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  • Jessica Lumbreras, UniServ Consultant speaks at Jan 9, 2019 Board Meeting

  • MEA President Paula Herbart & officers

  • Board of Directors Meeting January 9 2019

  • Gretchen Witmer Speaks to over 50 Michigan Union Leaders at MiARA Meeting at MEA

Michigan’s A-to-F school ratings on ice until attorney general weighs in

Jan 04, 2019

Bridge Magazine, January 3, 2018

"The fight over grading Michigan schools on an A-to-F scale apparently isn’t over yet.

The Michigan Department of Education says it will hold off on implementing the new accountability system because of concerns that parts of the system may violate federal law, according to Martin Ackley, director of policy and governmental affairs for MDE.

Ackley told Bridge on Thursday the department plans to ask newly elected Attorney General Dana Nessel for a legal review of the policy, passed by the GOP in the waning days of December’s lame duck session and signed into law by outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder last week.

The law requires MDE to create a system to grade schools from best (A) to worst (F) in five metrics: proficiency in math and English; growth in math and English; growth in proficiency among English as a second language students; graduation rates; and academic performance compared to similar schools."  Continue Reading

Lame Duck Bills Snyder Signed and Vetoed

Jan 04, 2019

Lansing State Jounral
" STATE BUDGET: Snyder signed a $1.3 billion supplemental budget plan that diverts new online sales tax revenue from schools to environmental cleanup, roads and other priorities.

ONLINE GAMBLING: Snyder vetoed bills that would have authorized online gambling, including wagers on sports.

ABORTION: Snyder vetoed legislation that would have permanently banned doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs with webcams or other forms of telemedicine. He helped to enact the temporary prohibition in 2012, but the veto means it will expire next week.

GRADING SCHOOLS: Snyder signed a law to require A-through-F letter grades for public schools, starting in September 2019.

FIREWORKS: Snyder signed laws letting municipalities restrict the use of fireworks on more days.

ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP: Snyder signed a law requiring the state Department of Environmental Quality to use federal toxicity values when setting cleanup criteria for hazardous substances.

WETLANDS: Snyder signed a scaled-down wetlands measure that continues to require permits for degrading many bogs, marshes and similar waterways but makes key concessions to developers.

TAXES: Snyder vetoed bills that would have cut taxes owed by various businesses.

DOG SALES: Snyder vetoed bills that would have regulated dog sales and restricted local bans on pet shops.

BREEDING: Snyder signed laws to allow for the breeding of large carnivores such as lions, tigers and bears.

RAPE EXAMS: Snyder signed laws requiring the Crime Victims Services Commission to spend more to reimburse health care providers for sexual assault medical forensic exams.

EVALUATION OF INCENTIVES: Snyder signed a law to make the state contract for periodic evaluation of its economic development incentives. The evaluations will occur every four or six years, depending on the value of the incentive.

DEC. 27

CYBERBULLYING: Snyder signed a law making cyberbullying a crime.

BUSINESS INCENTIVES: Snyder signed a law letting companies with out-of-state employees qualify for state economic development incentives as long as they account for no more than 25 percent of their workforce.

DENTAL THERAPISTS: Snyder signed a law creating a license for midlevel providers known as dental therapists to work in the state.

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSES: Snyder signed laws that restrict municipalities from imposing licensing requirements on certain occupations unless they already are doing so.

VETOES: Snyder vetoed bills that would have let parents surrender a newborn inside a safety device at a hospital, police department or fire station. Other bills he nixed would have changed billboard permitting, required the state to offer public school employees the option to buy annuities and let residential taxpayers be levied special assessments to pay for improvements in principal shopping districts and business improvement zones.

DEC. 21

— SCHOOL SAFETY: Snyder signed laws to create a state Office of School Safety and require that schools develop emergency operations plans and conduct safety assessments with local law enforcement. School districts and charter schools will have to consult with police before building a new school or doing a major renovation. The bills were developed in the wake of mass shootings in Florida and Texas.

— DRONES: Snyder signed laws to generally prohibit state agencies from using drones to surveil facilities that are subject to licensing or other government requirements. Exceptions include if the owners give express consent, if the departments have valid search warrants, if the state suspects there may be an imminent threat or the agencies are inspecting transportation infrastructure. Law enforcement investigations also are exempt. Snyder also signed laws making it a felony to operate drones in a way that interferes with key facilities such as refineries, power plants and cell towers.

— ANIMAL CRUELTY: Snyder signed a law toughening prison sentences for “aggravated” animal cruelty offenses and making breeders and pet shops subject to criminal penalties.

— OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING: Snyder signed laws to require the state licensing department to, upon request, tell people in advance if past criminal convictions disqualify them from being licensed to do work in the trades or other occupations. The move is designed to save would-be applicants from paying for education or training only to be denied a license down the line.

— VETOES: Snyder vetoed bills that would have created a state income tax deduction for first-time homebuyers, given the legislative auditor general unrestricted access to confidential information in other branches of state government and delayed implementation of roomier enclosures for egg-laying hens

DEC. 20

— DEER STERILIZATION: Snyder signed a law to prohibit the state from issuing a permit to sterilize deer or other game animals until April 2022. An ongoing research program in Ann Arbor will continue. The Natural Resources Commission can issue more kill tags in urban areas with high concentrations of deer, and municipalities can shorten the 150-yard rule for shooting deer.

