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5 bills the Michigan state legislature should pay attention to: September 2021

The following article explains five bills that were introduced, passed, or enacted by the Michigan State Legislature or Governor Gretchen Whitmer during the month of September.

On the second and fourth Friday of each month, the Michigan Daily publishes a compilation of bills introduced to the Michigan State Legislature for use by University of Michigan students.

1. A bill decriminalizing psychedelics

Senate Bill 631

Status: Introduced to Michigan Senate

State Senator Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, introduced a bill this month in the Michigan Senate to decriminalize two plants and fungi found in psychedelics: psilocybin and mescaline.

The bill would allow the possession, cultivation and delivery of these two substances while maintaining their commercial production and sale prohibited. However, specialists could charge clients if psychedelics are used in counseling, spiritual guidance, or a related service.

Irwin’s introduction of the bill comes a year after Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution decriminalizing psychedelics. Ann Arbor also declared September Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Awareness Month.

The bill was also introduced ahead of the first Entheofest, an event held on the Diag celebrating and calling for the decriminalization of herbal remedies and mushrooms in Ann Arbor and the United States.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Justice and Public Safety.

2. Legislation reforming school disciplinary procedures

Senate Bills 634, 635 and 636

Status: Introduced to Michigan Senate

Irwin also introduced and co-sponsored legislation to reform the disciplinary process in schools alongside State Senators Erika Geiss, D-Taylor and Adam Hollier, D-Detroit, last week.

The aim of the package is to mitigate the long-term effects of Michigan’s zero tolerance policy on school discipline which was instituted in the 1990s and finally dropped in 2016. The policy was found to affect in some way disproportionately students of color and students with disabilities.

Senate Bill 634 would establish that students could appeal their expulsions and, pending an appeal process, would still have the option of keeping abreast of their class work.

Senate Bill 635 establishes due process for students who face disciplinary action. The law sets up an independent decision-maker to decide whether and in what form a student should be disciplined.

Senate Bill 636 makes additions to the seven factors that must be considered when a student faces disciplinary action. The additions revolve around the student’s living situation and ensure that they are taken into account when faced with disciplinary measures.

3. Bills Establishing Grants for Crisis Intervention and Diversion Programs

Senate Bills 637 and 638

Status: Introduced to Michigan Senate

Senate Bills 637 and 638, introduced by State Senators Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, and Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, respectively, create grants for the creation or expansion of community programs d ‘crisis and prison intervention in municipalities.

Chang’s bill, SB 637, would allow community crisis intervention clinicians or peer responders to help defuse emergencies that include a person with mental illness.

SB 638 would provide grants to communities to create prison diversion programs for people with mental illness to participate in as an alternative to prison.

Mental illness affects approximately 23% of Michigan’s prison population. It was found that $ 95,000 was spent per year per prisoner with mental illness, compared to only $ 35,000 per year per prisoner without mental illness.

4. Higher education budget

Bill 4400

Status: Adopted by both chambers, promulgated

The higher education budget bill establishes a budget, separate from the bill describing the overall state budget, specifically targeting higher education.

The bill allocates about $ 2.2 billion of the total state budget for higher education this coming school year, in addition to the $ 17.1 billion in school aid that was part of a deal. budget signed in June.

Michigan colleges and universities will see a 4% funding increase in the 2022 budget in addition to a regular 1% funding increase. Community colleges are expected to receive most of the 1% increase.

The budget includes wording for the vaccine exemption and reporting requirements if a community or college requires vaccines.

5. Fiscal year 2022

Senate Bill 82

Status: Adopted by both chambers, promulgated

Senate Bill 82 includes a number of provisions that will help Michiganders graduate from high school, which has been a long-standing goal for Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Approximately $ 55 million will go to the Michigan Reconnect Program, $ 25 million for Futures for Frontliners, $ 40 million for Going Pro, and $ 8 million for the Michigan Pre-Apprenticeship Program, which will help Whitmer reach its 60% goal. Michiganders with a post-high school diploma or college diploma by 2030.

$ 500,000 is also included for a reintegration program in Washtenaw County to reduce barriers to employment and housing for residents leaving incarceration.

Washtenaw County District Attorney Eli Savit tweeted about this addition Tuesday night, expressing gratitude to Irwin for pushing for it to be included in the budget.

“This $ 500,000 will go a long way in removing those barriers,” wrote Savit. “I am grateful to @JeffMIrwin for bringing these resources to Washtenaw… Together we will continue to build a more equitable and secure Washtenaw.”

The bill also includes a 2% increase in state revenue sharing for cities, towns, townships and counties in the state of Michigan.

The Department of the Environment, Great Lakes and Energy will see its funding increase 158% to $ 153 million, while the Department of Natural Resources will experience a 4.1% cut in general funds and $ 1. 1% of gross credits.

Whitmer has until September 30 to sign a budget deal to avoid a government shutdown that could have taken place on October 1, the first day of the next fiscal year.
Journalist for the daily Julia Forrest can be contacted at [email protected].



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Jacob C.

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