Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court could toss out the Affordable Care Act, so she will ask state lawmakers tonight in her State of the State message to write all the Obamacare safeguards into state law.
And she will go around the Republican legislature and sell bonds to fix the roads.
The governor has said she is not into a lot of pomp and circumstance when it comes to the annual State of the State and she will prove that.
Normally governors take about an hour to lay out their agenda. The governor’s speech tonight is a crisp 35 minutes.
As expected the governor will ask the State Transportation Commission this week to sell bonds to fix the roads with a 1.29% interest rate.
She does need not the approval of the two Republican legislative leaders to do this and, while they have raised concerns about going into debt to pave the roads, the governor says her move is fiscally prudent and she’ll do this without Republican support.
However the Republicans want a say on where those bonding dollars will go, but the governor will spend the bulk of it in urban areas where the roads are the worst and not in outstate Michigan where a lot of Republican lawmakers live and the roads are not that bad, she argues.
“Why fix the roads that aren’t the most traveled?,” asks the governor. “Why fix roads that don’t need to be built? We have lots of roads that have been neglected for a long time that need to be rebuilt. We have access to low rates.”
On the health care front, the governor is very concerned at the Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare may be tossed out by the high courts which is why she will ask the Republican legislature to put into state law all of the guarantees in the federal law, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions, paying for birth control, ambulance service, immunizations.
It could be a tough sell to get Republican support.
She’ll also create a task force to reduce the cost of prescription drugs by allowing Michigan residents to get their medicine in Canada.
She will ask announced a partnership with the Detroit Medical Center and MSU to deal with the health concerns of pregnant women.
She always has wanted a new welcoming center on Mackinac Island.
At the urging of organized labor she wants to make sure workers get overtime for work over 40 hours a week and she wants to protect against paycheck fraud.
And she will pay tribute to former Gov. William Milliken. She learned about bi-partisanship, civility, and how to be a good governor, in part, from Mr. Milliken, who died last year.
The governor is still trying the channel Mr. Milliken’s bipartisan strategy but the impatient governor is not waiting around for the other side to do the same.
She explains, “I’ve tried to work with them and remain eager to get the to the table on a long term funding solution but I’ve got to get things moving and moving unilaterally if I have to.”
That unilateral movement begins tonight with the governor’s second State of the State at 7 pm tonight.
You can watch the livestream of tonight’s speech on wlns.com.