The Latest: Michigan House approves online gambling bill
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on the Michigan Legislature’s final session day before summer break (all times local):
Michigan would legalize online gambling under a bill passed by the state House.
Lawmakers voted 68-40 Tuesday night for two main bills to create a Lawful Internet Gaming Act that would regulate online versions of licensed casino games.
Thirty-five percent of profits from the platforms would go into a new Internet Gaming Fund to enforce regulations. Five percent would go to the Michigan transportation fund, another 5 percent would be put into the school state aid fund and the rest would go to the city of Detroit — which has the state’s only non-tribal casinos.
If the bills pass the Senate and then the governor’s desk, Michigan would join a wave of states currently exploring the online gambling industry as a source of revenue. Critics say the proposal would enable gambling addicts, especially young adults.
The Senate is not expected to consider the legislation until after it returns from a summer break.
Michigan’s first county veteran fund has been approved by lawmakers, but with less than half of its proposed $5 million appropriation.
The state House voted almost unanimously Tuesday to create the County Veteran Service Fund, which would pay for employees in each county who are tasked with helping veterans adjust back to civilian life. The bill now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder.
A total of $2.1 million was set aside in the next fiscal year for the fund. Each county’s grant consists of a base $25,000 amount. If available, counties may receive additional funding based on their per-capita veteran populations.
Bill sponsor Rep. Jason Wentworth, a Clare Republican, says the fund is crucial because limited access to services and confusing paperwork for federal benefits has been a recurring barrier within veteran communities.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to better prepare Michigan’s workforce has passed the state Legislature.
The House on Tuesday voted 105-4 to fund the initiative with $100 million this upcoming fiscal year. The bills now go to Snyder.
Most of the money, earmarked from the state’s Higher Education Student Loan Authority fund, would be funneled into scholarships and career-oriented programs within high school. The goal is to maintain a pipeline from high school graduation to a job in professional trades, information technology or another high-demand field.
Snyder, an outgoing governor, is touting talent development as his final mission in office.
Zoos and other licensed breeders raring to breed their own tiger may get their chance under a bill that has narrowly passed the Michigan House.
Lawmakers voted 55-54 Tuesday to allow large carnivore breeding in Michigan. Such animals are defined as lions, tigers, bears and other large cats.
Michigan currently prohibits breeding such species. The bill would grant breeding licenses for those who intend to use the animals in an education or exhibit setting. They would be barred from letting patrons come in contact with the animal or from selling it.
The bill will not be taken up by the Senate until after a summer break. It is intended to remove barriers to zoo breeding. But critics such as the State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Section say it goes too far in loosening restrictions on dangerous animals.
Another bill, approved 63-46, would allow the breeding of black bears in certain situations.
The Michigan Legislature is meeting to pass a state budget and give final approval to bike safety and other bills before a summer break.
Tuesday is expected to be the final day of legislative voting for nearly three months.
The top priority is approving a $57 billion spending plan, but the Republican-led House and Senate also plan to send Gov. Rick Snyder a host of other bills. They include imposing a 3-foot distance requirement when drivers pass bicyclists, letting industry representatives weigh in during the state’s environmental rule-making process and emphasizing that schoolchildren be put on a path to filling in-demand jobs in the future.