Pagan Amendment Takes State a Step in Right Direction

Legislator wins amendment in state budget to help sexual assault survivors
Wednesday, April 27, 2016

LANSING — The House version of the state’s general omnibus budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year was passed during session today and included was an amendment offered by state Representative Kristy Pagan (D-Canton) to help provide comprehensive services for sexual assault survivors. The bill passed the House and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“Specialized sexual assault comprehensive service programs offer the support, counseling, advocacy and other essential services needed to help heal those who have experienced the trauma of sexual violence,” said Pagan. “I am extremely appreciative that my colleagues supported my amendment to ensure that we have the best resources available for comprehensive programs throughout Michigan.”

Pagan’s successful amendment will help add funding for grants for sexual assault prevention programs, which currently operate only with federal funding and cover just 33 of Michigan’s 83 counties.

“I was also pleased to see the approval of several Democratic amendments to the budget that will improve the lives of working families across the state,” said Pagan. “Many priorities that my Democratic colleagues have fought for were included in this budget bill, and it is long past time that they receive consideration.”

Other amendments included funding a cancer treatment program for firefighters who develop the illness as a result of their job; treatment and prevention of the Zika virus; an ombudsman to address concerns at the state’s two homes for veterans; and home heating assistance increase that will leverage nearly $140 million in available federal funding.

“While we took steps in the right direction with this budget bill, I am disappointed that several other amendments, including two more I offered, were not adopted,” said Pagan.

One of Pagan’s amendments would have created an equal pay commission to study ways to eliminate the wage gap and bring pay equity to Michigan. The other would have restored per diem and travel reimbursement funding to the State Board of Education — funding that was cut in retaliation for board members issuing draft guidance on ways that schools can be more welcoming and inclusive for LGBTQ students. Other Democratic amendments to increase revenue sharing to local governments and raise funding for senior nutrition programs were also defeated.

“We still have time to make this budget stronger,” Pagan said. “As the House and Senate enter conference committee to debate differences in both budgets, I am hopeful that my Senate colleagues will make positive changes. In the meantime, rest assured that I will continue advocating for funding priorities that invest in education, create good paying jobs, and finally fix our roads.”