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Michigan's new budget includes $500K for paid legislative internships

Michigan's State Capitol in Lansing.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Michigan's State Capitol in Lansing.

Michigan's new state budget allocates money for each lawmaker to hire a paid intern during the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

Currently, some legislative interns are paid, but the money is spent from the budgets of individual legislators. That leaves lawmakers to decide how much money to allocate to their interns.

Democratic state Senator Sarah Anthony chairs the Senate appropriations committee.

She says unpaid internships deter low-income students from accepting these positions if they can’t afford to pay for housing and transportation to Lansing.

"If we want to have a reflective pool of individuals that are working in and around the Legislature, it starts with people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, coming forward."

Anthony says she hopes the program will diversify the legislative workforce and will encourage more students from a variety of backgrounds to apply.

“I think it's important just to pay people. I think the other piece that we intended by creating this paid opportunity, is to diversify the pipeline,” Anthony said.

In total, the budget allocates $500,000 for the program. Originally, the Senate proposed $250,000 for paid internship programs, and the House matched the amount.

Taylor Bowie is a senior studying English Literature at the University of Michigan and an intern in the Michigan Radio newsroom. She is originally from Owosso, Michigan.
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