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Legislature backtracks on Detroit veterans’ home

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A new veterans’ home may not go in Detroit as originally planned.

State lawmakers OK’d a bill Wednesday that says the new home can go in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb counties. If the state still can’t find a place within 45 days, then it can look in the greater southeast Michigan area. The measure was part of a larger funding bill that included funding to address a chemical that has cropped up in groundwater around the state.

Senator David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, and some other Democrats were not on board with the change. He says it means the home could be as far away as Livingston County. 

“Livingston County is an hour away from the city of Detroit, and in my estimation would not provide any reasonable level of services to the veterans who work in the city of Detroit, work and play within the city of Detroit,” he said.

But Senator Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, says the state needs the flexibility in order to find the best facility for the veterans of Southeast Michigan.

“That may be the city of Detroit, that may be Wayne County, that may be Macomb County, it may be Oakland County, maybe somewhere else that better serves the residents and the veterans of Southeast Michigan,” he said. “They need that flexibility to find the right property.”

The measure is on its way to the governor’s desk. 

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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