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Governor, Legislative Leadership Reach Deal-In-Concept on MPSERS

Earlier this afternoon, Governor Snyder and legislative leadership announced that they had reached a conceptual agreement on a plan to reform the state's MPSERS system. The House and Senate Education Committees have both posted meetings for first thing tomorrow morning to discuss this legislation, but it is unclear whether either body plans to vote.

The proposed deal would leave schools and school employees shouldering a larger burden for a smaller, less attractive retirement benefit. As this debate moves forward, MASSP will be watching closely to make sure that any changes do not result in increased costs for districts or a retirement benefit that is so poor that it will make it even more difficult to recruit new educators.

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This Week in Politics in 5 Sentences (or Fewer)

Governor Rick Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) and House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) have reportedly reached a tentative agreement on restructuring the MPSERS system. While rumors are rampant (many of them contradictory) about the shape of the agreement, no solid details are available, though it seems clear that any agreement is limited to new school employees who are hired after this proposed compromise takes effect.

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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.