With the end of legislative action for 2023, there were many victories to celebrate for students, educators, and the institution of public education that saw action in Lansing in recent weeks.
Teacher Evaluations – Fixed
Senate Bill 395, introduced by state Sen. Dayna Polehanki (an MEA member and former teacher), and Senate Bill 396, introduced by state Sen. Kristen McDonald-Rivet, were passed and now await the Governor’s signature. These bills do many things to fix the broken evaluation system for educators in Michigan – learn more about the details here.
Default Retirement Changed
House Bill 5021, introduced by Rep. Matt Koleszar, changes the 75-day default retirement option from the defined contribution plan to Pension Plus 2. If there is going to be a default, it should be to the plan that encourages retention in the education profession and provides more benefit to our members. This bill was passed by both chambers and now awaits the Governor’s signature.
Dental Oral Assessment Program Begins
Also passed was Senate Bill 280 amending the Public Health Code to require dental oral assessments for children who are registering for the first time in kindergarten or the first grade in a school in Michigan.
Contact Information for Unions and PAC Payroll Deduction
Two bills passed that are big wins for unions and our members. First, SB 169 will require public employers to provide employment and contact information for bargaining unit members to the union that represents them. And HBs 4230 and 4234 restore the ability for public employees to contribute to political action committees (like MEA-PAC) to help make their voices heard in the electoral progress.
Many Pro-Public Education Bills Take Effect on Feb. 13
Many pro-education bills did not receive immediate effect in the Legislature in 2023. These bills will take effect on the 91st day after the legislature adjourned, which was on Nov. 14. That means they will take effect Feb 13. This includes:
• The repeal of PA54 (Public Act 113) which allows educators to bargain automatic and ongoing step advancements, automatic increases in employer contributions to insurance, and the ability to bargain retroactive pay.
• The repeal of prohibited subjects of bargaining (Public Act 115) which allows us to bargain over teacher placement, layoff and recall, teacher evaluations, and discipline.
• The ability to bargain noninstructional support staff service contracts (Public Act 143).
• The ability to incorporate the use of seniority in transparent factors used to fill vacancies and conduct staffing reductions (Public Act 116).
• The ability to have union dues deducted from paychecks again (Public Act 114).
• The phase-out of the unfair retirement tax and expansion of the earned income tax credit (Public Act 4).
To help you keep track of all this legislation and more, MEA has launched our new Legislative Tracker at MEA.org/legtracker. All bills introduced in 2023 continue to be eligible for action when the Legislature returns to Lansing in January.