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Michigan New Jobs Training Program Moves: Last Thursday, the full House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in support of Senate Bill 69 (Booher), which fixes the minimum wage problem in the Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNJTP) and also extends the program five years to December 2023. In addition, the House stripped out language added in the Senate that would have limited the MNJTP to employers who do not also claim a MEGA credit, which would have significantly curtailed the number of employers community colleges could partner with for such training. SB 69 now goes back to the Senate for concurrence with the House changes, which is expected to happen on June 30. Two companion bills, Senate Bills 70 and 71, which would increase the current cap of $50 million in signed contracts are still expected to move later this summer. 

 

Senate Committee Approves Baccalaureate: Last Wednesday, after briefly taking further testimony, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to report on Senate Bill 98 (Shirkey), which would extend community college baccalaureate authority to nursing and several other workforce areas. Senators Wayne Schmidt, Mike Kowall, and Mike Nofs all voted in support of the bill. Please do keep the pressure up on your Senators as the bill now moves to the floor. In addition, the MCCA is working to develop a stronger public relations campaign to complement our grassroots efforts. If your Senator is someone that we are particularly targeting for a vote, MCCA staff will be in touch to let you know that. 

 

Budget Signed Into Law: Also Wednesday, Governor Snyder signed the omnibus spending bills for both the General Fund and the School Aid Fund. Although there was one small line-item veto in the general fund budget, there were no changes to the community college budget from the version of House Bill 4115 approved by the Legislature. The budget is now Public Act 85 of 2015. 

 

Local Government Prohibition: The Legislature completed action this week on House Bill 4052 (Poleski), which would prohibit a wide variety of local policies and ordinances related to wages and benefits for public employers, including community colleges. Although the bill would exempt policies affecting an employer's own workers, it would NOT allow a public employer to set terms for companies under contract. HB 4052 now goes to Governor Snyder for his signature. 

 

February Elections Going Away: Last week, the full Senate approved House Bills 4270 - 4276, which collectively would eliminate the regular February date for statewide elections. The February date is not used often, but some legislators have concerns about its value given the consistently low voter turnout at February elections. Conversely, opponents of the bills expressed concerns that eliminating the possibility of a February election could pose timing problems in the event that a proposal fails. The bills now go to Governor Snyder. 

 

PPT Changes Advance: In addition, the Senate this week approved House Bills 4553 - 4558. Together, the bills would make a number of technical changes to implement the personal property tax reforms that were passed in 2014. The bills now go to Governor Snyder. 

 

Education Committee Moves Union Bills: On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee reported out two bills with possible implications for community colleges. Senate Bill 279 (Knollenberg) would sunset the ability of Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) members to accrue pension time during professional services leave or release time, if the member reimburses the system for payments during that time. In addition, Senate Bill 280 would amend the Public Employment Relations Act (PERA) to prohibit a public employer (including a community college) from entering contracts that pay union officials for time conducting union business. 

 
 

 

HELPFUL LINKS

Michigan Legislature’s website (bill tracking and committee meetings)

Michigan House of Representatives

Michigan Senate

Community College Legal Authority (Michigan Constitution)

Community College Act of 1966

 

For the map of the community college districts, click here.

 

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