As report by ART PRZYBYLOWICZ, MEA General Counsel (9:05 PM, Tuesday, 9/11/12)-
After a hearing that concluded at approximately 6 p.m., Michigan Court of Claims Judge Rosemarie Aquilina issued two temporary restraining orders affecting the election period under Senate Bill 1040, which was signed into law by Governor Snyder this afternoon. AFT/Michigan filed a lawsuit challenging the length of the election period and the constitutionality of the changes to pension benefits made by SB 1040. Judge Aquilina agreed that the election period beginning today and ending on October 26 was unreasonably short. MEA filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the changes to both the pension benefits and retiree health benefits of its members. Judge Aquilina issued a temporary restraining order in the MEA case declaring that any elections that are made may be rescinded or changed, if the court ultimately finds either the pension portion or retiree health portion or both of SB 1040 unconstitutional.
In addition, Judge Aquilina scheduled a process for rendering a decision on the constitutionality of the changes in the retirement law. She has consolidated the AFT and MEA lawsuits and they will be considered and decided together. The parties will be given opportunities to file briefs with the court on the constitutionality of SB 1040 and oral argument has been scheduled before Judge Aquilina for November 28 at 1:30 p.m.
The net effect of the two orders is that the election period is allowed to begin, but a specific ending date will be determined by the court. In the meantime, for those choosing to make elections, they will have the right to reconsider those elections should they involve unconstitutional provisions of SB 1040.
Now that Judge Aquilina has consolidated the cases for further proceedings, all issues raised by either lawsuit will be decided by Judge Aquilina.
Further information on the election process and the impact of these court orders will be provided as the legal process continues.