Issues and legislation

Information on the current legislation and legislative news.

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Retirement Issues and Legislation

Education Reform 

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House passes HB 4929

On a close 55-53 vote today, the House passed HB 4929 which prohibits the deduction of union dues by public school employers.  The bill was fast-tracked through the House after being introduced Tuesday. The bill now goes to the Senate where SB 636, a comparable bill introduced by Sen. Meekhof (R-West Olive) on Sept. 8 sits.

Rep. Haveman (R-Holland), sponsor of the bill, said the legislation isn’t an attack on teachers. “It allows them to have more money in their pockets and that’s a good thing.”

Will Richardville and Snyder clash over "right to teach?"

At a televised town hall meeting in Grand Rapids, Gov. Snyder repeated his message that Right to Work isn't on his agenda but this time in what in response to a question about Rep. Richardville's "right to teach" legislation.

Bill to prohibit payroll dues deduction on a fast track

HB 4929, which prohibits the deduction of union dues by public school employers, is on a fast track since it was moved from the House Oversight, Ethics and Reform Committee yesterday. It has been referred to second reading on the House Floor and may move to third reading today with final passage on Thursday.

 Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) introduced a similar bill--SB 636--on Sept. 8.

Introduced by Rep. John Haveman (R-Holland), HB 4929 was approved on a 4-2 party-line vote. In support of his own bill, Haveman testified that schools shouldn’t be in the business of collecting dues. The bill specifically says the dues deduction is a “prohibited contribution to the administration of a labor organization.” The Michigan Chamber of Commerce endorsed the bill but did not testify.

The anti-union attacks continue -- bills attacking dues deduction, retirement introduced

In addition to Senate Bills 618-624, which would increase the number of charter schools, privatize teachers and allow for back-door school vouchers, both chambers have introduced legislation that would prohibit school districts from automatically deducting union dues from members' paychecks.

Richardville singles out public school employees for Right to Work FOR LESS bill

In what is probably one of the most blatant examples of anti-union, anti- school employee legislation yet, Sen. Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) says he supports right-to-work legislation that only affects public school employees and will have legislation ready soon.

In support of what looks like political payback for MEA’s recall efforts, Richardville said on PBS’s Off the Record, “The teachers union—specifically the Michigan Education Association—have lost their way and public school employees should no longer be forced to join them.”

Richardville singled out teachers unions because he claimed they haven’t recognized the state’s tough economic times like other unions have.

MEA President Steve Cook responded in a press statement this morning, “Republican leaders have slashed school funding, increased taxes, stripped collective bargaining rights from school employees, forced them to pay more out-of-pocket for retirement and health insurance. They’ve completely undermined and demoralized the educators of this state.”

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.

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