Bob Kefgen's blog

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This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

The House Education Reform Committee was packed to the gills on Thursday when they took testimony, but did not vote on a pair of bills that would—among other things—simplify the process for getting a non-medical waiver (i.e. a waiver for religious or philosophical reasons) from Michigan’s vaccination rules for students.  The House Health Policy Committee passed legislation that would require that MDE embed instruction about prescription opioid drug abuse into the substance abuse section of Michigan's health education content standards. Neither the Senate Education Committee or the Senate Education Subcommittee on the Michigan Merit Curriculum met this past week, though the former panel is slated to meet this coming week, presumably to take up legislation to close the MPSERS system.

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House, Senate Introduce Bills to Close MPSERS for New Employees

On Tuesday, identical bills were introduced in the House and Senate to close the MPSERS system for new employees and instead offer them a 401k-style retirement plan modeled after the benefit offered to state employees. Legislative leaders have been signaling for weeks that they intended to take a run at this issue, so the move is not unexpected. What the bills fail to address is how the legislature intends to fund the multi-billion dollar price tag that would come with closing the pension system.

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This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

The Senate Education Committee met Tuesday to take testimony on a pair of bills (SB 343-44) that would affect secondary principals: one to require districts to provide students with regional information on in-demand occupations during the EDP process, another to create an optional STEM diploma endorsement. MASSP testified with concerns on both bills, which are in the very earliest stages of the legislative process and have a long way to go before they have any chance of becoming law.

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GF Down, SAF Up in May Revenue Estimates

The State Treasurer and directors of the House and Senate Fiscal Agencies met Wednesday to come to consensus on the revenue estimates that will be used to finalize state budgets for next year. Bottom line: the state’s chief economists now project that while the School Aid Fund will do better than initially expected general fund (GF) revenues will come in lower, likely leading to pressure for both GF cuts and more School Aid diversions.

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This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

Nearly 350 Principals and other school administrators joined MASSP and MASA in East Lansing on Tuesday for a one-day conference to cover the new legal requirements that schools have under the Zero Tolerance and Seclusion & Restraint legislation that passed last legislative session. MASSP is working to compile an FAQ and other member resources based on topics from the event. The Senate Education Committee also met Tuesday and voted out a bill that would further limit deed restrictions being placed on school buildings sold to third parties…the stated intent of the bill is to prevent local units of government from using deed restrictions to limit charter schools' access to vacant school buildings.