This week in Michigan politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss the sentencing of former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway, former Congressman’s Mark Schauer’s run for governor, and a proposed funding increase for education in the state budget this year.
Sentencing for former Supreme Court Justice
Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway was sentenced to a year in prison yesterday for bank fraud after hiding assets to qualify for a short sale on one of her homes.
Hathaway’s attorney wanted her to do community service, but federal prosecutors asked for prison time of 12 to 18 months.
Lessenberry agrees with prosecutors and says, “If the law means something, it has to punish the rich and powerful as well as the poor and it would be very hard to justify letting somebody off who clearly conspired to commit a crime.”
Mark Schauer announces run for governor
Former Congressman Mark Schauer has officially filed his paperwork to run for governor in the 2014 election.
Schauer was elected to Congress in 2008, and he served one term as the representative for the Battle Creek area.
While relatively unknown to the majority of Michiganders, Schauer is polling ahead of Governor Rick Snyder in some polls.
“These polls clearly show not much about Mr. Schauer, but there’s a lot of discontent with Governor Snyder, and it remains to be seen whether that will hold up,” Lessenberry says.
Education funding gets a boost in state budget
The Legislature has approved the state’s budget for next year which would make more money available for education.
The proposed increase would give an additional three percent to K-12 public schools and two percent to public community colleges and universities.
Lessenberry says this mostly means there won’t be any cuts to education funding, given that most of the increases are at or slightly below the inflation rate.
The budget does not call for the funding of the Common Core standards nor does it include a federally funded expansion of Medicaid, which Lessenberry says might have freed up more money for schools.
“I guess the education community would feel that it’s not as bad as some years, but there’s still a lot of dissatisfaction with this budget,” Lessenberry concludes.
The budget still needs to be approved by the House and Senate.