In Legislative Update

Senate Committee to Consider Allowing People to Carry Concealed Weapons on School Property

Senate Bill 442, sponsored by Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville), would prohibit the open carry of firearms in pistol free zones, including K-12 public schools and community colleges, but allow concealed weapons permit holds to get an endorsement on their CCW license to carry in gun free zones.

AFT Michigan strongly opposes this bill. Schools must be places where students and staff are safe to learn, teach and work, and allowing people to carry weapons is dangerous and reckless. AFT Michigan will testify against this bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Please take action and ask your state senator to vote no on this bill now!

Bill to Allow Some Retirees to Return Part-Time to the Classroom Moves to Senate Floor

For many years, Michigan law allowed retired members of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) to return to work as substitute teachers, or in other critical shortage staffing areas, without negatively impacting their pension. However, that exemption ended in 2014. Since then, there have been efforts in the Legislature – supported by AFT Michigan – to reinstate that exemption.

Most recently, House Bill 4059, sponsored by Representative Holly Hughes (R-White River Twp.), seeks to address the issue by reinstating the ability for retired MPSERS members to return to work under certain circumstances without harming their pension. HB 4059 passed the House by a vote of 108 to 2 in March of this year.

AFT Michigan testified support of this bill last week. The bill was reported out of the Senate Committee on Education Wednesday, with some changes. Instead of eliminating the expiration of the old law, this bill moves the sunset provision to 2018. AFT Michigan is still in support of the legislation and encourages senators to vote for the bill.

Bill to Change Alternative Certification for K-12 Teachers Approved by Senate Education Committee

Senate Bill 491, introduced by Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-Port Huron), would allow school boards more flexibility in hiring people seeking to switch careers and become teachers.

Current law requires a person seeking an alternative teaching certificate to have a bachelor’s degree, be enrolled in a teacher preparation program, and have a plan for achieving full certification.

The bill makes a number of changes to alternative teacher certification, including:

  • Adds the subjects of writing, journalism, and health sciences to the list of subject noncertified, nonendorsed individuals can teach.
  • Allow a person without a major in the subject they would teach to hold alternative certification if they have spent five of the past seven years working as a professional in a related field.
  • Allow an individual seeking an interim teaching certificate to have more than one subject matter endorsement if he or she had more than one graduate degree, or had a bachelor’s degree with more than one major, and met other requirements.
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