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2012 Senate Bill 955: Appropriations: Higher Education
  1. Introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R) on February 14, 2012, to provide a “template” or “place holder” for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Higher Education budget. This bill contains no appropriations, but may be amended at a later date to include them.
    • Referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee on February 14, 2012.
      • Reported in the Senate on April 24, 2012, with the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the Senate on April 25, 2012, to adopt a version of this budget that expresses the fiscal and policy preferences of the Republican-majority in the House on various spending items and programs. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on April 25, 2012.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Morris Hood, III (D) on April 26, 2012, to increase higher education spending by $224 million. The amendment failed 16 to 22 in the Senate on April 26, 2012.
      Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

    • Amendment offered by Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on April 26, 2012, to eliminate provisions making some university funding contingent on meeting certain performance goals. The amendment failed 12 to 25 in the Senate on April 26, 2012.
      Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

    • Amendment offered by Sen. Rebekah Warren (D) on April 26, 2012, to strip out a provision requiring universities to report on efforts "to accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of students enrolled in accredited counseling degree programs". The amendment failed 10 to 27 in the Senate on April 26, 2012.
      Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

    • Amendment offered by Sen. Glenn Anderson (D) on April 26, 2012, to not use tax revenues earmarked to the state School Aid Fund in next year's higher education budget, but instead use non-earmarked revenue. Although the state constitution explicitly authorizes using SAF money for higher education, the public school establishment contends that the 1994 Proposal A initiative earmarking a sales tax increase to the SAF means it can only be used for K-12 schools. The amendment failed 17 to 21 in the Senate on April 26, 2012.
      Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  2. Passed 22 to 16 in the Senate on April 26, 2012, the Senate version of the Fiscal higher education budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2012. This would appropriate $1.400 billion in gross spending, compared to $1.36 billion the previous year. The Senate significantly watered down "incentive grant" criteria proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder, which would have made some funding contigent on degree completions; number of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health degrees; and number of students receiving Pell Grants. The Senate kept a tuition restraint restraint provision, but reduced the amount of extra money for schools that meet its proposed 3.5 percent cap on increases.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the House on April 26, 2012.
    • Referred to the House Appropriations Committee on April 26, 2012.
    • Substitute offered by Rep. Chuck Moss (R) on May 2, 2012, to strip out all of the appropriations of the Senate-passed version of the bill, which is basically a procedural method of launching negotiations to work out the differences between the House and Senate budgets. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on May 2, 2012.
  4. Passed 63 to 47 in the House on May 2, 2012, to send the bill back to the Senate "stripped" of all actual appropriations. This vote is basically a procedural method of launching negotiations to work out the differences between the House and Senate budgets.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  5. Received in the Senate on May 3, 2012.
  6. Failed 0 to 38 in the Senate on May 3, 2012, to concur with the House-passed version of the budget. The vote sends the bill to a House-Senate conference committee to work out the differences.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  7. Received in the Senate on June 5, 2012.
  8. Passed 22 to 16 in the Senate on June 5, 2012, the House-Senate conference report for the Higher Education budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2012. The bill appropriates $1.399 billion for state universities, compared to $1.364 billion the previous year. Of this, $97 million is federal money, and the rest comes for state taxes and fees. An identical version of this budget was pasted into House Bill 5372, which is the version to be sent to the Governor and signed into law.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  9. Received in the House on June 5, 2012.

Comments

Re: 2012 Senate Bill 955 (Appropriations: Higher Education )  by MethodiusScholz on July 11, 2012 
I don't know what the are doing down there but only one thing I know... God is watching them for us...


