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Michigan New Jobs Training Program: We were very pleased that the House Commerce Committee unanimously voted Senate Bill 1074 (Jansen) out to the full House of Representatives on Wednesday, December 10. Many thanks to Kellogg Community College President Dennis Bona for agreeing to testify, and thanks to all those of you who have contacted your legislators in support of SB 1074. MCCA staff continue to work with Governor Snyder's representatives to determine whether there is a level to which we can increase the cap on the value of contracts without any threat of vetoing SB 1074. 

 

Capital Outlay: Shortly before breaking on Thursday, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill 761 (Booher), which contains planning authorizations for 29 university and community college capital outlay projects. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for further consideration. It remains unclear whether the House will take up SB 761, but this was a critical step toward the bill becoming law. 

 

Energy Performance Contracting: As expected, on Wednesday, December 10, the Senate Energy and Technology Committee unanimously reported out House Bill 5806 (Pscholka). HB 5806 would expand on the ability of community colleges to use performance contracts to finance energy saving renovations. HB 5806 stands an excellent chance of being signed into law this year. 

 

Fire Drills: On Thursday, the Senate also moved a top priority for the universities, Senate Bill 1142 (Jansen). This bill would clarify that required fire safety drills only apply to dormitories, not to other class buildings on campus. In addition, the bill reduces the required number of drills from 8 to 3. The bill was just reported from the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday. It now goes to the House for consideration. 

 

Road Funding: The top agenda item for both Governor Snyder and most legislative leaders continues to be an agreement on transportation funding. This week, policymakers continued to negotiate and agreed to send the bills to a joint House-Senate conference committee. Typically used for appropriations bills, the conference committee has the advantage that if the six conference committee members can reach an agreement, individual members are not allowed to offer amendments, only to vote yes or no. 

 

Wage Prohibition: Although the House Committee on Michigan Competitiveness took more testimony this week and reported out House Bill 5977 (Poleski), lack of action by the full House killed the bill for this session. As introduced, HB 5977 would create the Local Government Employer Mandate Prohibition Act, preventing political subdivisions of the state (including colleges and universities) from setting wage or benefit requirements as part of any contracts. 

 

MPSERS Reform: As expected, the Senate did not take any further action this week on Senate Bills 722 - 728, which together would make sweeping reforms to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS). Although the bills cannot become law this session, it will no doubt continue to be an area of interest for lawmakers next session. 

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