Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yesterday in the Michigan State Senate & House - A Report for October 28th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon the State Senate Appropriations Committee moved SR 88 to the Senate floor for “concurrence”. SR 88 is a resolution to begin the process of overriding Governor Granholm’s veto of Sec. 20j funds in the 2009-10 K-12 School Aid budget.
Testimony was given by many different superintendents, including our own, I believe. Superintendents from Troy, Livonia, Birmingham, Farmington, and Royal Oak also gave testimony. The MEA publication, “Capital Chaos”, reported that the superintendents reported the cuts they have made in their budgets and the additional cuts they must make if the legislature fails to restore funding.

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 to the Appropriations Committee also included the very important request for a stable form of funding for the public schools.

The resolution passed by a vote of 10 – 5.

The House Ethics and Elections Committee today approved three bills that would amend campaign finance law. 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.

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.