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State Senate corrections' budget moves to floor with controversial immigration provision

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
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Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Capitol Building, Lansing, MI

A controversial provision in a budget bill (SB 135) would penalize communities with sanctuary city policies. A state Senate committee passed its version of the Michigan Department of Corrections budget on Wednesday.

The budget includes a provision that would penalize communities with policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with federal officials on immigration issues. They would lose a jail reimbursement.

Senator Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) is a bill sponsor. 

“I got elected to vote and promote the policy that we make in our state. I work with our partners in departments, but ultimately we as the lawmakers make the decision as to what goes in their budget,” says Barrett.

The department says this could negatively impact taxpayers and cases that have nothing to do with immigration.

Chris Gautz is a spokesman for the department. He says if the counties lose the money they’ll stop housing those inmates – and that means the prisons will have to take them.

“Keeping the program the way it is and not having these cases be in doubt is best for the individuals involved that would be serving time in county jail and it’s also much better for the county taxpayers and state taxpayers,” says Gautz.

The budget with the provision is waiting for a full Senate vote.

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