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News From the Capitol, Apr 14, 2023
April 14, 2023 by MASB Government Relations
  • House Committee Approves Expanding Sinking Funds for School Buses
  • Bills Introduced to Amend Prohibited Subjects of Bargaining 
  • Senate Committee Begins Hearings on Repealing the A-F Ranking System
  • House Committee Considers Bill Changing Student Discipline
  • House Committee Begins Hearings on “Filter First” Legislation 
  • House Passes Cursive Writing Recommendation


House Committee Approves Expanding Sinking Funds for School Buses

On Tuesday, the House Education Committee approved Senate Bill 63, which would expand the allowable uses for sinking funds to include school transportation. It also includes the acquisition of other vehicles to transport students, as well as the parts, supplies and equipment used to maintain those vehicles.

MASB supports this bill and continues to encourage its quick passage. It is now before the full House for consideration. We encourage you to reach out to your Representative and urge passage of this bill. 

Bills Introduced to Amend Prohibited Subjects of Bargaining 

On Tuesday, a package of bills was introduced which would repeal some of the prohibited subjects of bargaining currently in the Public Employment Relations Act. The bills were referred to the House Labor Committee and could be considered as soon as Thursday morning.

House Bill 4354 would repeal teacher placement, layoff and recalls, teacher evaluation, employee discharge or discipline, classroom observations, merit pay and how to notify parents about ineffective teachers. House Bill 4356 would repeal privatization of noninstructional support services. House Bills 4555 and 4357 amend references to the Michigan School Code to reflect these changes. Removing these items from the prohibited subjects list means they would then be mandatory subjects of bargaining when working on a collective bargaining agreement.

We are hoping to be able to have conversations with the bill sponsors and committee members regarding our concerns with repealing some of these issues, particularly teacher placement, layoff and recall, and discipline and discharge. We would encourage you to also reach out to your Representative, especially if they serve on the House Labor Committee, to share how these changes will affect collective bargaining in your district.

Senate Committee Begins Hearings on Repealing the A-F Ranking System

On Thursday, the Senate Education Committee began hearings on House Bill 4166, which would repeal Section 1280g of the Revised School Code, known as the A-F rating system for schools. MDE gave testimony explaining that this system does not meet federal requirements for an accountability system and is redundant to the system Michigan uses to meet those requirements. 

MASB, and most education organizations, support the bill to remove the A-F system and maintain the accountability system and parent dashboard currently in place. Further hearings are expected next week.

House Committee Considers Bill Changing Student Discipline

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee began hearings on a package of bills that includes House Bill 4125. This bill states that a student cannot be suspended or expelled for more than ten days for an action arising from an incident in which the student claims they were sexually assaulted. 

The purpose of the bill is to give students confidence that if they report an assault or report witnessing an assault while they were doing something against school rules, that the assault will be treated seriously and they won’t get in trouble for the other action. The reason given for the this change in law is that a student may not report an assault if they were engaged in prohibited activity when the assault occurs.

Unfortunately, as written, the bill does not address that concern and instead goes much farther and limits disciplinary decisions by a district or administrator. MASB and MASSP are in conversations with the bill sponsor, Rep. Carrie Rheingans (D-Ann Arbor) to make changes to the bill to still address the initial concern but also allow for schools to take proper steps in discipline. We hope to have an agreement by the next committee hearing.

House Committee Begins Hearings on “Filter First” Legislation 

On Thursday, the House Health Policy Committee began hearings on House Bill 4341 create the Clean Drinking Water Access Act. The act would require each school to develop a drinking water safety plan and make the plan available to the state government. It would also require hydration stations and other water filters to be placed in schools by the end of the 2025-2026 school year. 

The bill also creates the clean drinking water fund in the Department of Treasury, and previous budgets have appropriated money for this purpose. However, it also states that schools will not be held to this new law unless an appropriation is made by the Legislature.

MASB has been in conversations with the bill sponsors and stakeholders to make some technical and reporting changes we would like to see. We are hopeful our recommendations will be included, so that the bill can be implemented properly and is fully funded. Hearings are expected to continue next week.

House Passes Cursive Writing Recommendation

On Thursday the House passed House Bill 4064 by a vote of 103-4. This bill strongly encourages the Michigan Department of Education to create or adopt a model program for cursive instruction by August 2024 and make that program available for districts to adopt if they so choose. 

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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