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GOP-sponsored budget bill would encourage nursing home investigations

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Democrats are blasting a Republican-backed budget bill that would give local prosecutors money to investigate Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 response.

Republicans say the $1.25 million measure is necessary because they’re not getting the information needed to investigate nursing homes deaths. Democrats say that’s because the evidence does not exist to back the GOP claims.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently told GOP lawmakers who requested a criminal investigation there’s no evidence a crime occurred.

Senator Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) is the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

He says it’s wrong to put money into the budget that’s dependent on a prosecutor opening a criminal inquiry.

“The idea that you would put an appropriation that is dependent upon someone investigating your political adversaries is not normal, and I think it’s very much like putting a bribe into the state budget,” Hertel said. “And I’m appalled that anyone would think that’s a reasonable action.”

The bill was adopted on party lines and sent to the state House. If it’s sent to Whitmer’s desk, a veto is a near certainty.

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Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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