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Legislative Updates

Mar 12, 2016

Posted from MEA Capitol Comments March 11, 2016

Many of our members have responded to questions by rolling up their sleeves and emailed, phoned, and lobbied legislators on a number of critical issues, MEA lobbyists have provided the following updates, along with this crucial message: Your voice matters.

SB 713, 714, 715 -- Sickout bills

These bills are still sitting on the Senate floor. Nothing has changed. This is good news. They were on the fast track to passage, and thanks to the phone calls, emails and coalition lobbying efforts, they are stalled. 

HB 5194 -- Prohibit bargaining of calendar and schedule

The House calendar bill is also stalled on the House floor. Again, the calls and emails from our members helped. We have also worked in coalition with several other organizations lobbying against the bill.  

HB 5383, 5384, 5385, 5386, and 5387 -- House Detroit Public Schools

House Republicans have introduced a package of bills to address the problems faced by Detroit Public Schools.  Unfortunately, two of the bills in the package include versions of the sickout and calendar bills listed above.  It also includes language about merit pay and mandatory year-round schools, allows non certified teachers to teach, and includes an A-F rating system that is rigged to make schools look like they are failing.  For that reason, we are working very hard to stop these bills.  Our work includes submitting written testimony, working with a broad coalition of school management organizations that oppose the bills, encouraging calls/emails from our members, conducting MEA lobbyist meetings with committee members, and much more.  At this point, there isn't enough support to pass the bills out of committee.

SB 710 and 711 -- Senate Detroit Public Schools

Great progress has been made on these bills.  They contain almost none of the anti-labor components that are in the House versions.  Sen. Geoff Hansen (R-Hart) has used a process that includes the stakeholders in the formation of the bills.  While not perfect, they are moving in the right direction.  They are still in Committee.

HB 4822 -- Third Grade Reading

This bill currently sits in the Senate Education Committee. There have been three new drafts in the past week or so.  Each draft includes improvement on the remaining concern that MEA and our members have -- student retention.  The latest version provides for extensive opportunities for parents, teachers and school administrators to exempt the student from retention.