Re: 2012 Senate Bill 955 (Appropriations: Higher Education )  by Admin003 on May 4, 2012 
Senators Anderson, Hood, Smith, Young, Gregory, Johnson, Whitmer, Hunter and Gleason, under their constitutional right of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of Senate Bill No. 955.
Senators Anderson, Hood and Whitmer moved that the statements they made during the discussion of the bill be printed as their reasons for voting “no.”
The motion prevailed.
Senator Anderson’s statement is as follows:
I rise to speak in favor of my amendment to stop the raid on the School Aid Fund and replace it with General Fund dollars. With the Higher Education budget before us, we see a repeated theme from yesterday—a theme that leaves children on the sidelines while corporations are given blank checks drawn on the state coffers.
Last year, we saw one of the most dramatic cuts to education in our state’s history. Since that cut, schools have closed, class sizes have ballooned, and teachers have been put under a greater strain as they are being forced to provide basic school supplies for their classrooms while their pay and benefits are slashed.
After that cut, your budget handed a $1.8 billion cut in corporate taxes and now continues to fund billions annually in business tax credits with no guarantee that any jobs will be created. This corporate welfare is provided straight out of the General Fund. In the past two years, we have been told that raiding funds from our K-12 schools is necessary in order to sustain our institutions of higher learning. Yet the reality is that our universities and community colleges could easily be funded through the General Fund if it wasn’t strained with billions of dollars in corporate handouts.
Your true priority is clear: Line the pockets of corporate CEOs while hanging our children’s futures out to dry. My amendment would return the funding for higher education to the General Fund and refocus this budget on those who need it the most—our children.
Senator Hood’s statement, in which Senators Smith, Young, Gregory and Johnson concurred, is as follows:
Let me first start off by saying that when this budget bill started, was negotiated and talked about through the committee process that there were plenty of metric funding formulas put before us, and I will start off by saying that the metric funding formula that is in this legislation is the best formula that was put before us.
I stand before you in opposition to this budget bill for all of the reasons that we have heard in the amendments that were not adopted. The main one, to me, is that we talked about the $2.5 million that was taken from the School Aid Fund, and we have heard in the Community Colleges budget that it is proper to do. Yes, you can probably play around with the words with anything and make it that way, but, to my understanding, you can do it.
If we go back to 1994 when Proposal A was adopted by the citizens of Michigan, the 2 cents tax that was added on and dedicated for education, it was supposed to be for K-12 education. That is what it was sold on and that is what the people voted for. But we found a loophole in that to be able to take that money out. Just because a loophole is there, do we take the money out? I would say not.
When do we stop and look and not bite off our noses to spite our faces? It has been asked and we have heard several times today, well, we don’t have the money. Where do we get the money from? But you will see in times to come after today that there is money somewhere if you really look. It is there. You know it’s there, but it’s hidden over in a corner somewhere and you want to use it for your special projects, for your pet projects. There is $350 million in this so-called Rainy Day Fund, or whatever name you want to put on it; sitting there right now. Well, by gosh, I will tell you, it is raining right now. In my district and many of your districts, it’s raining. And if you aren’t listening right now, it is because you don’t care. You need to be listening. There are $130 million in this budget that will be put in that Rainy Day Fund. Where is the money at? There is some of it right there for starters. So let’s not stand here and misguide everyone and say that there is no money. There is money sitting there, and if somebody believes that it’s not, tell me that it’s not and show me that it’s not. Show the people of the state of Michigan that it isn’t there because it’s there.
In the Governor’s State of the State address, he said it—it’s there. So don’t stand up here and tell me there is no money—we’ll see. Look at some of the legislation that goes through here, and you will see money for this, money for that, all over the place. But then you stand up here when somebody comes up with an idea you say there is no money for it. Poppycock.
So let’s be real. If we want to be legislators, let’s be real and forthright. We have talked about being transparent, and then let’s be transparent. If there is money there, there’s money there. If there isn’t, then let’s prove that there isn’t. But let’s not play games with each other. We need to stop playing games with each other and be fair to each other and the citizens of the state of Michigan. Let’s stop this bickering, partisanship crap. Let’s stop because we are doing nothing other than hurting our state.
I am sorry if I offended anyone, but if the shoe fits, then put it on and wear it proudly.
Senator Whitmer’s statement, in which Senators Hunter, Johnson and Gleason concurred, is as follows:
When I rise to speak before this chamber, like many of you here, it’s because I feel strongly about the issue at hand. I’ve spoken out because I’ve been angry about something I see happening or disappointed in an opportunity missed. Today for the second time in six months, I rise because I’m actually embarrassed about what I see happening here today.
