Friday, January 28, 2011

Lawmakers introduce tired attacks on school employees

Here's an overview of some of the bills introduced to date:

Senate Bill 0007 would prohibit public employers from paying more than 80 percent of the total cost of the medical benefit plans (including medical, dental, and optical) for employees. Public employers with health savings account plans could pay up to 90 percent of the cost. The implementation date in the bill is Jan. 1, 2013, and any contracts in effect at that time would be honored until the expiration date of the contract. The legislation would apply to all union employees, non-union employees, and elected officials covered by the public employer’s medical benefit plans. The sponsor is Sen. Mark Jansen, R- Gaines Township. This measure may require a change to the state constitution, which has been introduced as Senate Joint Resolution C, also sponsored by Jansen.

Senate Joint Resolution B would place a constitutional revision before voters to cut public employee pay by 5 percent and freeze that rate for three years. The resolution will require a 2/3 majority vote in each chamber. Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, is the sponsor.

House Bill 4052 would amend the Public Employment Relations Act (PERA) to prohibit public employees or their unions from using any school facilities or equipment for union activities. The sponsor is Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville.

House Bill 4054 would amend PERA to allow public schools and other governmental entities to create a "Right to Work Zone" by a vote of the governing body. The sponsor is Rep. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy.

 House Bill 4059 would prohibit release time for union officers or bargaining representatives to conduct union business if the release time is paid for by the public employer. Knollenberg is the sponsor.

House Bill 4128 would prohibit a department, board, or commission from setting a rule or standard on workplace ergonomics. The sponsor is Rep. Bradford Jacobsen, R-Oxford.

House Bill 4139 would require public employers to conduct beneficiary eligibility audits to determine whether dependents covered by public employees' health insurance plans are eligible for benefits. The sponsor is Rep. Tim Melton, D-Auburn Hills.

House Bill 4140 would create a state-run health insurance plan for public employees. This proposal would cost $870 million to set up and would not guarantee any savings. Melton is the sponsor.

House Bill 4141 would create a new state commission of political appointees to study consolidation of non-instructional services in all public schools. Based on the recommendations, the state could then order service consolidation. Melton is the sponsor.

House Bill 4142 would amend tenure law. Probationary teachers rated ineffective would not earn tenure. Tenured teachers rated "ineffective" for two consecutive years may have to serve another four-year probationary period. Melton is the sponsor.