Skubick: Lame duck lawmakers race to the finish line

Michigan

A $55 million addition to the state capitol is in play during the lame duck legislative session and a new race track in Schwarz Creek would benefit from a new gaming expansion bill which is also pending.  

Protesters are singing about the lame duck session.

They don’t like it.

But lawmakers do like it because it gives them a chance to bring home the bacon to their districts.

For example, a local senator is pushing a $55 million welcoming center and auditorium that would be built in back of the state capitol for school kids.

“It’s more than an auditorium,” said state Sen. Curtis Hertel, Jr. “It’s a welcome center that is now lacking so that when school kids come here they will learn about the history of Michigan and that is important.”

Lawmakers are also debating a major expansion of gambling, including fantasy sports betting and horse racing wagering on your phone and for a new race track at the old site in Schwartz Creek next spring.

“What it will allow us to get more money by allowing betting on your phone,” said horse racing industry lobbyist Larry Jullian. “We get the tax revenue from the wagering that are done.”

Those who want to revamp the no-fault car insurance system are making an 11th hour push to give consumers a choice.

Instead of unlimited medical coverage, drivers could buy less coverage.

State Rep. Sylvia Santana explains, “You have choices which doctor you want so give people options when it comes to auto insurance.”

But the trial bar says if you pick lower coverage, when you are seriously hurt you won’t have the money to cover the cost.

“They don’t have it,” said trial lawyer Stephen Sinas. “And it does have economic harm way beyond what the alleged savings if this bill passes.”

The lame duck legislative session wraps up on Thursday.

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