Daniel Phelan is the president and CEO of Jackson College. He spoke with Stateside about how the stagnant funding is impacting community colleges in Michigan, and what an ideal funding solution would look like. 

What Michigan can learn from Norway about mental health and incarceration

Stateside’s conversation with Karen Bouffard

  • Many people with untreated mental illness in this country end up in jails or prison. What would it look like if those jails and prisons put a bigger focus on rehabilitation and on treating mental illness? That's the question that led Detroit News reporter Karen Bouffard to Norway to examine the intersection of criminal justice and mental health in that country. Bouffard told Stateside about Norway’s approach to rehabilitation, why inmates in that country are less likely to return to prison, and whether we’re seeing signs of change in Michigan’s criminal justice system.

Wayne Co. Exec. says new plan may help homeowners on brink of tax foreclosure, but could do more

Stateside’s conversation with Warren Evans

  • A new idea to help homeowners in Detroit and Wayne County who are struggling to pay off delinquent property taxes is making its way to Lansing. The proposal is called "Pay As You Stay,” and it was announced Wednesday by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Evans joined Stateside to talk about why he thinks Lansing needs to sign off on this plan, and when homeowners who owe back taxes could expect to see relief. 

UP Democrat wants to restore $7 million fund for isolated school districts 

Stateside’s conversation with Sara Cambensy

  • The challenges of running a tiny, remote school district are much different than those for urban or suburban districts. Five isolated school districts — two in the Upper Peninsula and three on Great Lakes islands — rely on a $7 million state fund for isolated schools to keep their doors open. But that funding was zeroed out by Governor Whitmer in a line-item budget veto.
  • Now, Democratic State Representative Sara Cambensy of Marquette has introduceda bill to restore that funding. She told us what she's  heard from superintendents in those isolated school districts, and why she's optimistic that there will be bipartisan agreement on restoring funding. 

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