In an unusually short State of the State address before a joint session of Legislature, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a $3.5 billion borrowing plan to ‘fix the damn roads,’ and bypass the Republican-led Michigan Legislature. Her Plan B, which does not require legislative approval, adds or expands 122 road projects. It will nearly double the Capital Building Lansing Croppedamount of money to fix roads over the next five years. Gov. Whitmer called it a “fiscally responsible plan” with “no tax increase.” However, as she was preparing to announce the new plan, the Republican-controlled Senate passed a seven-bill transportation package (SB 517) on Jan. 28 that requires the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) work with an outside consulting firm to study the possibility of bringing toll roads to Michigan. In her address, Gov. Whitmer urged the Legislature to enshrine many of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions into state law to protect Michiganders if the federal government chooses to repeal the ACA. The protections would prohibit insurance companies from denying people due to pre-existing conditions, charging women more than men for the same plan, charging sick patients more than healthy patients, and cancelling coverage when an individual gets sick. The Governor also intends to expand Pre-K for kids who need it most by providing additional funding to the Great Start Readiness Program. Gov. Whitmer announced she's also directed the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to expand the right to overtime pay to thousands of Michigan workers. Currently, only workers making $35,000 or less have overtime rights.

Click here for more information in the Karoub State of the State Special Report.