Wednesday at the Capitol
- The House Education Committee passed House Bill 4306, legislation to require schools to solicit bids to outsource certain support services and to post the bids on their public website. The panel rejected amendments to give preferences to district employees and residents and to require schools to post contracts with private contractors online. MEA opposes this bill -- please contact your state representative NOW and ask for a NO vote on House Bill 4306.
- Members of the House Education Committee listened to several presentations from charter school proponents. Some lawmakers want to consider legislation to greatly increase the number of public school academies in Michigan.
- The Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee took testimony on Senate Bill 7. 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 listened to public testimony on the proposed school aid budget. Gov. Rick Snyder wants the budget finalized by May.
Thursday at the Capitol
- The Senate could vote any day 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 call 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.
Lawmaker introduces bill to punish unions, teachers in event of strike
A key Republican lawmaker on Tuesday introduced legislation to punish unions and teachers who engage in an illegal strike.
Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, wants to increase the penalties to fine unions $5,000 per day and strip a striking teacher's license. He also wants to consolidate hearings against employees -- individual hearings against employees are currently required. The bill has been assigned to the House Education Committee, which Scott chairs.
MEA will vigorously oppose these bills that seek to further silence the voices of school employees -- especially given lawmakers' unprecedented attacks on public education and Michigan's Middle Class.
The proposal comes on the heels of a decision by the MEA Board of Directors to ask MEA members statewide for authority to initiate crisis activities up to and including job action. Letters were sent to MEA members this week detailing the legislative crisis and explaining the board's response -- please talk with your local association president if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.
Early care and education provide a big boost to local business sales and play an important role in Michigan's economic recovery, according to a report from a national business group.
March 23, 2011