Issues and legislation

Information on the current legislation and legislative news.

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House Education Committee votes on morality issue

In a heated discussion, the House Education Committee dealt another blow to universities' "local control" when it approved a bill and two resolutions that protect religious freedom for some.

Legislation affecting petition drives surfaces

Back in October 2011, a House bill was introduced that would affect the filing of petitions to initiate legislation or a constitutional amendment. That bill, HB 5063, could now have a dramatic impact on the Protect Our Jobs campaign to preserve collective bargaining rights and other ongoing petition drives.

Bill silences voice of graduate research assistants

The latest legislative news provides reasons for supporting the Protect Our Jobs campaign to amend the state constitution and protect our collective bargaining rights.

Election results show voter discontent

Beyond the close numbers, yesterday’s election results said volumes about member commitment and voter discontent. It may have been a Republican presidential primary, but it didn’t stop voters—angry with what’s going on in Lansing—from making their voices heard at the ballot box.

Will research or emotional appeals sway votes for SB 619?

SB 619allowing for the expansion of cyber schools—could see action this week on the House floor. While MEA leaders, members and staff have continued to send the message to their legislators that there is no reliable research or data to support such a move, SB 619 supporters are trying to use emotions to sway legislators.

The Michigan chapter of the National Coalition for Public School Options (NCPSO) has stepped into the fight by posting heartfelt letters on its website targeting legislators and urging them to vote “yes” on SB 619.

Written by parents, the form letters tell how cyber schools are helping their gifted students excel, their failing students catch up, and providing their students with health and developmental issues an alternative to traditional public schools.

NCPSO makes the claim that nearly 10,000 Michigan students are being denied the opportunity to attend a cyber school. Individual letters exploit student stories to make the case that cyber schools are the only way to get customized, personal access to a certified teacher; provide safety from bullying; and allow a student the flexibility to speed ahead or slow down their lessons.

Performance bonus criteria raises concerns

This week, the House Appropriations School Aid Subcommittee outlined how schools would qualify for Gov. Snyder’s funding bonuses and then got an earful from traditional and charter school representatives concerned that they might miss out on the extra money.

Senate bans graduate assistants from unionizing

The Senate acted quickly on Wednesday to make sure graduate student research assistants wouldn’t have a say in whether they could unionize or not. SB 971 was introduced last week, passed on a party-line vote by the Government Operations Committee on Tuesday and passed on the Senate floor on a 26-12 party line vote on Wednesday.

Governor wants to give more money to schools

When Gov. Snyder presents his budget proposal to the Legislature tomorrow, schools are expected to see a 2.8 to 3 percent increase in state funding—still not enough to make up for a $1 billion cut to schools last year so corporate special interests could enjoy a $1.8 billion tax cut.

Cyber school bill moves to House floor

This morning, the House Education Committee reported out SB 619-623 and 709-710 with amendments that differ from the original Senate-approved bills.

House committee passes more anti-union bills--Call your state representative!

On a party line vote, the House Oversight, Reform and Ethics Committee passed on Tuesday House Bills 5023-5026, a package of anti-union bills meant to curtail the powers of labor unions:

  • HB 5023--fines striking public employees one day's pay and their union $5,000 for each day of the strike, expanding the penalties beyond the current rules that only apply to public school employees.

  • HB 5024--sets fines and restrictions on members and their unions for mass picketing.

  • HB 5025--requires an employee's annual written authorization to have their union dues deducted from their paycheck by employers.

  • HB 5026--eliminates the prohibition against employers advertising for strike breakers.

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