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2011 House Bill 4246: Limit unionization of grad student research assistants

Public Act 45 of 2012

  1. Introduced by Rep. Al Pscholka (R) on February 10, 2011, to require government and school employee union contracts to include a provision stating that an Emergency Financial Manager appointed by the state to clean up the fiscal affairs of a financially failing local government or school district may reject, modify or terminate the union’s collective bargaining agreement. Note: The tagline above describes the substitute adopted by the Senate, which changed the bill's purpose.
    • Referred to the House Local, Intergovernmental, and Regional Affairs Committee on February 10, 2011.
      • Reported in the House on February 17, 2011, without amendment and with the recommendation that the bill pass.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Al Pscholka (R) on February 23, 2011, to require House Bill 4214 become law for this one to, but not the other bills in the package revising references in varioua other statutes. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on February 23, 2011.
  2. Passed 62 to 47 in the House on February 23, 2011, to require government and school employee union contracts to include a provision stating that an Emergency Financial Manager appointed by the state to clean up the fiscal affairs of a financially failing local government or school district may reject, modify or terminate the union’s collective bargaining agreement. See House Bill 4214.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the Senate on February 24, 2011.
    • Referred to the Senate Education Committee on February 24, 2011.
    • Motion by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R) on March 7, 2012, that the Committee on Education be discharged from further consideration of the bill. The motion passed 26 to 12 in the Senate on March 7, 2012.
      Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

    • Substitute offered in the Senate on March 7, 2012, to replace the previous contents of the bill with those of Senate Bill 971b banning unionization of grad student research assistants. This is parliamentary maneuver to get the new provision into law with "immediate effect" before U of M student researchers are unionized in an upcoming Michigan Employment Relations Commission meeting. Note: "Immediate effect" requires a two-thirds vote, which Republicans have in the Senate, but not in the House. However, the House had approved "immediate effect" for the previous version of this bill, which supposedly still "counts" even though the new version is very different. If challenged in court, a key question would be whether the immediate effect threshold is supposed to be enforced by the Legislature itself or by the courts.. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 7, 2012.
  4. Passed 26 to 12 in the Senate on March 7, 2012, to establish that state university graduate students who work as research assistants are not considered government employees for purposes of enrolling them into a union, if their work terms do not meet an IRS "20 factor test" for employee status. This relates to a Mackinac Center lawsuit filed on behalf of graduate student research assistants (GSRAs) at the University of Michigan. See also House Bill 4003, which would more broadly prohibit “stealth unionizations,” including an ongoing one involving home heath care aides and the SEIU union. Note: Originally introduced with a different purpose, the Senate amended this bill in a parliamentary maneuver to get the provision into law before UM student researchers are unionized in an upcoming Michigan Employment Relations Commission meeting..
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  5. Motion by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R) on March 7, 2012, that the bill be given immediate effect. The motion passed 26 to 12 in the Senate on March 7, 2012.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  6. Received in the House on March 7, 2012.
  7. Passed 63 to 47 in the House on March 7, 2012, to establish that state university graduate students who work as research assistants are not considered government employees for purposes of enrolling them into a union, if their work terms do not meet an IRS "20 factor test" for employee status. This relates to a Mackinac Center lawsuit filed on behalf of graduate student research assistants (GSRAs) at the University of Michigan. See also House Bill 4003, which would more broadly prohibit “stealth unionizations,” including an ongoing one involving home heath care aides and the SEIU union. Note: Originally introduced with a different purpose, the Senate amended this bill in a parliamentary maneuver to get the provision into law before UM student researchers are unionized in an upcoming Michigan Employment Relations Commission meeting.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  8. Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on March 13, 2012.

Comments

Re: 2011 House Bill 4246 (Increase power of school and local emergency financial managers )  by peej on March 8, 2012 

 One thing you missed............not all of us in Michigan are protected by a union.... so I too am part of that government to speak of! 



Re: 2011 House Bill 4246 (Increase power of school and local emergency financial managers )  by peej on March 8, 2012 

 All this ranting because she doesn't like the outcome........ and whose constitutional rights are being stepped on?  Oh and by the way, she described perfectly what the democrats did when they pushed the health care through.....and they had the majority in both the house and senate!



Re: 2011 House Bill 4246 (Increase power of school and local emergency financial managers )  by Admin003 on March 7, 2012 
Senators Whitmer, Young, Johnson, Smith, Hunter, Hood, Gregory and Gleason, under their constitutional right
of protest (Art. 4, Sec. 18), protested against the passage of House Bill No. 4246.
Senator Whitmer's statement, in which Senators Young, Johnson, Smith, Hunter, Hood, Gregory and Gleason
concurred, is as follows:
Mr. President, we've got serious problems here in Michigan. These problems deserve our utmost attention and
effort. Instead, today we spent the last couple of hours--when I say we, I mean the Republican majority has spent the
last couple of hours--trying to figure out how to explain away actions that trample on that Constitution.
First and foremost, this bill does not contain any--and I mean any--of the changes set forth in the as-introduced
version of the bill. Literally, there was nothing currently before the Senate that was in House Bill No. 4246 when it
was introduced. Our Constitutional Convention delegates thought that this might happen. They worried such an
abuse of power would occur, and they blocked it by banning changes of purpose and by calling it the title, object
provision. Yet, as we near the 50th anniversary of that great charter, the majority is ignoring it. It appears that the
guiding principle of this majority is if you can't win under the rules, change the rules, or ignore them as they did
with their own presidential primary last week, and they are doing it with this bill.
I'm wondering, what does the Tea Party think of trampling on the Constitution in this way? Are they a movement
of principles or of expediency? If it is a movement of principles, they should be outraged by your action and others
like it, where this majority seeks to subvert popular will, subvert elections, and change rules after the game.
This substitute throws out the Constitution, all to get a handful of students at the University of Michigan who
want to hold an election. We know where the majority stands on UofM students because you voted on it last week. I
guess it's okay to have that view, but our Constitution requires us to follow certain rules and processes and subject
your actions to the voters and not just ram things through by entirely replacing bills with new content.
Mr. President, this isn't the first time this has happened. This is a theme and a governing principle of what is a
one-party state. We saw it with the emergency manager law. We saw it with the shameful Oakland County
redistricting law. We continue to see it with silly appropriations being stuffed into every bill to avoid the vote of the people. To cut off debate like you did on this bill and perhaps, worst of all, Senate Bill No. 865, which is an end run
around petitions that were turned in last week under the right of referendum.
I sat here watching as you tried to scramble to figure out how to get your way out of the legal morass that you
waded into. I saw your legal counsel, the Speaker's legal counsel, the Governor's legal counsel, and the Attorney
General's legal counsel all huddling in your back room for three reasons. One, how do we get away with trampling
on the Michigan Constitution? That is what they were working on. Two, how do you subvert the Senate Rules?
Three, how do you avoid a constitutional requirement that the House give immediate effect to your vote on the grad
student issue? Congratulations, you figured out how to do it, but it is unprecedented.
You have made a mockery of this institution. You have turned your back on the people, and at some point, people
will see exactly what you are doing. When Mike Cox last week weighed in on your Republican primary and said it
is like third-world voting, a banana republic where you change the rules just because you don't like the outcome. He
is right. It might be inconvenient for you to sit around here for a few hours, and it might be inconvenient for you to
let us speak, but by God, it is the rule of this state; it is the rule of law. Every time you trample on it, it might be
inconvenient to you personally, but you are taking away rights of people in this state.

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