Before I start reviewing the legislative actions of the past week, I want to make a few remarks about being a teacher and Public Act 92 of 2017. I was a teacher of biology and life science for 12 ½ years and a principal for another 10 years. For the number of hours that I worked each week (usually more than 60), it was not a well-paid job. Since I had been a practicing veterinarian with my husband running a small practice in the UP, I considered that my health insurance and my future pension were definitely part of my compensation package. I often expressed this to young teachers that I mentored or later hired. It helped make the lower salaries that were paid in rural areas more acceptable. Now the copay for health insurance is deducted and the future pension is much less sure.
Teachers usually love their job. I remember all the work of grading and planning that I did at home. I remember running the computer grading program every Sunday night so the students would have their current grades on Monday morning. I remember waiting for the light of understanding to show in a student’s eyes. I anticipated the interest of the students in the labs and exercises I planned for them. I often told myself I would be someone’s favorite teacher and someone’s most disliked teacher too. As a principal, I saw how few teachers were not devoted to their students and their learning.
This bill will stand in the way of future teachers choosing this wonderful profession. We will lose some of the best and brightest to more sure and lucrative professions. It discourages me as many of us fought this bill. But I will not stop opposing the legislation that strips the profession I love of the compensation it deserves. Or opposing any of the other legislation that decreases our access to health care and other human rights.
Senate Joint Resolution J: seeks to place a constitutional Amendment on the ballots to have pay increases for legislators not take effect until after the next election. In other words, unless you are reelected you don’t benefit from a pay increase that you voted for. (Another reason legislators like partisan redistricting and “safe” seats?)
House Joint Resolution Q: introduced by Tom Barrett (R) proposes a constitutional amendment for a 90-day limit to legislative terms. The legislators would meet once a month for a weekend session and twice a year for a two-week session. I think there are lots of pro’s and cons to this.
House Joint Resolution O, introduced by Jon Hoadley (D) also proposes a constitutional amendment on the ballot to allow automatic voter registration when obtaining a driver’s license and early voting by no reason absentee ballot.
House joint Resolution L: introduced by Tim Kelly (R) is a constitutional amendment proposal to allow state money to be spent for special education students to attend private schools (not just charter schools) Personally I object to my tax dollars going to private schools ever.
The last proposed constitutional amendment,
House Joint Resolution N: introduced by Michael McCready (R) would reduce the number of house representatives to 76 from 110.
There were several bills including Senate Bill 242 and 243 that allow some developers to keep the income tax they collect from their employees. There must have been some maneuvering on this as there was an amendment to make the business executives have drug tests and to not allow the agency that designates the companies that get these subsidies to collect revenues from state gaming contracts. These both failed. The practice seems very dodgy to me. But there will be an annual report on these subsidies.
JACK BERGMAN’S VOTES
Recently he voted for a Medical Malpractice Limitation bill that restricts non-economic damages to $250,000 if the insurance was subsidized by the federal government. He also voted to prevent any governmental unit from NOT assisting the immigration agents. His third vote was to establish fines and prison sentences for undocumented immigrants convicted of certain offenses who illegally returned after being deported.
f you check, the FiveThirtyEight website, you will find that Jack Bergman votes 100% of the time with President Trump. Of our 9 Republican representatives, 7 of them have 100% voting records with President Trump. Paul Mitchell is at 97% and Justin Amash is at 73%. Our 5 Democratic representatives have less than 15% agreement with Trump.
US HR 806 Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017: would delay EPA ozone pollution standards for 8 years. This bill passed the US House of Reps. and is on it's way to the Senate. Since we need to keep our air clean, this seems a poor idea.
This week we're using the recess to focus on "yay," not "nay." That is, we've scoured all of our past issues for legislation we can support. And since fighting regressive legislation can take a short break until the next senate/house votes on August 16, we can use the opportunity to share our support for some great progressive legislation.
We're going to use the slightly funkier google docs published format this week because it works better with links to internal headings. In particular, you can see our (long) list of actions below.
(1) Industrial polluters in Michigan should clean up the pollution they create.
(2) Michigan should protect internet privacy.
(3) Feminine hygiene products are necessities, not luxuries
(4) We support no-reason absentee voting!
(5) Enbridge Line 5 is a threat to the Great Lakes
(6) Our state can play a role in saving lives in the opioid epidemic
(7) The American People have a duty to help curb climate change
(8) Michigan’s civil rights law should include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
(9) Healthcare is a human right
Set a strategy so you don’t get too overwhelmed by the length. Try picking one or two bills you’re most excited about. Or try to make one phone call per day. Remember-- any phone call is better than none.
Nina and the miactionlist team (Terri, Steve, and Tom)
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