Southwest Michigan Today Monday July 17, 2017

Jul 17, 2017

State House Republicans and Democrats introduce legislation affecting immigrants. Michigan Democrats and anti-Trump groups team up to do healthcare town halls. Kalamazoo County wants to move the veterans service office. The Kellogg Foundation grants Battle Creek $1.5 million for economic development. New data shows Michigan gets most of its newcomers from Texas. 

A package of state House bills would prevent foreign students from receiving college scholarships. The Detroit Free Press says that legislation was introduced by House Republicans last week. It now moves on to the full House of Representatives. GOP lawmakers also sponsored a bill that would only allow U.S. citizens and permanent residents to receive loans from the State Housing Development Authority. Democrats have introduced their own bills that affect immigrants - including legislation that would allow undocumented workers to have driver’s licenses or state I-Ds. None of these bills sponsored by state Democrats have had a hearing yet.

Michigan Democrats and an anti-Trump activist groups are hosting a series of town halls on the debate over health care policy. GOP lawmakers are actively trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act enacted during the Obama administration. Mlive says state Democrats and Invisible groups kicked off the town halls this weekend in Ann Arbor. Organizers say the series will help educate the public about changes in the health system and how they might protect their benefits. The health care town hall will take place in Grand Rapids on August 9th. There will also be an event in Kalamazoo, but the date has yet to be determined.

Kalamazoo County officials want to move the veterans service office to the local mental health authority. But Mlive says the chair of the county’s veterans committee doesn’t think that’s a good idea. The county wants to transfer the office to Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to expand its offerings and create more opportunities for grant funding. But Veterans Committee Chair Bob Hencken says that could hinder the office’s ability to submit benefits claims for vets. The committee also thinks it should have the power to hire and fire employees at the veterans office. After the transfer, the county could choose to dissolve the five-person veterans committee.

The Kellogg Foundation will grant the City of Battle Creek $1.5 million to spur economic development. The Battle Creek Enquirer says the three-year grant will help support entrepreneurs and revitalize struggling neighborhoods. Most of the funding will go toward housing incentives - primarily within the Battle Creek Public Schools district. The city also hopes to add more jobs in the area by encouraging small businesses to move in.

Florida is the number one state that Michiganders move to, but the people most likely to come to Michigan are Texans. According to data from the Internal Revenue Service gathered by Mlive, more than 8,000 people moved from Texas to Michigan in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Though Texas is where Michigan gets most of its newcomers, more people relocated to Texas from Michigan overall - a net loss of more than a thousand people. The IRS data also found that the number of people moving out of Michigan is the lowest it’s been in a decade.