The state House on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to name a portion of M-10 in Detroit the Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway in honor of the Detroit musical legend.
House Bill 4060, sponsored by state Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit), passed 101-6. All of the “no” votes were from Republicans Reps.: Steven Johnson (R-Wayland), Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron), Phil Green (R-Millington), John Reilly (R-Oakland Twp.), Luke Meerman (Polktown Twp.) and Matt Maddock (R-White Lake).
“Mr. Speaker and members of the House: I believe naming of highways should be reserved for those who have died in service to our state or community and not to celebrities,” said Johnson in explaining his “no” vote on the floor.
The stretch of memorial highway would begin at Livernois, near New Bethel Baptist Church where Franklin’s father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, was the pastor, and end at I-94.
The bill memorializing the “Queen of Soul” last month moved unanimously from the Michigan House Transportation Committee, as the Advance reported. Several members of the Franklin family testified in support.
In making the case for the legislation last month, Love said Aretha Franklin was “more than a musical icon” and noted her civil rights legacy, including working with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign. She received a host of accolades, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, before passing away on Aug. 18, 2018, at age 76.
Last month, House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Jack O’Malley (R-Lake Ann) said he was “proud that one of my first acts” was to honor Franklin.
The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.