Senators Hopgood, Gregory, Hood, Young, Johnson, Whitmer and Smith, under their constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill No. 952.
Senator Hopgood moved that the statement he made during the discussion of the bill be printed as his reasons for voting “no.”
The motion prevailed.
Senator Hopgood’s statement, in which Senators Gregory, Hood, Young, Johnson, Whitmer and Smith concurred, is as follows:
I rise to give my “no” vote explanation on the budget for the Department of Education. Recently, Michigan received the embarrassing news that our state was one of only two to lose federal education dollars because of our lack of support for colleges and universities—just Michigan and Alabama.
Regrettably, in its current form, this budget will now completely defund the Michigan College Access Network because state funding is absolutely crucial to leverage private and protracted funding. By defunding this program, we are, in effect, leaving the network with a slim chance of survival.
The network’s primary purpose is to increase the college participation rate, especially for low-income, first-generation students and students of color. The network provides resources, programs, and services necessary to obtain college access for these individuals. Not only does the program have promise, it has proven results increasing the college access rate.
Michigan’s college access rate is growing. In fact, Michigan has the largest growth in the country on this metric under the network’s control. The elimination of these grants is unjust, to say the least, but is also a far cry from the reinvention that our Governor declared necessary. It is also a far cry from the reinvention that our Governor declared necessary to turn the state around.
Over the past two years, we have seen a systematic disinvestment in our public education system, and the budget before us continues the trend of eliminating opportunities for Michigan residents who need them the most. You can make all the plans you like about establishing an environment in which businesses are compelled to move to this state, but with the lack of proper funding and education and college access, we will not be able to provide the educated workforce as necessary for our competitive progress.
I will be voting “no” on this budget and ask that my colleagues do the same.
Senator Hopgood asked and was granted unanimous consent to make a statement and moved that the statement be printed in the Journal.
The motion prevailed.
Senator Hopgood’s first statement is as follows:
I rise to speak to my amendment on the budget for the Department of Education. This amendment will increase the number of hours eligible for reimbursement for childcare for low-income individuals. While many in this chamber will not understand necessarily the challenges that low-income people face with the high costs of childcare, we must acknowledge that many hardworking individuals in our state do the very best just to get by.
This chamber in turn will be punishing those hardworking individuals by disallowing them the very least we can do to aid in the childcare expenses. This amendment will allow us to remove a sense of burden from individuals in our state who need some help the most, and they are working, and they are raising children.
I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this.
Senator Hopgood’s second statement is as follows:
I rise to speak in support of the Hopgood amendment to the Department of Education budget. This amendment would provide for the full restoration of funding for the Michigan College Access Network. As many may know, the function of the Michigan College Access Network is to increase the college participation rate, especially amongst low-income, first-generation students and students of color. To defund this program is to send the wrong message to our citizens about where our interests lie.
The choice is simple. Restore funding for Michigan College Access Network, and tell our students that we believe in their future.
I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this amendment.
Senator Hopgood’s third statement is as follows:
I rise to speak to the Hopgood Amendment No. 3. This amendment would restore the funding for the Michigan College Access Network back to the Governor’s recommendation. He saw great value in securing funding for this important program in these times of, I guess, leaner budgets. So I think that is entirely appropriate for us to support this line item and put it back in so that, once again, we can help more kids secure their futures and go on to a higher education. I ask members to support this amendment.