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Beware Calley’s “part-time legislature” petition

Dec 19, 2017

MEA Capitol Comments

Among the flood of holiday cards hitting your mailbox, you may have received an envelope from Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley about a proposal for a part-time legislature that he’s championing.

This is one holiday message you should be sure to ignore.

In an effort to jumpstart his campaign for governor, Lt. Gov. Calley has been pushing this measure for months that would restrict the legislature to meet for just 90 days prior to April 15 each year. Their latest attempt to collect the needed signatures was to mail out petitions to thousands of Michigan voters – including some MEA members.

At a glance, this measure might seem appealing to school employees who’ve been subject to years of political attacks, but this petition is a classic wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Among the reasons you should decline to sign this petition are:

  • Restricting the role and timing of the Legislature puts an immense amount of power in the hands of the governor, who’ll be around for the balance of the year when the Legislature is gone. Despite the losses of the last 7 years, imagine how much worse it could have been if Gov. Snyder had even more power to enact his agenda!
  • Only working for 90 days greatly restricts who can run for the Legislature, eliminating those without personal wealth or an employer willing to provide that flexibility.  For example, school employees would be unable to run unless their district were willing to fill behind them with a long-term substitute every year.  In states that currently have part-time legislatures, companies ensure legislators have jobs to go back to in exchange for supporting their legislative priorities.
  • Tying part-time legislator pay to half of the state’s average teacher pay is a devious ploy to attract your support. The fact is, dragging down legislator pay and benefits – which have already been reduced in recent years – won’t do anything to raise compensation for school employees. Furthermore, we shouldn’t be restricting the time and money we spend as a state on making important education policy decisions.  

These are just a few of the many reasons to NOT sign this part-time legislature petition.

Calley and his allies have sent out tens of thousands of petitions in this recent mailing, attempting to get to the number of signatures needed to qualify their measure for the ballot.  Don’t help them – Decline to Sign the Part-Time Legislature petition!