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Gov. Snyder weighs in on legislation aimed at punishing universities

University of Michigan near Rackham and Michigan League
Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
Students walk on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus (file photo)

Yesterday, Republicans on a Michigan House Appropriations subcommittee voted to punish universities they believe are trying to avoid the state's new right-to-work law.

The state's new right-to-work law goes into effect on March 28. It outlaws contract agreements with unions that require dues or fees as a condition of employment.

But some public schools and universities are working out new contracts ahead of the deadline.

Wayne State University and the University of Michigan recently struck contracts with their unions causing some legislators to cry foul.

The subcommittee voted to strip public universities of 15 percent of their funding if recently passed contracts or contract extensions did not achieve at least a 10 percent savings.

At this point, it's just a subcommittee vote. To go into effect, the bill would have to pass both the state House and Senate and then be signed by Governor Rick Snyder.

MLive's Jonathan Oosting wrote about Gov. Snyder's thoughts on the bill:

"It's early in the legislative process," Snyder said Tuesday evening when asked about a proposed higher education budget bill that could cost his alma mater, the University of Michigan, millions in state funding next fiscal year. "What I would say is, if people are coming in and bargaining in good faith and showing real benefits, I don't believe people should be penalized. Now, the real issue would be if somebody were doing that with no substance to simply extend the date, then I could see legislators having a concern. So it's just something to watch in the legislative process."

If it's passed, the universities stand to lose a lot of money:

The University of Michigan...could reportedly lose up to $41.1 million in state funding... [and Wayne State University] could lose up to $27.5 million of a possible $184 million in state funding next year under the proposed budget bill.

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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