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Whitmer signs several bills as first term winds down

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed over 40 bills into law this month as she wraps up her first term in office.

One bill package overhauls how Michigan handles waste in hopes of raising the state’s recycling rate. It sets new goals and standards for waste management while promoting the re-use of materials.

Another new law bans health care discrimination based on disability status against those needing an organ transplant. Meanwhile, the governor signed a separate package joining Michigan in an inter-state compact that allows for out-of-state psychologists to practice here, with some restrictions. Supporters of that law say it will help address a mental health care provider shortage.

Another bill addresses the “Michigan Reconnect” grant, which offers qualifying residents aged 25 and up tuition money at a community college to earn an associate’s degree or professional certificate.

The program, designed to get more adult learners into higher education, is getting re-worked with many of the changes involve updating requirements from the original law that created the program.

But there are also some new differences students may notice. One opens the possibility for students to receive more reconnect grant dollars. That's by adjusting the definition for “gift aid” to exclude financial aid used for non-tuition costs.

Under the new law, community colleges can also receive some reimbursement for credit hours they award to students for previous classes or other experiences.