Thursday, October 29, 2009

News of the Day

Senate panel moves 20j override request

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee moved SR 88 to the Senate Floor for concurrence. SR 88 is a resolution sponsored by Senator John Pappageorge (R-Troy) that asks the Michigan House of Representatives to begin the process of overriding Governor Jennifer Granholm’s veto of Sec. 20j funds in the 2009-10 K-12 School Aid budget.

Testimony was provided by a number of superintendents representing 20j schools. They included the school districts of Livonia, Troy, Farmington, Birmingham and Royal Oak. Each pointed out the cuts they have made in their budgets and the additional cuts they must make if the legislature fails to restore funding. All testified that they are donor districts. (Their districts pay more in taxes than what they receive back from the state in school aid.)

Mike Shibler, Superintendent of the Rockford Public Schools, testified that the 20j funds cost the non 20j schools $35/student. He supports restoring the 20j funds but not at a cost to non 20j districts.

The message of all who testified was not only about restoring 20j funds. They emphasized the need to make funding of schools a priority and requested that the legislature establish a more stable and adequate tax base for funding schools.

The resolution passed on vote of 10-5. Republicans voting in favor were: Ron Jelinek, John Pappageorge, Cameron Brown, Allen Cropsey, Tom George, Roger Khan and Tony Stamas. Republicans voting no included: Bill Hardiman, Mark Jansen and Michelle McManus.

Democrats voting in favor included: Michael Switalski, Glenn Anderson and Liz Brater. No votes were cast by Deb Cherry and Irma Clark-Colman.

Valde Garcia and Jim Barcia were not in attendance.


MEA supports House Bills 4245, 4284, 4997
House committee passes campaign finance bills

The House Ethics and Elections Committee approved three bills that would amend campaign finance law. Notably, the legislation would affect public employee payroll deductions for donations to union political action committees (PAC). Now, the measures go to the full House for consideration.

MEA supports the bills; please contact your state representatives to encourage them to vote yes on the following bills:

House Bill 4245 allows public employees to contribute to a union PAC by payroll deduction if the union fully compensates the public body for the use of any resources.

House Bill 4284 eliminates the requirement that labor organizations and others obtain annual consent for contributions from individuals who give on an automatic basis, such as through payroll deduction. Written consent would still be required, but not every year.

House Bill 4997 does the same thing as House Bills 4245 and 4284 but also affects communications to elect or defeat a candidate, including automated telephone calls. Automated calls and other electronic communications would have to clearly state the name and address or telephone number of the person paying for the communication. Further, telephone communications could not take place before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

Dillon Health Care Plan – Prescription for Disaster
Hearing on 5345 Continues

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, October 29, 2009, in Room 352 of the Capitol for 1:30 p.m. or after session, whichever is later.

Providing testimony will be the following:

Mike Duggan, CEO, Detroit Medical Center

Mike Shibler, Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools and
Lori Spotts, Tecumseh Education Association President, on behalf of MEA

Evan Falchuk, President and CEO, Best Doctors