Snyder OKs budget bill

By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press
LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder signed a $39.9 billion general spending bill Thursday and said a restriction on state aid to Planned Parenthood that the Republican-led Legislature inserted was unenforceable.
Federal and state laws already prevent public funds from being used to provide abortions.
The budget measure includes a provision prohibiting the state Department of Health and Human Services from contracting for non-abortion family planning and pregnancy prevention services with an entity that performs abortions, if another organization that does not offer abortions applies. The agency would be required to place a higher priority on contracting for family planning services in counties without them before increasing non-abortion aid to an abortion provider in counties with existing services.
“We did a legal review of that, and it’s unenforceable language because it’s trying to change another statute that pre-exists,” the Republican governor told reporters after signing the legislation on the steps of the Capitol. He was referring to a 2002 law that makes it state policy to prioritize the allocation of family planning funds to groups that do not perform abortions or advocate for abortion rights. Anti-abortion advocates have accused the state of ignoring the law.
The state contracts with Planned Parenthood to provide non-abortion family planning services to nearly 46,000 clients at 19 clinics in 17 counties. The services include contraception, preventive health exams, cervical cancer screenings and referrals to other health providers as necessary. The group’s base state contract is worth $4.4 million in the current budget. The “boilerplate” budget wording would have affected funding in 10 counties and services to roughly 20,000 people, said DHHS spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin.
Planned Parenthood of Michigan thanked Snyder.
“As he responds to the Legislature’s attempt to strategically prohibit Planned Parenthood’s Title X participation county by county across Michigan, it is clear that he recognizes the importance of access to comprehensive reproductive care for Michiganders and the role Planned Parenthood plays in providing that care,” president and CEO Lori Carpentier said.
In signing the spending legislation, Snyder touted how he and legislators were able to enact it months before the start of the Oct. 1 fiscal year for the eighth year in a row. He said people will see “a lot more barrels” on the roads due to increased transportation spending. He also pointed to hiring more state troopers, holding the line on corrections spending, boosting grants to prevent sexual assaults on college campuses and — in comparison to when he took office — long-term efforts to pay down debt and increase savings.
Snyder will sign the other major piece of his final budget — the education spending measure — next week.