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Senate Chairmanships Announced: Following the leadership elections, Senate Majority Leader-elect Arlan Meekhof has announced that Senator Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell) will Chair the Senate Appropriations Committee next session. Senator Meekhof also announced the members of the Policy Development Committee: Senator Dave Robertson (R-Grand Blanc) (Chair), Goeff Hansen (R-Hart), Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), and Margaret O'Brien (R-Portage). Senator Jim Marleau (R-Lake Orion) will Chair the Committee on Committees; other members include Darwin Booher (R-Evart), Jim Stamas (R-Midland) and Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake). 


Investment Options: Last week, the full Senate unanimously supported Senate Bill 1088 (Booher), which would expand the range of investment options available to community colleges to include investment grade bonds of the state or any of its political subdivisions. The bill, which the MCCA supports, now goes to the House Appropriations Committee. 


Energy Savings Advance: Last Thursday, the full House of Representatives voted 106 - 1 in favor 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 it also eliminates the requirement that energy savings alone must cover the entire cost of the contract. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. 


New Standardized Test to Replace MEAP: The state Department of Education unveiled an online exam last week that will replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) starting next spring. The new Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) was developed to meet mandates set last summer by state lawmakers, who nixed plans to use a computer-adaptive test, Smarter Balanced. 


Reminder...Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program: Proposals for the $50 million Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program  (CCSTEP) are due to the MEDC by January 31, 2015. See the guidelines and the RFP. Awards will likely be made in February 2015. 

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