— YOUTH HUNTING: Snyder signed a law to let 10-, 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds hunt deer, bear or elk on public lands — not just private property — as long as they are accompanied by a parent or other authorized adult.

— TASTING ROOMS: Snyder signed laws to let brewer and microbrewers establish on-site tasting rooms where guests can sample their beer. The rooms currently are only allowed for wineries and distilleries.

DEC. 17

— NASSAR BILLS: Snyder signed laws inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case, easing the prosecution of alleged abusers, stiffening child pornography penalties and letting more people speak at sentencings under certain circumstances.

— AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES: Snyder signed a law to exempt truck “platoon” operations from a requirement to leave sufficient space so other vehicles can pass.

DEC. 14

— MINIMUM WAGE: Snyder signed a law to slow down a boost in Michigan’s $9.25 an hour minimum wage, so it will gradually rise to $12.05 by 2030 instead of $12 by 2022 as required by a proposed ballot initiative that GOP lawmakers pre-emptively adopted in September to make it easier to amend after the election. The new law reverses a provision that would have brought a lower wage for tipped employees in line with the wage for other workers. It also repeals a provision — in a 2014 law — that ties future increases to inflation

— PAID SICK LEAVE: Snyder also signed a law to scale back a separate proposed ballot initiative to require paid sick leave for workers, after Republicans legislators passed it under the same adopt-and-amend strategy. The new law exempts employers with fewer than 50 employees from having to provide earned sick days, a change that is estimated to leave up to 1 million employees without the benefit. It also limits the amount of annual mandatory leave at larger employers to 40 hours, instead of 72 hours as proposed by the initiative.

DEC. 12

— OIL PIPELINE: Snyder signed a law establishing a panel to oversee construction of an oil pipeline tunnel in the waterway linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. Opponents insisted the battle is not over and could widen from the state Capitol to the courts. Line 5 has carried crude oil and natural gas liquids used in propane 645 miles (1,038 kilometers) from Superior, Wisconsin, through northern Michigan to the Canadian city of Sarnia, Ontario, since 1953. Snyder and Enbridge Inc. agreed to replace the twin-pipe segment with a new pipe housed in a tunnel drilled through bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

— WIRLESS TECHNOLOGY: Snyder signed laws to ease the wireless industry’s shift to next-generation technology with statewide regulations for the installation of a dense network of fifth-generation, or 5G, “small cells” on telephone poles, traffic signals and other infrastructure.

NOV. 15

— ONLINE REGISTRATION: Snyder signed laws to establish online voter registration.

— MOVE OVER LAW: Snyder signed a law to require drives to slow by 10 mph below the posted speed limit when passing an emergency, maintenance or utility vehicle that is on the side of the road.

Lansing State Journal




Release time leaders and staff News

Dec 02, 2018

MEA – Doug Pratt, Director of Public Affairs
Good news for a change – the House Education Committee DID NOT pass the House versions of the release time legislation (HBs 6474 and 5368) in their meeting this morning.  Testimony was compelling for our side and our lobbying is making a difference.

 HOWEVER, we are not out of the woods – there are many procedural methods to get these or the Senate bills (795-796) up for consideration on the House floor.  We need to continue the pressure.  We’re doing patch through calls today to members in target districts, plus text messages that went last night and today to members asking them to call targeted lawmakers. 

To answer the question that last sentence is sure to generate, we are not sharing the target list broadly.  Were that list to get out, it would put an arm-twisting target on the backs of those legislators.  We’ve reached out to UniServ directors in those key areas to ask them to take particular steps, including getting with release time leaders in those House districts.  

 Regardless of targets (because the anecdotal pressure is helpful with both friends and foes alike), we need all of you to continue contacting your state representatives and urging your administrations to do the same. 

MEA Action Network page (which has already generated more than 500 emails in one day) is at -- please share this with members (we’ve included it in Capitol Comments and on Facebook). 

Michigan Senate OKs ban on taxpayer-paid union release time (Detroit Free Press , Nov 27, 2018

Nov 28, 2018

Detroit Free Press Nov 27,2018

"LANSING — School districts and other public employers would have to stop providing taxpayer-funded leave time for employees to conduct union business under legislation that was narrowly approved Tuesday by the Republican-led Michigan Senate.

The bill, which passed 20-18 primarily along party lines, with seven Republicans opposed, was sent to the GOP-controlled House, where a committee planned to consider a similar measure later this week. The Senate vote was among the first in what will be a month-long "lame-duck" session — a last chance for lawmakers to approve legislation before Republican Gov. Rick Snyder makes way for the Democratic governor-elect, Gretchen Whitmer."  Cont. Reading

Social Security Beneficiaries to Receive 2.8% COLA Increase in 2019

Nov 26, 2018

The federal government has announced that Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 2.8% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2019. The increase, while modest, is the largest retirees have seen in seven years. The current average monthly benefit for Social Security is $1,400. "The increase will help all Social Security beneficiaries, seniors, surviving spouses and children, as well as people with disabilities," said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance for Retired Americans. However, the increase is not enough to keep up with the rising cost of health care and especially prescription drugs, which far exceeds the rate of inflation. 


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