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Brinks: Economic policy, civil rights legislation among first priorities for new Democratic majority

Michigan State Senate
Wikipedia Media Commons
Michigan State Senate

The Michigan Legislature officially ended its session Wednesday, leaving a host of priorities for next year.

Incoming leadership says monetary policy items, like writing the state’s next budget and increasing tax breaks for low-income workers, are among its early goals.

Democratic Senator Winnie Brinks will be her chamber's next leader.

She said her caucus will have to be strategic about how it handles being in charge for the first time in nearly four decades.

“We’re going to take a thoughtful approach and make sure that we’re doing things well, [and] that stuff we’ve introduced in the past is really ready for the moment that we’re in -- that it’s not 5- or 8-year-old policy that was a good idea then that we kept introducing,” Brinks said.

When asked what the first bill introduced under her watch will be, Brinks said she didn’t know yet.

But she mentioned increasing the earned income tax credit is something she expects to occur sooner than later.

The measure is something that's been “important to Democrats for decades," Brinks said. "It’s also something that there are many Republicans who support. So that’s not something that I think is a partisan idea, but it is a big idea and it’s important policy that I think we can get done early.”

Other priorities Brinks mentioned include expanding civil rights protections and repealing taxes on retirement income.

Still, Brinks said the budget will likely take up much of the chamber’s time. Other priorities could take longer than people may hope.

“We’ll be training committee chairs in January, we won’t even be sworn in until the 11th, people’s different positions in terms of whose leading which committee won’t be announced until then. So, sometimes it feels a little bit slow when we get off to the committee process,” Brinks said.

She said budget talks have already begun.

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Colin Jackson is the Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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