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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 sentfrom 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.
“Businesses in Michigan…How Do They Want to See Us Educate Our Children” was the agenda description for Wednesday’s meeting of the House Education Reform Workgroup. The committee heard presentations by a number of business owners, human resource personnel and the Grand Rapids Regional Chamber of Commerce.