Michigan Business Groups Give Support to Tuition-Free Programs

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. AP Photo

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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | No radar can be used to catch speeders on some San Diego streets ... Could NYC transit chief leave? ... Vermont governor likely to embrace Columbus Day change.

Leaders of two key Michigan business groups are coming out in support of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposal to offer state students free community college and other training programs. “This is not an entitlement program. This is not welfare,” said Michigan Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rich Studley. Small Business Association Michigan President Brian Calley said the Democratic governor has shown “visionary leadership.” The governor’s plan calls for paying for community college for any Michigan resident who graduates from a high school in the state starting in 2021. If students want to go to a four-year program, they could get a $2,500 scholarship, but only if they had a 3.0 grade-point average in high school and their family income is less than $80,000. Another program would pay for people younger than 25 to enroll in training or college community programs at no cost. Taken together, the programs aim to raise the portion of Michigan residents with post-high school credentials from 45% to 60%. Legislation to create the programs was introduced in recent days. [Associated Press; Detroit Free Press]

SPEED-LIMIT CONUNDRUM | San Diego has lowered speed limits on many city streets, often at the request of residents. But that’s in conflict with a little-known California law, which requires local governments to set speed limits at a certain level or be forced to forgo enforcement tools like radar guns. The San Diego Union-Tribune found through a public records request that there are 130 stretches where police can’t use radar to enforce the speed limit. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

INMATE DROP-OFF | Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is asking the Washington state Department of Corrections to figure out why a video captured another county releasing people into a parking lot under Interstate 5. A state official has said the people were being released after serving time for violating community supervision and were supposed to be taken to the local jail, where they could have gotten transportation to their homes.  [Seattle Times]

TRANSIT TANGLES | Colleagues of New York City’s transit chief, who has been profiled in the New Yorker as a potential savior of the troubled subway system, are telling the New York Times they are afraid Andy Byford will quit over conflicts with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. [New York Times]

COLUMBUS OFFICIALLY CANCELED | Vermont for a few years has celebrated Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, thanks to a proclamation by former Gov. Peter Shumlin. Now a bill passed by the legislature would make that shift official, a move that supporters say reflects how this country was settled and acknowledges the lingering impacts of colonization. Current Gov. Phil Scott said his office is reviewing the measure, but he thinks he will sign it. "I know it's controversial from many standpoints, from many people, but you know, it's just a day, and we'll get through it," Scott said. [Burlington Free Press]

Laura Magg is the Managing Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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