The 2018 Lame Duck session is in the books and while some negative legislation passed, many of the significant attacks on public education, labor unions and the incoming Democratic administration were either stopped in the Legislature or vetoed by outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder. Of note:
– HB 5707, which would have kept the percentage of teacher evaluations at 25 percent instead of increasing to 40 percent this school year, died in the State Senate after passing the House. MEA will work to have this legislation reintroduced and passed in 2019.
– Watered-down legislation creating an A-F grading system for schools (HB 5526) passed, but left much of the control for the new system in the hands of the Michigan Department of Education, rather than creating a new “shadow” school board. MDE has already asked Attorney General Nessel to weigh in on how this new law may conflict with federal rules under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
– New online sales tax revenue was diverted from the School Aid Fund to road and environmental projects under late-night amendments to HB 4991. NOTE: this is NOT a cut to current per pupil funding – the additional funding from the online sales tax had not been appropriated yet and is not part of this year’s budgeted state school aid payments. However, it IS money that should have gone into the School Aid Fund to allow for increases in coming years.
– Bills attacking labor rights – including release time (SB 795-796), recertification elections (SB 1260), and banning bargaining over calendar and schedule (HB 4163) – were all stopped in the Legislature, thanks in large part to the thousands of calls and emails from MEA members to lawmakers.
– Several bills attempting to limit the power of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson were either stopped in the Legislature or were vetoed by Gov. Snyder in the final days of his term.
For a complete status rundown of the bills that MEA lobbyists were monitoring in Lame Duck, read MEA’s Lame Duck Recap memo.