News & Happenings

Governor Whitmer – 2020 SOS Summary

Jan 30, 2020

Governor Whitmer
January 30, 2020

Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave a short and optimistic speech for her second State of the State Address. The Democratic Governor highlighted some of the successes from her first year in office such as auto no-fault reform, criminal justice reform and actions taken to recover damages for the opioid crisis and PFAS pollution. Additionally, she emphasized the need for working with the Republican controlled legislature to find solutions on fixing Michigan’s roads, maintaining and expanding job growth, educating the next generation and providing affordable health care for Michigan residents.

Following up on her campaign promise to fix the roads, Governor Whitmer is holding a State Transportation Committee hearing tomorrow morning with the intent to issue bonds for road funding. She acknowledged this was not a complete fix but would require adequate ongoing funding and challenged the legislature to send reasonable proposals to her desk.

Governor Whitmer emphasized the strength of Michigan’s economy, focusing on the auto sector and mentioning each of the Big 3 auto manufacturers. She also wants to continue work on the following;
• Continue the construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge bringing thousands of jobs and creating an economic corridor.
• Expand paid family leave for workers with child births or adoptions
• Raise the threshold for overtime projections and end payroll fraud

Education continued to be a hallmark of the Governor’s agenda, similar to what she has originally proposed last year.
• Universal pre-k for areas of poverty or low-test scores
• Creating access to childcare for young parents or those enrolled in school
• Expanding literacy coaches to ensure compliance with Michigan’s 3rd grade reading law
• Job skills training through the bipartisan MI Connect legislation
• Challenging potential college students to fill out FAFSA forms to maximize the ability to pay for higher education

Finally, health care continues to be a hot topic going into 2020 and Governor Whitmer has legislation and executive actions planned.
• Codify ACA protections for pre-existing conditions
• Extend Medicaid for women from 2 months to 12 months postpartum
• Ensure access to contraception
• Reduce racial disparity in health care with implicit bias training for health care providers

Given the brevity of the address, the Governor promised further updates throughout the year on drinking water and climate change. Governor Gretchen Whitmer will also have a national spotlight as she has been selected to give the Democratic rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address on February 4th.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Ryan Burtka, MAHU Lobbyist, at 517.485.4044.