Mar 30, 2011

Nurses and public education supporters converge on Lansing today

LANSING – Things are quiet here in the Capitol city in the first week of a two week spring break where the House and Senate are not in session, but there are at least two protests and demonstrations set for today, as well as a couple of stealth-like committee meetings.

The Michigan Nurses Association is town today, Wednesday March 30, for a conference at the Lansing Center, and at 1 p.m. they will march from the Lansing Center to the Capitol for a rally on the Capitol steps in a show of support for safe patient care and against the Governor’s proposed budget cuts that balances the budget on the backs of the working poor and middle class.

A group is also holding an education rally for today at the last minute because the House K-12 Appropriations sub-committee called a last minute committee meeting for 2 p.m. today, just meeting the time requirement for the Open Meetings Act, to take testimony on the School Aid budget.

Snyder’s budget will ensure many school districts will fall into financial martial law and require an all-powerful emergency financial manger by cutting more than $700 per pupil and raids the School Aid Fund for K-12 to cover the Higher Education budget.

The meeting is being held in room 352 of the Capitol, and not only are committee meetings open to the public, but you have a right to speak. To make sure your voice is heard, arrive early because testimony is on a first come first serve basis. Make sure you fill out a committee card located right outside the committee room to let them know you would like to testify and make sure the committee clerk gets it. A written copy of your testimony is preferred, but not required, in addition to your public comments, and the standard is to bring 15 copies of your testimony so that every member of the committee, chaired by Rep. Bill Rogers, R-Brighton, gets a copy.

The Senate so-called Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee is also meeting at 8:30 a.m. this morning to consider a couple of anti-collective bargaining measures. They will be taking up Senate Bill 7 that would create the "Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act" to require that all public employees pay at least 20 percent of the premium costs of health insurance plans, regardless of what was agreed to in collective bargaining.

The committee is also taking up Senate Concurrent Resolution C that would amend the State Constitution to require all state employees, local government employees and employees of public universities to pay at least 20 percent of their health care premium.

The committee meets in rooms 402 and 403 of the Capitol.

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