Lansing Update: April 24, 2009

In this issue of Lansing Update:

  1. Second-Parent Adoption Bill Heads to House Floor
  2. Proposals for $785 Million Budget Deficit Expected Next Week

Second-Parent Adoption Bill Heads to House Floor

Legislation that would amend the Michigan Adoption Code to allow for “second-parent” adoption won approval this week in the House Judiciary Committee [Link no longer available —Ed.] as the Michigan Legislature returned from its two-week Easter recess.

House Bill 4131 passed on an 8–6 party line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor of the measure and all Republicans voting against. One Democratic representative was excused from the vote. An amendment to the bill sponsored by Minority Vice Chair Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) would have provided an exemption for faith-based adoption agencies, but it failed without any support from the Democratic members of the committee.

Michigan currently allows married couples or single individuals to adopt children, and the legislation is widely viewed to allow for same-sex couples to jointly adopt. Michigan Catholic Conference indicated to the committee its support for the amendment and its opposition to the final bill.

HB 4131 awaits consideration from the full House of Representatives.

Proposals for $785 Million Budget Deficit Expected Next Week

While both chambers of the legislature were away from Lansing for Easter break, the state’s budget deficit for the current fiscal year became much worse than expected. In fact, what was previously an anticipated $300 million deficit quickly plummeted into a $785 million shortfall due to a dramatic decrease in revenue collections.

Over the past two weeks the administration and legislative leaders from both the Senate and House of Representatives have met to discuss ways to address the deficit. This week those parties announced that solutions would be presented to the legislature next week, most likely in the form of significant budget cuts, a series of government reforms to address the structural deficit, and a “painful” number of state employee layoffs.

Even with the emergence of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds, legislative leaders are expected to present budget cuts as stimulus dollars will not be an option for widely anticipated future budget deficits.