- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan House committee on Wednesday approved a roughly $38.7 billion budget for most state departments along party lines.

Most Democrats passed on their votes rather than directly voting against it after the GOP-controlled committee rejected dozens of their proposed amendments during committee meetings Tuesday and Wednesday. The vote sends the bill to the full House for consideration.

House Fiscal Agency Director Mary Ann Cleary says the total dollar amount will be slightly higher because the committee did approve a handful of other amendments. The budget excludes education funding, which is part of a separate bill.

“I think this is a responsible budget,” said House Appropriations Chair Al Pscholka, a Stevensville Republican. “It’s probably not the sexiest, but that’s OK because I don’t know if that’s what people are really craving anyway.”

Democratic amendments that lawmakers approved include shifting funds from a Great Lakes restoration fund to fight the spread of Zika virus and an extra $3.2 million to extend food assistance through the Heat and Eat program to some 150,000 households. They also approved including an additional $3 million annually to pay for some firefighters’ cancer bills, a Republican amendment.

The Zika-fighting amendment would fund $250,000 for mosquito traps in certain areas of the state and be used to help educate the public about the virus. Officials have confirmed two Zika cases in Michigan.

The extra Heat and Eat program money would also unlock $138 million more in funding for that program that the federal government would match, lawmakers said.


This story has been corrected to reflect that budget is $38.7 billion, instead of $47 billion.

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