Michigan panel approves Detroit bankruptcy bills

Michigan lawmakers have taken an initial step toward helping bankrupt Detroit by committing $195 million in state money to protect city retirees from steep pension cuts.

A legislative committee on Wednesday approved 11 bankruptcy bills, almost entirely with bipartisan 5-0 votes.

One revision makes room for a city council designee on a nine-member board that would review Detroit's budgeting.

Another change gives the oversight committee dominated by state appointees flexibility to not approve all city contracts above $750,000. Another change forces the oversight board to go dormant if Detroit continually makes sound financial decisions.

The committee's chairman, Republican Rep. John Walsh of Livonia, says he feels good about the committee's work, but "we're going to have our hands full" gaining support in the Republican-led House.