Monday, September 28, 2009

News of the Day

Senate Passes Continuation Budgets

A divided Senate passed two continuation budget bills that would provide funding for October--but at all the cut levels agreed to by Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) and House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Twp.) SB 0252 provided money for K-12 funding from the School Aid Fund. SB 0831 was for all other departments.

Democrats took issue, saying that the continuation budgets were based on the target agreement and not a "true" continuation budget based on numbers from the current fiscal year. SB 0252 cuts schools by $20 per pupil and cuts Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) by 4 percent. SB 0831 funds departments for a month at half of the levels set in the target agreement.

The State House of Representatives Continues to Work

At this time, they continue to negotiate the budget in conference committees. Speculation is that the House will return on Sunday when the Senate returns.

Just the Facts
Speaker Dillon’s proposed mandatory government-run health plan

HB 5345 could export Michigan jobs and taxpayer dollars to other states and overseas if a large national insurance player with deep pockets wins the bid to underwrite the state-run fund. Currently 90 percent or of the public employee health insurance market is served by Michigan companies.

State health scheme vs. federal health reform
Would those currently without coverage receive coverage?
State Plan - No
Federal Health Reform Plan - Yes

School Reform

Senate Bills 636, 637, 638 – Neighborhood Charter Schools

These bills are being touted as reforms that are necessary for Michigan to qualify for Race to the Top funds established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Since these bills are pending before the full Senate, they could end up as part of budget negotiations.
The reform measures in these bills are as follows:
- Removes the cap on charter schools without requiring them to be accountable.
- Eliminates collective bargaining agreements.
- Eliminates teacher tenure
- Establishes alternative routes to certification.

MEA opposes these bills.