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The Latest: Whitmer Endorses Hands-Free Driving Bill

Gretchen Whitmer

The Latest on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's State of the State speech (all times local):

11:40 p.m.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants Michigan to be the 17th state to adopt a hands-free driving law that restricts the use of mobile devices while driving.

The Democrat got behind the newly introduced legislation in her State of the State speech Tuesday night. Texting while driving is prohibited, but other uses of phones are allowed.

Whitmer says "you cannot navigate the road if you are looking at your phone."


9:15 p.m.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing a scholarship program that would provide college tuition assistance to many Michigan high school graduates.

The Michigan Opportunity Scholarship was unveiled in her State of the State speech Tuesday night. It would give graduates two years of tuition-free education at a community college or cover tuition for the first two for students attending a four-year college.

Students going to a four-year college would not qualify if their household income is above $80,000 or they do not have a 3.0 GPA. Whitmer also wants to help older adults with tuition if they are seeking an in-demand job in a second career.


7:05 p.m.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says there are two major crises Michigan must confront now — aging infrastructure and a lagging education system — or else it will become a tougher place to live, work and run a business.

The Democrat, delivering her first State of the State address Tuesday night, pointed to deteriorating roads, contaminated drinking water and the worst decline in childhood literacy among states measured every year since 2014.

She says "generations of leadership" have failed Michigan schoolchildren. She adds that just 18 percent of roads are in "good condition."

Detailed proposals will likely wait until Whitmer proposes her initial budget to lawmakers in March.


6:30 p.m.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will kick off a 50-event tour across Michigan following her first State of the State speech, starting in Grand Rapids with a focus on fixing the roads and making sure the workforce is adequately trained.

The Democrat will attend a breakfast Wednesday with business leaders, hosted by The Right Place economic development organization in Grand Rapids. She also will tour Grand Rapids Community College.

Whitmer is calling her post-State of the State events the "Home for Opportunity Tour." Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist or Cabinet members will attend the events that will extend into March.

Two of Whitmer's top priorities include addressing deteriorating road conditions and closing a "skills gap" so workers have the training they need to fill jobs.


5:35 a.m.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she will use her first State of the State address to focus on Michigan's "fundamentals" — such as the roads, drinking water and workforce.

The Democrat will speak Tuesday night during a joint session of the Republican-led Legislature.

She plans to focus in part on the magnitude of the problem with deteriorating roads and bridges , asking drivers and businesses to give feedback on what pothole-ridden infrastructure is costing them. A detailed proposal will likely wait until she proposes her budget in March.

Another major topic will be workforce development — ensuring that companies can fill their jobs with in-state workers who have the proper training. The issue applies to all workers, she says, regardless of whether they have four-year college degrees, trade certificates or something in-between.

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