Tuesday at the Capitol
- The House Appropriations School Aid Subcommittee took testimony on the proposed school aid budget and a proposal to give half of a per pupil foundation grant to schools with half-day kindergarten. On the kindergarten proposal, several superintendents said they would provide full-day kindergarten because the cost of doing so would be less than what they'd lose if they maintained a half-day program. But, they said, adding the kindergarten expense on top of proposed budget cuts would prove very difficult. "Now is not the time to force this kind of choice on school districts that are fighting for our very survival," said Portland Superintendent Charles Dumas. No vote was taken. Gov. Rick Snyder wants the school aid budget completed in two months. Read more.
- The House Oversight, Reform and Ethics Committee took testimony on House Bill 4052, a bill that would prohibit the use of taxpayer-funded equipment, supplies, and facilities for union or political activities. MEA submitted a card of opposition to the bill because it would prohibit local associations from using buildings, facilities, services, or e-mail for political activities. It would also prohibit union members from engaging in political fundraising or campaigning for union office on school grounds and ban collective bargaining organizing activities and membership drives of the association at school.
Wednesday at the Capitol
- Possibly as early as Wednesday, the Senate could vote on House Bill 4152, a bill to freeze wages and benefits when a collective bargaining agreement expires until a new contract takes effect. This would effectively eliminate step raises between contracts and require employees to pay any increased costs of maintaining health insurance and other benefits. The legislation would also prohibit any retroactive increase in wages or benefits after a new contract is signed. MEA opposes this bill -- please contact your state senator NOW and urge him/her to vote NO on House Bill 4152.
- The state House could vote on House Bill 4059, which would prohibit public employers from paying union officials for time conducting union business. MEA opposes this bill -- please contact your state representative and ask him/her to vote NO on House Bill 4059.
- The Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee meets at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday to consider Senate Bill 7. The meeting is in Rooms 402-403 of the Capitol. Senate Bill 7 would require all public employees to pay at least 20 percent of the cost of their health insurance. MEA opposes this bill; the issue should be decided locally. In many instances, public employees have previously sacrificed wages or other benefits to maintain health insurance.
- The Senate Appropriations K-12 School Aid and Education Subcommittee meets at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Senate Appropriations Room at the Capitol to receive public testimony on the proposed school aid budget. Snyder has proposed deep budget cuts for schools.
- The House Education Committee meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Room 519 of the House Office Building to consider House Bill 4306. This legislation would require schools to solicit bids to outsource certain support services and to post the bids on their public website. MEA opposes the bill.
Snyder tax break for business is 60 percent, according to news report
Gov. Rick Snyder's tax reform proposal would cut business tax contributions to state revenue and shift the burden largely to increases in individual income taxes, according to a published report.
March 23, 2011