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Get to Lansing Thursday -- let's pack the Capitol!

We need as many MEA members and supporters as possible at the Capitol in Lansing Thursday to hold legislators accountable for their actions on several bills that will directly affect all public education employees, including you.

You are invited to MEA briefings Thursday for updates on pending legislation. The briefings are at 8:30 a.m. at MEA headquarters in East Lansing and at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Room 428 of the Capitol.

Lawmakers plan to vote on bills dealing with public employee health insurance (House Bill 4572 and Senate Bill 7 and bills to curb collective bargaining for all public school employees and dismantle teacher tenure (House Bills 4625-4628).

UPDATE: Tenure votes may come TODAY! Call senators NOW!

Reports are coming in that the state Senate may vote THIS AFTERNOON on the House package that dismantles teacher tenure and attacks the collective bargaining and due process rights of all school employees.                                                

PLEASE ACT NOW!  Call your state Senator and urge them to vote against House Bills 4625-4628.  Ask them not to strip good teachers of their rights in order to get the very few bad apples out of the classroom. Tell them we need common-sense tenure reform – which MEA supports through Senate Bill 503.

Contact your Senator right away – before it is too late.

Read more about these bills and what else is happening in Lansing today.

The storm before the calm: Another busy week in Lansing -- and then, summer break

This week is expected to be another busy one in Lansing, as lawmakers push to pass several bills before a long summer recess. The agenda includes legislation dealing with collective bargaining, teacher tenure, and public employee health care.

Lawmakers could take final action on a four-bill package to gut collective bargaining and tenure laws. House Bills 4625-4628 already passed the House and are pending in the Senate.

MEA supports efforts to overhaul teacher tenure as outlined in Senate Bill 503, sponsored by Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw. The bill is an alternative to the House bills, which go beyond teacher tenure to take away collective bargaining of many new subjects, including evaluation and merit pay.

HB 4572 with hard cap passes House

With a vote of 58-51, the House approved HB 4572 which would place a hard cap on the amount an employer could spend on employees’ health care coverage.

Starting in 2012, an employer could spend no more than $15,000 on family coverage; $11,000 for two-person coverage; and $5,500 for an individual. The state treasurer would increase those caps each year based on the change to the medical care component of the Consumer Price Index.

If a school district paid more than the amount legislated, they would face a 10 percent reduction in their state aid funding.

MEA supports Senate alternative to House tenure reform

On Wednesday, Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw) introduced SB 503, an alternative tenure reform proposal to HB 4625-4628, the four-bill package passed by the House. MEA supports this new Senate proposal.

Unlike the House package, MEA supports SB 503 because it is true tenure reform as outlined in our A+ Agenda. The bill addresses the real problem with tenure--the length and cost of the current process to dismiss ineffective tenured teachers. By contrast, the House package does nothing to address these issues, instead focusing on taking away collective bargaining rights from Michigan educators.

SB 503 now goes to the Senate Education Committee for consideration. Today, that committee reported out the House package, making it even more urgent for MEA members to contact senators and urge immediate support for SB 503 instead of HB 4625-4628.

House panel approves hard cap for public employee health care

Capitol building

The state House Oversight, Reform, and Ethics Committee today passed legislation that would limit how much public employers can pay for employee health care.

Under House Bill 4572, public employers could pay up to $5,000 for single coverage, $10,000 for two-person coverage, and $15,000 for family coverage.

MEA opposes the bill because local units of government, including schools and universities, should decide through collective bargaining how to manage health care costs. The bill offers a one-size-fits-all approach to employee health care, without regard for regional differences in costs or availability of physicians or health care facilities.

Capitol update: What you need to know this week

Michigan senate

Lawmakers continue work this week on anti-collective bargaining legislation that would also dismantle teacher tenure.

House Bills 4625-4628 are on the agenda of the Senate Education Committee, which meets Wednesday. The bills previously passed in the House of Representatives. MEA members and staff have been working non-stop with legislators on a possible compromise that addresses what some say is the real problem -- the length of time it currently takes to dismiss tenured teachers.

Contact your state senator immediately to talk about this four-bill package. Your senators especially need to hear from rank-and-file school employees -- their constituents -- about how these bills will affect students and the community.

MEA testifies on tenure bills

Michigan senate

Art Przybylowicz, MEA General Counsel, and Mary Aldecoa, Fowlerville teacher and EA president, testified before the Senate Education Committee on the four-bill tenure proposal passed by the House last week.

He pointed out that we can have tenure reform that is fair, less time consuming and expensive and still provide due process for the dismissal of ineffective teachers.

Przybylowicz spoke in opposition to House Bills 4625-4628 which amend tenure and dismantle collective bargaining calling them “poorly conceived, apparently hastily drafted, and based upon a faulty premise—the infallibility of building principals.”


How did your Representative vote on tenure legislation?

Find out how your state Representative voted on House Bills 4625, 4626, 4627 and 4628.

MEA fighting anti-collective bargaining bills in Senate

Michigan Senate
Michigan Senate

The Michigan Senate is the next stop for a four-bill package designed to unravel collective bargaining and tenure laws, legislation that would impact all public school employees.

Last week, the GOP-led state House passed House Bills 4625, 4626, 4627, and 4628 with bipartisan opposition after heavy lobbying from MEA members and staff. MEA will have an increased presence at the Capitol beginning Tuesday, with members and staff stepping up efforts to work with moderate senators willing to consider alternative ideas, including MEA-backed reforms to streamline the process of disciplining or discharging ineffective teachers with tenure.

Michigan House OKs anti-tenure legislation

The Michigan House today passed legislation that dismantles teacher tenure and prohibits collective bargaining of many subjects currently decided at the local bargaining table.

Despite strong opposition from MEA members statewide, the four-bill package was approved with bipartisan support; the main bill passed 70-37. The bills -- House Bills 4625, 4626, 4627, and 4628 -- now go to the Senate for consideration.

Find out how your representative voted on these bills.

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