Let’s review: The last time an extreme special interest wrote one of your amendments, it resulted in the Republican majority’s ridiculous attempt to give a license to bully to kids who brutally harass and torment schoolmates so long as they evoke a strongly-held religious belief. I am sure you all recall the international rebuke that was brought upon Republicans in this chamber and in the state. And yet here we are again. De’ja’vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say.
Republican language added to a one-year Higher Education budget bill at the last minute seeks to penalize a world-class university seeking to do world-class medical research that 2.5 million voters explicitly permitted with Proposal 2 in 2008. This research, mind you, is heralded as the most promising medical advancement ever. And rather than embrace our universities and propel them forward toward cures, you choose to pander to special interest fanatics who seek to handcuff researchers and regress us to the dark ages.
So congratulations for being consistent. There are no rules, apparently, that the Republican majority is unwilling to change—whether it be to bail out a financially-inept brother of the Republican Party chair, to reach back and gerrymander Oakland County Commission seats, or in this case, to try to rewrite the Constitution in favor or a special interest still smarting from 2.5 million Michiganders choosing hope over fear.
My amendment would simply remove this misguided language that was added at the last minute in committee. It’s language added when the subcommittee chair, after publicly stating that she wanted to keep politics out of the budget, went on to reason that additional reporting requirements on universities are compelled because she believes that life begins at conception. The Senator from the 20th District has the right to believe anything she wants to believe. However, it may come as news, but the cutting-edge research done at the University of Michigan has nothing to do with the act of procreating. Two point five million Michigan voters understood that when they overwhelmingly adopted Proposal 2. Yet as we sit here today, one very powerful special interest group is doing everything in its power to prevent, restrict, obstruct, discourage, and to create disincentives to the cutting-edge research for cures.
This is the very reason that the voters felt compelled to sidestep this body and say we are going to do this research and find cures here in Michigan. Right to Life was not elected to set policy in this state; you were. And you were elected to stand up to special interests, not to lay down for them. You swore to uphold the Constitution on your first day here when you were sworn in.
So let’s take this opportunity to remind voters why this body is different than the House. Let’s remind them that policy can still win out over politics sometimes. But the constitution is paramount to petty political ploys. Let’s instill some confidence once again that their Senators can discuss and negotiate and in the end agree on the best way to move Michigan forward.
You and I both know that the punitive language Right to Life inserted in this budget should not stand. We have world-class institutions of higher education in Michigan. They are a major driver of our economic development in this state, with a history of incredible breakthroughs in science and medicine. In fact, just yesterday the University of Michigan announced a major breakthrough using stem cell research in a fight against a disorder that leaves children and adults with muscle degeneration in their arms and legs. Yet instead of thanking the University of Michigan or celebrating this exciting news, the Republican majority is condemning them with this budget. With all of the Governor’s talk about economic gardening, let’s resist the temptation to bury this thriving industry six feet under and embrace the future of medical research.
I ask for your support of this amendment. I ask that you please re-think the message that you want to send to the world. Does this Legislature pick hope over fear? Do we want a thriving economy that embraces science and research? Do we want vibrant universities known throughout the world? The answer I hope is “yes” to all of those questions, and that means the answer to this amendment, I hope, is “yes” as well.
I also want to react to some of the things that I have heard here. I think as a state and a nation, we need to reject the false choices. We need to reject the argument that you can’t pay down debts while making an investment. Michigan families do that every single day when they pay on their mortgages and put a little bit of money aside in their 529 Plan for their kids to go to college. President Lincoln rejected those false choices when in the midst of a civil war he created our land grant universities. In times of crises, you need to invest more than any other time.
So as to whether or not money is there, it is all about values and what you value. What we have seen you value in the last 16 months is business tax breaks over people. With this move, it is $1.5 billion that you have taken out of the School Aid fund to backfill the General Fund so that you can take care of your business interests and give away tax breaks that have no metric showing they create a single job.
So I reject these false arguments here, and I say that these budgets are a statement of our priorities as a state, a statement of where we want to be next year but also 25 years from now. That is the reason I vote against all of these budgets. I think it is a shame that no one in this chamber can see beyond their own relevance and talk about an investment in what the state of Michigan needs to look like in 25 years.
