By David Eggert, Associated Press
LANSING (AP) – Republican Gov. Rick Snyder will launch his second-term agenda with a State of the State speech Tuesday outlining priorities such as an expanded focus on jobs in the skilled trades and a re-evaluation of government programs.
But he also has unfinished business from his 2014 address, after a year of achieving mixed results.
As promised, he created an office to attract immigrants and won federal approval to make Michigan the second state government to run a regional center for the EB-5 visa program, which seeks foreign entrepreneurs.
But a bigger immigration proposal he made shortly after his annual speech — asking the U.S. government to set aside 50,000 work visas over five years for Detroit — appears to have hit a wall in the Obama administration.
Snyder and lawmakers also boosted funding designed to end a waiting list for seniors receiving in-home services like Meals on Wheels.
Yet the governor ran into resistance in the GOP-controlled Legislature over legislation that would put in place a new statewide evaluation system for public school teachers and fashion an “early-warning” system so the state can intervene in K-12 districts with financial troubles.
Here is the status of some other initiatives Snyder announced a year ago:
In the speech, he alluded to an election-year tax cut plan he then detailed a few weeks later. The revised homestead property tax credit would have targeted households with less than $60,000 in annual income. It never became law due to budget numbers being revised downward and legislators’ desire to direct more money to road repairs. In last month’s lame-duck session, though, Democrats successfully included a restoration of a tax credit for low-wage earners in a transportation funding deal – which is contingent on a May statewide vote on hiking the sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent.
Snyder said he wanted a “comprehensive” road funding deal he had been pushing for. It got done in December, but the proposed additional $1.3 billion a year in spending and restructured fuel taxes will not occur if the ballot measure fails.
Snyder followed through on committing an additional $65 million to bolster funding for low-income 4-year-olds to attend preschool, in hopes of eliminating what once was a 29,000-child waiting list.
Snyder wanted a uniform definition of truancy in schools across the state. A workgroup spent the year talking and in December, legislation was proposed to require districts to notify a child’s parent to attend a meeting regarding the student’s attendance irregularity, failing grades or behavior problems. The bills were not passed but likely will be revived in the new two-year session.
Snyder says the number of students and companies in the MAT2 apprenticeship program has doubled. The program combines classroom instruction with paid work experience in a three-year program in the fields of mechatronics, information technology and technical product design, allowing participants to have the cost of their associate’s degree covered by their employer.
Snyder successfully secured $2 million in mid-budget year funding for some lower-performing schools to move to a year-round calendar. But continued funding for this fiscal year was scrapped in budget talks, prompting Democratic Rep. Andy Schor of Lansing to push for it to be put back in. “Education options are tremendously important to ensure that children, especially in at-risk schools, can succeed,” he said in September.
Snyder signed a law requiring K-12 schools to conduct one extra lockdown drill and one fewer fire drill a year. The change also makes districts post documentation of completed drills on their websites within 30 days of completion.
Snyder signed a law to prevent people from bidding on foreclosed properties if they have a history of unpaid taxes and blight fines.
He signed a law intend to crack down on sales of stolen scrap metal.
© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.