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Michigan New Jobs Training Program: Last week, the Senate Education Committee took more testimony and also unanimously reported out Senate Bill 1074 (Jansen), which encompasses our proposed changes to the Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNJTP). We expect the bill to pass the full Senate this coming week. Many thanks to those colleges who have already contacted your Senators to express support for the program; other colleges who have benefitted from the MNJTP are STRONGLY encouraged to contact your Senator (whether on the Education Committee or not) as soon as possible to urge support for Senate Bill 1074. A detailed document with our recommended changes is available on the MCCA website


Baccalaureate Authorization: Last Wednesday, the Michigan Competitiveness Committee held the first of two hearings on House Bill 4148 (Shirkey). House Bill 4148 would expand community college baccalaureate authority to several additional fields, including nursing, allied health, information technology, ski area management, and manufacturing technology. The Committee will meet again on Wednesday, October 1 to take further testimony. Many thanks to those of you who have already contacted your legislators to express your support for HB 4148. If you have not done so, we STRONGLY encourage you to contact your Representatives, particularly for all freshmen and the following committee members: Younker, Haines, Cotter, Foster, Franz, Goike, Lauwers, Leonard, Pagel, Clemente, Townsend, Schor, Santana, and Segal. Support documents are available on the MCCA website


Energy Savings Sees Hearing: Last Tuesday, MCCA staff testified before the House Energy and Technology Committee in support of House Bill 5806 (Pscholka), which would expand the ability of community colleges to contract for renovations based on energy savings. The bill extends the length of time for projects from 10 years to either 15 years or the useful life of the equipment, and also eliminates the requirement that energy savings alone must cover the entire cost of the contract. The Committee did not vote on HB 5806, but we expect that to happen next week. 


Veterans Status on Applications: Last Wednesday, the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee voted out two bills affecting community colleges. House Bill 5035 (Goike) would amend the Community College Act to require colleges to ask about military service on college applications. This question is already required under the State School Aid Act. In addition, the Committee reported out House Bill 5036 (Rendon), which would require community colleges to inform known veterans, military reserve, or military of what options they have related to military transcripts and academic credit. This bill would not mandate that credit be given to the student; just that they would be informed of any options they have at that college. MCCA representatives have previously testified in opposition to both bills. 


Unfunded Mandates Discussed: Also on Wednesday, the Senate Local Government Committee took testimony and reported out on a package of bills that attempt to address the problem of unfunded duties the state mandates on local governments. Although the Michigan Constitution expressly forbids unfunded mandates under the Headlee Amendment, they have continued to be a problem in the intervening years. Senate Bills 495 - 498 attempt to address this concern. MCCA supports these bills. 


Tax Increment Finance Reform: The House Commerce Committee began consideration on Wednesday of House Bill 5856 (Kowall) which is aimed at updating Michigan's tax increment finance laws. HB 5856 is dramatically pared back from the draft bill Representative Kowall shared earlier this month. Although the bill no longer eliminates the ability of local governments to opt out of tax capture districts, as the draft would have done, it does little to promote meaningful reform of tax increment financing. 


Capital Outlay: Last week, Senator Booher held the second of three capital outlay hearings to take testimony on college and university FY 2014-15 capital outlay requests. The committee is limiting testimony to less than 10 minutes per project. The committee has given no indication whether the outcome of these hearings will produce a capital outlay appropriation bill, or whether the hearings are informational only. The final hearing will take place on October 1.

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