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).

MEA opposes these measures. The health insurance bills are no more than a power grab from Lansing politicians bent on shifting insurance costs to public employees and their families, including many who will face financial peril as a result. The anti-collective bargaining bills would strip public employees of the right to collectively bargaining important issues that directly impact students, including provisions that will make it easy for districts to fire experienced teachers and to banish educators indefinitely from the profession.

As an alternative on teacher tenure reform, MEA supports Senate Bill 503, legislation that would reduce time and costs associated with dismissing ineffective tenured teachers.

Thank you for all the phone calls, e-mails and other cyber contacts with legislators made to date on these issues. At this point, your physical presence is urgently needed at the Capitol. Lawmakers need to see that their constituents are watching their actions -- and they need to talk face-to-face with the people directly affected by these bills.

Plan on a long day as the Legislature is likely to stay in session late and WEAR RED FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!

Stay tuned for additional editions of Capitol Comments as news develops.