You say you care about grandkids and your children, but the choices that you make take $1.5 billion out of the School Aid fund. There is a balance there. We could invest greater amounts of money but for the choices that you have made. So don’t tell us that the money is not there. I reject your false arguments, and I think the people of Michigan reject your false arguments. We can’t afford to buy into that. We need to invest for our future.
Senators Warren, Anderson and Caswell asked and were granted unanimous consent to make statements and moved that the statements be printed in the Journal.
The motion prevailed.
Senator Warren’s statement is as follows:
My amendment would remove the boilerplate language in the budget before us that seeks to tell our world-class universities how best to administer their counseling programs. I have very serious concerns about the language that was inserted into this budget for several reasons. First, I believe it is an obvious and blatant encroachment of the constitutionally-guaranteed autonomy given to our public universities in Michigan. It’s an autonomy that exists to prevent exactly what is found in this budget today: attempts to inject politics into our classrooms, research laboratories, and curriculums of the universities around this state.
I am concerned that this language is included solely to score political points at the expense of educating future counselors according to the ethics of their profession. Counselors are taught to listen not to judge, yet this language empowers current and future counseling students to potentially inflict serious emotional harm if their personal religious beliefs lead them to do so.
Leaving this language in our Higher Education budget encourages those who are trusted to counsel, listen, and process our constituents’ most emotionally-challenging moments to pass judgment based on beliefs that may well not be held by the patients whom they are counseling.
My amendment would put a stop to this politically-charged attempt to dictate university curriculum, and I ask for your support.
Senator Anderson’s statement is as follows:
I rise to speak in favor of my amendment to stop the raid on the School Aid Fund and replace it with General Fund dollars. With the Higher Education budget before us, we see a repeated theme from yesterday—a theme that leaves children on the sidelines while corporations are given blank checks drawn on the state coffers.
Last year, we saw one of the most dramatic cuts to education in our state’s history. Since that cut, schools have closed, class sizes have ballooned, and teachers have been put under a greater strain as they are being forced to provide basic school supplies for their classrooms while their pay and benefits are slashed.
After that cut, your budget handed a $1.8 billion cut in corporate taxes and now continues to fund billions annually in business tax credits with no guarantee that any jobs will be created. This corporate welfare is provided straight out of the General Fund. In the past two years, we have been told that raiding funds from our K-12 schools is necessary in order to sustain our institutions of higher learning. Yet the reality is that our universities and community colleges could easily be funded through the General Fund if it wasn’t strained with billions of dollars in corporate handouts.
Your true priority is clear: Line the pockets of corporate CEOs while hanging our children’s futures out to dry. My amendment would return the funding for higher education to the General Fund and refocus this budget on those who need it the most—our children.
Senator Caswell’s statement is as follows:
The efforts that we made last year in forming the business tax for this state were all directed toward small and medium-sized businesses. We recognize very clearly that our future is with entrepreneurs, small business people, and those medium-sized businesses that will grow into big businesses of tomorrow.
If, in fact, we look at the facts, the largest corporations in this state did not benefit from the 6 percent corporate tax that we put in place because many of them stayed under the MBT which was put in place by the previous administration because their tax liabilities were less in doing so. We have honored those previous commitments that were made.
I have no problem with supporting small business, entrepreneurs, and the people who build businesses in our communities, will stay in our communities, and will support our communities through thick and thin.

2012 Senate Bill 955 (Appropriations: Higher Education )  by admin on May 4, 2012 
Introduced in the Senate on February 14, 2012, the Senate version of the Fiscal higher education budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2012. This would appropriate $1.400 billion in gross spending, compared to $1.36 billion the previous year. The Senate significantly watered down "incentive grant" criteria proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder, which would have made some funding contigent on degree completions; number of science, technology, engineering, mathematics,
and health degrees; and number of students receiving Pell Grants. The Senate kept a tuition restraint restraint provision, but reduced the amount of extra money for schools that meet its proposed 3.5 percent cap on increases

The vote was 22 in favor, 16 opposed and 0 not voting

(Senate Roll Call 267 at Senate Journal 0)

Click here to view bill details.

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