Whitmer vetoes $10M for exonerees, prefers in budget instead

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer delivers her State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a line-item veto of legislation that would have added $10 million to a nearly depleted state fund that compensates wrongfully convicted inmates.

Whitmer said Friday she supports the funding, but it should be included in a spending bill — not the legislation she signed to improve transparency and reporting for the compensation fund.

Whitmer cited one of her previous executive directives, in which she promised to use her veto power to uphold citizens’ referendum rights. The Michigan Supreme Court has interpreted the state constitution to make laws with spending in them immune from referendum.

The bill sponsor, Republican Rep. Steve Johnson, is criticizing the Democratic governor’s decision and accusing her of “playing politics” to gain leverage for other spending she wants in supplemental budget legislation.

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