Legislature sends budget to governor

Sen. Jim Marleau

Sen. Jim Marleau

LANSING, Mich. — The state Legislature passed a fiscal year 2019 budget on Tuesday that includes increases in road funding and K-12 education and a hefty investment in school safety, said Sen. Jim Marleau.

The combined 2018 and 2019 budgets include $58 million for school safety and $330 million more in road funding — bringing the total new investment in Michigan roads to $2.4 billion since 2017.

“This budget once again demonstrates Senate Republicans’ commitment to fiscal responsibility,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “The state’s rainy day fund has been increased to $1 billion — from a $1.8 billion structural deficit eight years ago — and for the eighth consecutive year, Senate Republicans have balanced the budget ahead of schedule.”

Marleau said that under this budget, most schools will see the largest per-pupil increase in 17 years, once again increasing funding for our schools to record levels. The budget also continues to encourage economic growth and make government more efficient and effective with taxpayer dollars.

Some of the budget highlights include:

Education
The K-12 budget invests $14.8 billion in education, which is the most in state history. The K-12 foundation allowance has been increased between $120 and $240 per pupil, representing the largest per-pupil increase for most schools in 17 years. With this budget, state funding for our schools will have increased by $2.2 billion since fiscal year 2011.

School Safety
The budget invests $58 million in school safety initiatives to keep our students safe. This includes increased funding of $3 million for the OK2SAY program, an investment of $30 million for mental health support services within schools, and increased funding for school safety security grants to $25 million.

Jobs and the Economy
The budget fully funds the $100 million Marshall Plan for Talent initiative and invests $40.9 million in Going Pro skilled trades training to prepare workers for in-demand jobs.

Fixing Michigan’s Roads
The budget puts an additional $330 million into fixing our roads and bridges. With this budget, we will have cumulatively added a total of $2.4 billion to our roads since 2017 as a result of the road funding package and prioritized spending.

“Today’s budget will continue to provide opportunities for working families,” Marleau said. “The economy is strong, and this budget sets us up to continue that growth with fiscal responsibility.”

The budget now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder to be signed into law.

Marleau reminds residents of weekend of free fishing

Sen. Jim Marleau

Sen. Jim Marleau

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Marleau on Tuesday reminded residents of a great opportunity to take advantage of one of the favorite summertime activities of Michiganders at no cost.

“Michigan’s annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend is this Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “Our state offers unparalleled natural resources, including 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes that offer spectacular fishing opportunities. I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy Pure Michigan this weekend.”

Marleau said residents and nonresidents alike can fish without a license on these two days, though all other fishing regulations still apply. Entry into state public boating access sites, state parks and recreation areas is free of charge.

Since 1986, Michigan has celebrated the free weekend as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources and to give families a great chance to pass along the joy of fishing to the next generation.

The Summer Free Fishing Weekend concludes the Michigan Boating Week, an annual celebration of the great outdoor activities offered by the state. It is a partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Michigan Waterways Commission and the Michigan Boating Industries Association.

The week-long event offers many opportunities to start boating, get back onboard or learn some new skills to use on the water. For more information, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.Michigan.gov/FreeFishing.

Marleau said Saturday and Sunday also mark one of the summer’s free ORV weekends, a time off-road enthusiasts can ride Michigan DNR-designated routes and trails without an ORV license or trail permit. Riders can find out more at www.Michigan.gov/ORVInfo.

To encourage visitors to visit a state park during the weekend, the state is waiving the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks.

“With free fishing and trail opportunities, this weekend is a great time to kick off the summer anywhere in the state,” Marleau said.