The week in Michigan politics: Roads funding, lottery and welfare, human rights in Royal Oak
This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss funding proposals to fix Michigan’s roads, the number of lottery winners on welfare, and how a human rights ordinance is moving forward in Royal Oak.
The State House Transportation Committee has begun hearings on a road funding strategy. The $1.6 billion plan would result in higher fuel taxes and driver fees. The plan also eliminates the six percent Michigan sales tax on fuel purchases.
Lottery winners on welfare
A report from the Department of Human Services shows that 14 percent of Michigan’s lottery winners are either on welfare or live with someone on welfare.
A law passed last year allows the state to stop lottery winners from collecting food stamps after it was found that a lottery winner won hundreds of thousands of dollars and continued to use food stamps.
Lessenberry says in regards to the recent study, “the number itself, 14 percent, doesn’t tell us much. We don’t know whether these people are winning $5, $10 or whether they are winning millions of dollars,” Lessenberry says.
Human rights ordinance in Royal Oak
After years of debate over gay rights in Royal Oak, the city commission has voted to put a human rights proposal on the November ballot.
The ordinance is aimed at protecting gays from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations like restaurants and hotels.
Royal Oak voters overwhelmingly defeated a similar measure in 2001.
But as Lessenberry explains, “The interesting thing about this ordinance, it’s not quite like some of the others. While everyone is talking about it in terms of gay rights, it adds a whole lot of other kind of protected people. It says you can’t discriminate against somebody who is pregnant or might become pregnant, or HIV status, and also intriguing things like weight.”