UPDATE: Legislature OKs online gambling, passes $1.3B budget bill


UPDATE (7:05 a.m.) – Michigan’s Legislature has approved a $1.3 billion budget plan that would spend more on roads, environmental cleanup and mental health counselors in schools.
The bills heading to Gov. Rick Snyder for his expected signature also would allocate funding to hire more child protective services caseworkers in the wake of a scathing audit of the agency. The vote early Friday was the final chance for the Republican governor and many lawmakers to put their imprint on spending.
Majority Republicans and Democrats voted for the legislation. But Democrats voted against a related measure that would redirect taxes from online sales to roads and other priorities. They say it is unfair to schools that were in line to get the windfall from a U.S. Supreme Court decision that enabled the state to require taxation from more online purchases.
Republicans says schools already are getting record funding.

The Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature is poised to legalize online gambling and spend more on roads and environmental cleanup in the closing hours of its lame-duck session.
The $1.3 billion budget legislation is a final chance for GOP Gov. Rick Snyder and many lawmakers to put an imprint on state spending before they leave office. The gambling measures would make Michigan the fifth state where online wagers would be legal.
Legislators remain in session overnight into Friday, the last day of the two-year term. Snyder will be succeeded by Democrat Gretchen Whitmer in January.
Democrats are criticizing a proposal to redirect revenue from the school aid fund to roads and other priorities.

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