Current bills

Talking points on key legislation

 The following key points are helpful when communicating with colleagues, policymakers, and others. Use these “talking points” to jump start an association meeting, a letter to the editor, or a conversation with community members or a legislator.

Remember, you’ll want to edit these to accommodate your audience and/or circumstances. Legislators, in particular, prefer to hear directly from constituents about important matters. They appreciate it when you communicate in your own words – so, whenever possible, try to explain how legislation will impact your students, your family, or your community.

House Bills

4059: A bill to prohibit public employer contracts that pay union officials for conducting union business

  • This is a local control issue. If a school district determines that it is helpful to the district to pay union officials for time conducting union business, then it can be negotiated jointly.
  • Often, union business IS school business. For example, it can help the district and the association when problems are resolved during the work day.
  • This bill will not create jobs. Lawmakers should focus on ideas and proposals that will help create more jobs, something that Michigan desperately needs.

4241: A bill to eliminate teacher tenure

  • Tenure guarantees due process to ensure a teacher isn’t dismissed for personal or political reasons.
  • Tenured teachers are dismissed for incompetency and misconduct.
  • Tenure protects good teachers from the politics of the job, such as nepotism and other unfair hiring and firing practices.
  • Michigan’s tenure law was passed in 1937. The law initially was an opt-in and a local school board had to vote to be covered by the law.
  • In the 1960s, the law was modified to allow tenure without exception for all teachers after a probationary period.
  • School administrators must perform timely evaluations of teachers and document teacher performance. With this vital information, schools can discharge teachers who underperform or engage in professional misconduct. Unfortunately, administrators do not always perform these evaluations.
  • Critics rightly complain about the time and money it takes to dismiss a tenured teacher. MEA supports changes to tenure to streamline the process.

4306: A bill to force school districts to solicit bids to outsource certain support services

  • The state should not force districts to solicit bids to outsource certain support services. The cost of preparing a bid is prohibitive.
  • Local school districts should decide independently whether to directly employ custodians, food service workers, and other workers to provide support services.
  • Purported savings associated with privatization do not usually materialize and services provided by private companies are typically less than those provided by district employees.

4465: A bill that requires the suspension of a teacher’s teaching certificate if he/she participates in a strike

  • Suspending the teaching certificate of teachers who participate in a strike is an unnecessary infringement on their ability to work and earn a living.
  • This bill aims to silence the voices of school employees, including many who are concerned about unprecedented attacks on public education and Michigan’s middle class.
  • Public school employees are devoted to their students. Out of this dedication, we will not sit idly by as lawmakers and the governor make decisions that the public does not support that will hurt children – and our state’s collective future.

Senate Bills

7: A bill that requires public employees to pay 20 percent of their health insurance

  • How much public employees pay for health insurance should be decided locally through collective bargaining.
  • Trying to balance the budget on the backs of hardworking public employees hurts the middle class.
  • Requiring public employees pay 20 percent of the cost of health insurance won’t fix the state’s budget crisis. Keep in mind that many public workers already pay a share of the cost and many have sacrificed wages to have access to health insurance.