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The Latest: Former AG Kelley urges Snyder to veto bill

December 21, 2018
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From left, senators Mike Kowal, R-White Lake, and Jim Annanich, D-Flint, talk with staff about an amendment to be considered as the Michigan senate takes on a flurry of bills on what should be the last day of the "lame duck" session, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP)
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From left, senators Mike Kowal, R-White Lake, and Jim Annanich, D-Flint, talk with staff about an amendment to be considered as the Michigan senate takes on a flurry of bills on what should be the last day of the "lame duck" session, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Latest on the Michigan Legislature’s lame-duck session (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

Former Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley is urging Gov. Rick Snyder to veto a bill that would automatically let the Legislature intervene in court cases.

Kelley, a Democrat and the longest-serving state attorney general in U.S. history, issued a statement Friday, hours after the Republican-backed legislation won approval in a marathon day of voting.

Kelley says it would be an “appalling abuse of power” if the Republican governor signed the bill. He says Snyder “would go down in history as being against constitutional government.”

Snyder has not said if he will sign the legislation. Republican lawmakers say the move is necessary in case Democratic Attorney General-elect Dana Nessel chooses not to defend certain laws.

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6:55 a.m.

Michigan Republicans have voted to make it harder to initiate ballot drives, sending Gov. Rick Snyder a bill that would impose a geographical-based requirement on signature gathering.

The final votes early Friday capped a marathon day at the end of a contentious session following November’s election.

Democrats say the legislation is a “power grab” meant to undermine the will of voters. Republicans says it is reasonable to ensure more people from across the state could weigh in on ballot initiatives before they go to the ballot.

The legislation would let no more than 15 percent of signatures come from any one of Michigan’s 14 congressional districts.

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6:15 a.m.

Michigan’s Legislature has approved a $1.3 billion budget plan that would spend more on roads, environmental cleanup and mental health counselors in schools.

The bills heading to Gov. Rick Snyder for his expected signature also would allocate funding to hire more child protective services caseworkers in the wake of a scathing audit of the agency. The vote early Friday was the final chance for the Republican governor and many lawmakers to put their imprint on spending.

Majority Republicans and Democrats voted for the legislation. But Democrats voted against a related measure that would redirect taxes from online sales to roads and other priorities. They say it is unfair to schools that were in line to get the windfall from a U.S. Supreme Court decision that enabled the state to require taxation from more online purchases.

Republicans says schools already are getting record funding.

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6 a.m.

The Republican-led Michigan Legislature has voted to empower the Legislature to intervene in lawsuits, a right already granted to the state attorney general.

The bill approved Friday in the final hours of a lame-duck session is opposed by Democrats who call it a power grab before Democrat Dana Nessel leads the attorney general’s office. The measure could ensure the Republican-led Legislature’s ability to support laws if Nessel or Democratic-Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer choose to drop appeals in cases the state loses.

Republicans dispute criticism that the legislation would undermine the role of the attorney general. They say it would simply ensure that the Legislature has a voice as more public policy issues are addressed in the courts.

Democrats question the timing and counter that the legislation is an unconstitutional overreach. The bill is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder.

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1 p.m.

The Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature is poised to legalize online gambling and spend more on roads and environmental cleanup in the closing hours of its lame-duck session.

The $1.2 billion budget legislation is a final chance for GOP Gov. Rick Snyder and many lawmakers to put an imprint on state spending before they leave office. The gambling measures would make Michigan the fifth state where online wagers would be legal.

Legislators remain in session overnight into Friday, the last day of the two-year term. Snyder will be succeeded by Democrat Gretchen Whitmer in January.

Democrats are criticizing a proposal to redirect revenue from the school aid fund to roads and other priorities.

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