Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bill boosting college scholarship to $4,000 headed to Granholm

OK, NOW I believe this is a done deal. :-)

Congrats, everyone. Never thought it would be so hard to do the right thing.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Lawmakers wrapped up work Wednesday on a plan to raise a scholarship for college-bound students in Michigan to $4,000.

The state Senate voted 38-0 to send the legislation to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who will sign it. The House approved the bill last week.

The state's current scholarship - called the Merit Award - gives high school students who do well on state standardized tests up to $3,000 toward their college bills.

The new plan increases the total amount available to $4,000 per student. The name of the Merit Award will change to the Michigan Promise grant.

Other things happening-

- The Senate sent bills to Gov. Jennifer Granholm that would ban the sale of thermostats and some other products containing mercury.

The bills would ban the sale of home thermostats containing mercury starting in 2009 and blood-pressure devices containing mercury in 2008.

Surprised to learn that anyone still uses mercury in these things.

- The Senate passed legislation designed to encourage the creation of a network of stem cell banks for umbilical cords and adult stem cells. Some bills headed to Granholm while others went back to the House for final passage.

That's fine, embryonic next year.

- The Senate sent Granholm a bill that would move an office charged with assuring children's safety in Michigan from the executive branch to the legislative branch.

Republicans said the Office of Children's Ombudsman would be "truly independent" if it were an autonomous entity under the Legislative Council, which is made up of eight Republicans and four Democrats. The office currently is an autonomous entity within the Department of Management and Budget.

Democrats opposed the measure and called it a "political bill."

That it was. Probably a big waste of time, too. Not going to happen.