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Campaign Finance Debate Continues: Last Wednesday, the House Elections Committee reported out a dramatically changed version of House Bill 5219 (Lyons), which amends the recent law concerning communications on local ballot questions (Public Act 269 of 2015). The updated version of the bill would allow a much broader exemption wherein public funds could be used for communications that are strictly "factual and neutral." HB 5219 now goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

 

Court Issues Injunction Against Ballot Question Law: State officials have been ordered to not enforce PA 269 (SB 571) in an injunction issued by US District Judge O'Meara, labelled a law forcing a "gag order" on local governments with ballot issues before the voters. The order comes slightly more than a month before the March 8 primary election in which more than 100 local governments have a variety of issues before the voters. The law prohibited local governments from issuing information to voters by a variety of means 60 days before an election. Mr. O'Meara said the controversial legislation creates confusion in terms of communicating with voters and that "public officials deserve clarity on this issue so that they may serve the public in the normal course without fear of arbitrary sanction or prosecution.

 

Prohibited Subjects of Bargaining: HB 5194 was taken up by the Committee on Education last week. The bill deals with prohibited subjects of bargaining between a "public SCHOOL employer" and its employees, which does not include community colleges (see the House Fiscal Agency analysis of the bill).

 

Tax Credit Reconsidered: Last Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee reported out Senate Bill 461 (Colbeck), which would reinstate the Michigan income tax credit for donations to Michigan colleges and universities and their foundations. The credit was eliminated in 2011 as part of sweeping tax changes that also repealed the Michigan Business Tax and a number of individual income tax credits. The Department of Treasury opposes SB 461, which now goes to the full Senate.

 

Budget Expected February 10: This coming Wednesday, February 10, Governor Snyder will release his Executive Budget recommendation for 2016-2017. Detailed budget documents will be available after the presentation at http://www.michigan.gov/budget. The House Subcommittee on Community Colleges has announced its first hearing to review the proposal on Tuesday, February 16, and the Senate Subcommittee will hold its first hearing the following Tuesday, February 23.

 

Motorcycle Safety Fee Increase: In the Senate this week, the Transportation Committee reported out House Bill 4853 (Tedder), which would double the fee for motorcycle safety training courses in Michigan from $25 to $50. The course fee has not been increased in decades, and limits the level of training that providers can afford to offer. Seven of Michigan's community colleges currently provide motorcycle safety training.

 
 

 

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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