Issues and legislation

Information on the current legislation and legislative news.

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Education Reform


 

More of the same -- Senate introduces anti-public education bills

With the Legislature back in session, they are wasting no time pushing their so-called “education reform” agenda.

Today, Senate Republicans introduced a package of seven bills focusing on the expansion of charter schools, school choice, dual enrollment, and cyber schools; privatization of instructional staff; and siphoning of school aid funds to nonpublic school students.

State employees’ retiree health care deduction unconstitutional

The 3 percent deduction—or pay cut—state  employees pay for their retiree health care is unconstitutional according to the state Court of Appeals. Affirming a lower court decision, the court ruled that the deduction bypassed the state Civil Service Commission which has jurisdiction over state employees.

New reform legislation pushes schools of choice, outsourcing teachers

The Legislature is back in session Wed., Sept. 7 and expect them to quickly take up more of Gov. Snyder’s “education reform” plan.  Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair), chair of the Senate Education Committee, is pushing a package of bills that would require all public schools districts to participate in the schools of choice program and would allow Michigan public schools to hire teachers from private firms.

Pavlov said, “We have to expand choice to empower parents to make sure they get the very best education for their kids.”

1 percent health claims tax approved by Legislature

On the same day legislators approved SB 7, which capped public employers' health insurance contributions and shifted thousands of dollars in benefit costs to public employees, it also rammed through two bills increasing the cost of health insurance for all Michigan citizens, including those same public employees.

Senate Bill 7 passes Legislature; on its way to Governor

SB 7 has passed both the House and the Senate today and is on its way to the Governor for his signature. Earlier, both chambers accepted the legislative conference committee report for SB 7.

The bill, requiring local governments and school districts to spend no more than a certain amount on their employees’ health insurance, is a combination of both a hard cap and an 80/20 plan.

Under a hard cap, SB 7 would require public employers to pay no more than $5,500 (single--NOT $5,000 as previously reported), $11,000 (individual and spouse) and $15,000 (family coverage).  A public employer could elect the 80/20 split with employees for health care costs. While local units of government could get out of either cost-sharing plan, school districts must choose either the hard cap or the 80-/20 plan.

Income, education level should be part of "education reform" debate

More schools failing to meet AYP, a huge jump in child poverty, and an increase in the jobless rate—what’s the impact on education and “education reform” in Michigan with a new legislative session and a new school year getting ready to start?

Legislators set to return--what's on their agenda?

Vacationing legislators will be back at work soon. Up until their summer break, they were busy focusing on attacking school employees and the middle class. And the picture doesn’t look much brighter when they return.

Expected on their agenda is:

  • SB 7 which requires public employees to pay a portion of their health insurance. The legislation was moved to a joint House/Senate conference committee where debate over an 80/20 contribution versus a hard cap has been taking place. The bill is on a fast track with a goal of getting it through the Legislature Aug. 24.
  • Right-to-Work would allow workers who don’t want to pay union dues the right to freeload—they would get the same benefits as union members without paying any union dues. Back in February, Republicans introduced HB 4054, SB 116 and SB 120 establishing “Right to Work” zones. A new group, Michigan Freedom to Work, has emerged in support of a statewide law. Gov. Snyder claims the issue is not on his agenda but he would sign it. With anti-union sentiment running so strong, he may get that chance.

Snyder signs redistricting bills

About an hour before they would have taken effect without his signature, Gov. Snyder signed redistricting bills this week. The bills are now Public Acts 128 and 129.

Snyder signs anti-collective bargaining, anti-tenure bills into law

Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a four-bill package that limits collective bargaining and changes how teachers are evaluated and dismissed in Michigan. Read the full press release sent from the State of Michigan Executive Office on July 19, 2011.

Under the new laws, formerly known as House Bills 4625-4628, teachers will have to wait five years instead of four to earn tenure. Educators will no longer be allowed to collectively bargain teacher placement and teachers at all levels can now be fired for almost any reason. Read more.

Related: Next step is recall of out-of-touch legislators

Teacher tenure reform signed into law

Press release from the State of Michigan Executive Office - July 19, 2011

Performance to replace use of seniority in staffing decisions

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