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From our State Capitol in Lansing to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, WKAR is committed to explaining how the actions of lawmakers are affecting Michiganders. Political and government reporter Abigail Censky leads this section. There are also stories from Capitol correspondents Cheyna Roth, Rick Pluta and the Associated Press. As the 2020 presidential race begins, look here for reports on the role Michigan will play in electing or re-electing the president.

MDOC Raise Concerns Over House Version Of Its Budget

Todd Ehlers
Flickr - creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

A spending plan for the Michigan Department of Corrections passed out of a state House committee. It would redirect millions of dollars that previous budgets had allocated for certain projects – like prison maintenance – to other priorities.

Chris Gautz is a spokesman for the department. He said this could cause funding problems within the department.

“This new system that they’re trying to put in place, all it does is move around the state’s problems and doesn’t actually solve them," said Gautz. “It’s very common for departments to have these funds expanded to the new fiscal year. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not doing these projects. Many are underway and would be in jeopardy if funding is raided for these other purposes."

The department is concerned this would mean it wouldn’t be able to finance the completion of major ongoing projects, like the new Vocational Village at the women’s prison.

Republican Representative Thomas Albert is chair of the House Corrections subcommittee.

“We have the power of the purse and we have the authority to repurpose funds that were used in the past," said Rep. Albert.

GOP lawmakers say they’re trying to fund a number of priorities within the department. But they’re willing to keep working with MDOC.

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