Senator Tom Barrett was the only Senator to vote against funding Michigan’s K-12 schools and only one of two who voted against funding higher education in the state. House Bill 4411, now Public Act 48 of 2021, was signed into law by Governor Whitmer in July funding Michigan schools at a historic rate. House Bill 4400, now Public Act 86 of 2021, was signed into law by Governor Whitmer in September and funds community colleges and universities across the state.
Senator Barrett was the only no vote on HB 4411 and was joined by fellow Senator Jim Runestad in voting against funds for higher education. Despite voting against students from Kindergarten through college, Barrett’s official government website offers no explanation for why he voted the way he did.
Senator Barrett’s district surrounds the cities of Lansing and East Lansing which includes Lansing Community College and Michigan State University. Despite the fact that Michigan State University employs nearly 5,700 faculty and 7,400 staff members – many of whom live in Barrett’s district – Barrett still voted to defund the institution.
Both bills passed despite Barrett’s opposition with wide margins in both the Michigan House and Senate.