The Craig Fahle Show

Lansing Update: Grand Bargain, Road Funding and The DIA

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Laura Weber-Davis speaks with Michigan Public Radio's Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta and Capitol reporter Jake Neher about state lawmakers' approval of a $195 million contribution to Detroit's bankruptcy settlement, and what else we could see from the legislature before their break in July.

The bill to end the DIA’s ability to renew their millage was dropped. Possibly, because many members of the House saw no connection between that proposal and the rest of the package that focused on Detroit’s bankruptcy, according to Pluta and Neher.

It’s also important to consider the speed with which the package of bills passed through the State House and in the Senate yesterday. Now, the legislation will go to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk. In addition to the speedy approval, the package is also changing the typically divisive effect that Detroit tends to have on lawmakers in Lansing. Pluta attributes some of this cooperation to Federal Judge Gerald Rosen’s participation. “What changed everything was Judge Gerald Rosen’s meeting with the Republicans to explain why everything was what it was,” he says.

It wasn’t just the Governor and Judge Rosen negotiating with the legislature, everyone was negotiating against the Grand Bargain and there were many changes that occurred in the House.

So, does this set up a template for future negotiations?

Pluta’s not quite sure. The other thing to consider in all of this, is that the Detroit pensioners are voting on this, “and really what they’re voting on is giving away their rights to litigate,” he explains.

Pluta and Neher also discuss the roads package with Laura. While we’re going to see how these negotiations go in the next couple of days, Neher says “the biggest hurdle for Randy Richardville is building a coalition with Democrats.” This is especially important because Democrats say that raising the state gas tax will unfairly hurt those with limited finances.

First, we need to see negotiations on other things that will give some sort of relief. Even though the movement of the minimum wage bills could have been a significant factor, it seems like so far, it’s not enough.

--Annamarie Sysling