Teacher tax credit
House Bill 4365, introduced in
February by Rep. Paul Condino, D-Southfield, establishes a tax credit for
teachers and other public school employees who spend their own money on
classroom supplies. The credit would cover such items as books, videos, computer
software, lab and art supplies, and awards that teachers from time to time
purchase out-of-pocket. For a single tax return, the credit equals 50 percent of
the cost paid by the teacher or employee and shall not exceed $100. It shall not
exceed $200 for a return filed jointly. If passed, the law would take effect for
tax years beginning after Dec. 31 of this year.
School paper censorship ban
Senate Bill 156, introduced in
February by Sen. Michael Switalski, D-Roseville, would make law the provision
that a "school board, school administrator, or school employee shall not subject
a pupil publication to prior review or prior restraint," in effect, banning
censorship of student publications. The legislation offers some exceptions in
the case that, among other requirements, the material is obscene, defamatory or
incriminating under state or federal law. Responsibility for the publication
would lie with a student editorial board.
Claims history disclosure
A bill being considered by the
House Committee on Education would stipulate that Third Party Administrators of
school employee health insurance disclose their claims history upon request.
Allendale Republican Rep. Barb Vander Veen’s House Bill 4274 would require TPAs
such as the Michigan Education Special Services Association to provide this
information for school district use in selecting a health insurance plan. Under
the proposed legislation, claims histories would have to include information
such as total number of individuals covered, total number of claims paid, total
number of pending claims and "any other health claims data necessary for the
public school employer to obtain competitive bids for other Third Party
Administrator services or other health care coverage."
Athletic coach certification
Under Senate Bill 205, proposed by
Sen. Beverly Hammerstrom, R-Temperance, coaches of interscholastic sports would
be required to be certified by the state in "sport safety training."
Certification could be granted upon completion of a state-sanctioned course in
emergency procedures such as CPR and First Aid. However, the legislation does
not "create a duty to act," nor make the holder of the certification liable in
Working-student tax break
A change in the state income tax
code would be implemented if House Bill 4043 passes. The bill, introduced by
Lamar Lemmons, Jr., D-Detroit, would create a tax break for certain working
students. Beginning with tax years after Dec. 31, 2004, "A person who is less
than 18 years of age, lives with his or her parents or guardian, is enrolled in
a K-12 program at a public school or public school academy, and is employed at
any time during the tax year may claim 1 exemption of $2,000.00 in addition to
any other exemption he or she is eligible to claim under this section." The bill was proposed in January, and is currently referred to the House Committee on Tax Policy.
Community service repeal
Two House Bills introduced in
February by Rep. Robert Gosselin, R-Troy, would abolish community service as a
pre-requisite for either graduation or the Michigan Merit Award scholarship.
House Bill 4277 would amend 1999 PA 94, the Michigan Merit Award Scholarship
Act, by including the phrase, "A student is not required to complete volunteer
or community service as a requirement for or condition of receiving a Michigan
Merit Award Scholarship under this act." Likewise, House Bill 4278 prohibits
public schools from requiring community service as a condition of graduation.
Under current resolution of the Michigan Merit Award Board, beginning with the
class of 2006 any student who qualifies for the award and who wishes to receive
it must complete 40 hours of community service.
House Bill 4118, introduced Feb. 1
by Rep. Daniel Acciavatti, R-New Baltimore, would create a law ensuring that
Michigan’s high school athletes are not using performance-enhancing substances.
The legislation would leave it to the discretion of the individual school boards to decide how an abuse of such substances would affect the eligibility of the athlete, but would force schools to have a rule governing such usage. In order to enforce the law, the Department of Community Health would have to provide and update a list of performance-enhancing substances based mainly on the list used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
House Bill 4091, introduced by Rep.
Virgil Smith, D-Detroit, would amend the Revised School Code, 1976 PA 451, to
require all Michigan school districts to provide kindergarten. Children who are
at least five years old on Dec. 1 of the school year of enrollment would be
required to enroll in their district’s kindergarten, should their parents opt
for a public education. Currently, districts are not required by law to provide
Bargaining finance regulation
Proposed legislation in the form of
House Bill 4840, introduced by Rep. Robert Gosselin, R-Troy, stipulates that
school districts, ISDs and public school academies are restricted from using
school funds to pay any part of the salary of "a person who is employed to
engage in collective bargaining on behalf of an employee organization or
grievance procedures on behalf of an employee organization." The bill would also prohibit school employees from being "assigned to work on collective bargaining activities on behalf of an employee organization" as part of their employment with the school.