Senator Hopgood, under his constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill No. 960.
Senator Hopgood’s statement is as follows:
I appreciate the work of the subcommittee chair on this budget and two previous budgets. I did vote “no” on the DNR budget that was before us. As has been commented on in the amendment, the Governor’s budget had proposed a policy that I did support. The Governor’s policy would have provided funding for a program that would have directly impacted some of the urban areas that need it the most. Because of that, they have been neglected the most, in particular, Detroit, Saginaw, Pontiac, and Flint.
The initiative would have established an internship program to give teens in these areas an opportunity to get their foot in the door at a good-paying, socially-responsible job. This funding was eliminated from the budget that we voted on. Not only would the program have given teens in Michigan’s urban areas real-world work experience, it would also have provided them with needed mentorship opportunities and would directly improve our communities through projects they would be working on.
As Governor Snyder noted, many individuals at the Department of Natural Resources got their start in this same fashion as summer interns for the department. Many of the teens in the cities this policy would have impacted have little opportunity to experience the pure Michigan that we all hold dear, let alone obtain a good summer job.
We have missed, by passing this budget, an opportunity to provide for meaningful work experience and improve Michigan’s communities, and it seems we have forgotten the trajectory of our most valuable natural resource—our youth. Our urban areas and our future are dependent on the decisions that we make here in this very room. I would hope that we would connect better with the citizens of the state of Michigan and consider their needs rather than the needs of only a few.