Michigan iPod proposal possibly influenced by Apple

Michigan State representative Matt Gillard and House speaker Andy Dillon that support a plan to spend $36 million to buy an iPod for every student in the state may have flown to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino earlier this year thanks to Apple. The accusations raise questions as to whether the two lawmakers have other ambitions with the iPod plan. Unsurprisingly, the proposal was somewhat vague and sparse on details, but the suggestion to spend that much money on digital music players has been heavily criticized by other legislators and residents of the state, who argue that Michigan is in the middle of a $600 million budget crisis and cannot afford the iPods.

Gillard maintained his motivation for making the trip and backing the bill was not about Apple or iPods, but primarily about technology in the classroom. "I don't know that it has to be iPod-specific technology," he told the Detroit Free Press. He also pointed out that the devices could be used to download lectures and other classroom-related materials. Whether or not Apple financed all or part of the lawmakers' trip, we may never know, as Michigan's disclosure laws for lobbyists do not require them to report on travel expenses or the reimbursement thereof. However, the damage has been done: Gillard's and Dillon's motivations have been called into question.

News source: Ars Technica

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