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Published: Thursday, 12/12/2013

Mich. lawmakers vote to make Capitol historic site

If approved, oversight of building would change

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Gov. Austin Blair, the war governor (1861- 1864), is silhouetted against the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Gov. Austin Blair, the war governor (1861- 1864), is silhouetted against the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing, Mich.
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LANSING, Mich. — Michigan lawmakers have given final approval to bills overhauling the Capitol building’s oversight but continue working on how to ensure lasting maintenance money for the building.

Legislation OK’d Wednesday would make the 135-year-old building and its grounds a state historic site and form a new commission to decide on recommendations about repairs and maintenance.

Still pending is a related bill creating a permanent maintenance fund with tobacco tax revenue instead of leaving it to legislators to set aside annual funding for upkeep.

It’s been 21 years since a major restoration of the Capitol was finished, and keeping the building in good shape has been tougher than expected.

Backers say the intent of the bills is to make decisions like painting the dome and fixing the roof less “political.”



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