The Latest: Snyder seeks $46M to improve indigent defense
Feb. 07, 2018
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on Gov. Rick Snyder's budget proposal (all times local):
One of the largest funding increases included in Gov. Rick Snyder's budget proposal would go toward improving court-provided legal defense for poor people accused of crimes.
Snyder said Wednesday the $46 million in proposed spending is needed to comply with a law he signed more than four years ago. He told legislators that if people are accused of crimes and don't have money to hire a lawyer, "they should have a reasonable defense."
The spending would help meet four initial standards approved last year. Those include ensuring that defense counsel is at the defendant's first court appearance and other critical stages, and that the public defender has resources to retain experts.
Gov. Rick Snyder plans to end Michigan's use of a company to feed prisoners and return to hiring state workers to handle food service.
The Republican governor made the announcement while delivering his budget proposal to lawmakers Wednesday. He says his administration and Trinity Food Services have mutually agreed to not extend the contract, which ends July 31.
Trinity was hired in 2015 after the state terminated a $145 million contract with Aramark Correctional Services after the company came under scrutiny for unapproved menu substitutions, worker misconduct and other issues.
The state's initial outsourcing in 2013 led to the loss of 370 unionized state jobs replaced by lower-paid private workers.
Snyder says hiring state employees to do the work would not cost more money overall because the prison population is declining. He says the benefits of privatization do not outweigh the cost, and the experiment has not been "successful."
Gov. Rick Snyder is seeking to boost base funding for most of Michigan's public schools by the largest dollar amount in more than 15 years.
Snyder on Wednesday will ask lawmakers for a $240 per-pupil increase for school districts that get the minimum grant — a 3.1 percent boost for more than 75 percent of traditional schools and all charters. Higher-funded schools would get $120 more, a 1.4 percent increase.
Snyder also is proposing to shift $325 million in general funds to road repairs, more than double what's called for under law.
It's the Republican governor's eighth and final budget presentation to the GOP-led Legislature, where a push for tax cuts could conflict with Snyder's spending priorities.
His administration previously announced plans to close a Muskegon-area prison to save money.