News & Events
MNA Legislative Update #10
Legislature Departs for Summer Break
The Michigan legislature will be on hiatus for the next two months following a week of frantic legislation pushing. While they will not be in session three days a week for the next several weeks, the hard work will remain for those of us negatively impacted by their latest actions. There is no better time to stay diligent, informed, and to remind your legislators that you are still here, watching and taking note of their every move.
80/20 Split and Hard Cap Pass the Legislature
The following update is a direct quote from Gongwer News Service’s June 30, 2011 report:
It will still take concurrence from the Senate, but the House on Thursday signed off on a change to public employee health care cost sharing that would provide the options of both a hard dollar cap and an 80/20 split. But the chamber failed to win the two-thirds support required on SJR-C, which would make those provisions apply to state civil service and public university employees.
Under SB 7, which passed 56-52, the hard cap would come first and would be maintained at the $15,000 level for family coverage, $12,500 for an individual with children, $11,000 for an individual with a spouse and $5,500 for an individual. Employees would have to pay any premiums above those levels. But if employers wanted to do the 80/20 cost sharing plan, where the employer would pay no more than 80 percent of their employees' health insurance costs, they could vote to opt out of the dollar cap and into the 80/20 plan. That would take a two-thirds vote of the local governing body. But in a community where the mayor is both the chief administrator and chief executive, that person would also have to approve the change.
Only municipal and county governments, not schools, could opt out of either plan without penalty as long as the two-thirds threshold is met. School districts that simply don't institute the cost-sharing measures would be docked 10 percent of their school aid payments. The requirements would begin in January 2012 or after a collective bargaining agreement in place prior to the law expires.
Claims Tax Passes the Senate
On Thursday, June 30th, the Michigan Senate passed the 1 percent health insurance claims tax. This will provide funding that will support allocated Medicaid spending across the state of Michigan. Most Democrats were hesitant to vote on the legislation, but at the last minute seven of them chose to vote in favor of it. The issue will now move to the House of the Representatives.
Right-To-Work Coalition Announces Plans for the Fall
A coalition of current and former union workers is pushing to have a Right-To-Work law enacted in the state of Michigan when the legislature returns in the fall. They announced on Thursday, June 30th, that a right-to-work law would not only help unions, but businesses, as well. HB 4054 has already been introduced and MI Freedom to Work supporters have said that turning Michigan into a Right-To-Work state would go far in helping the economy regain its footing. Take some time this summer to attend your legislators’ coffee hours and town hall meetings to let them know that you do NOT support Right-To-Work legislation and that they should not do so either. It will be important to slow down their process sooner rather than later and you can do so by playing a major role in shaping the political climate this summer.
Changes to and Passage of the Helmet Law in the Senate
On Tuesday, June 28th, the Senate passed a bill requiring motorcyclists 21 and older to purchase $100,000 in insurance if they choose not to wear a helmet. To the delight of many Michigan motorcyclists, the repeal of Michigan’s helmet law is welcome, but the addition of the insurance requirement will certainly impact the choice motorcyclists will have to make when they ride. The bill was also amended to have the repeal expire in four years and to require the Department of State to study any increases in head injuries as a result of the repeal. Our Congress on Public Policy voted not to support the helmet repeal because it removes a key safety requirement for the health and well-being of Michigan’s motorcyclists. In MNA’s view, public policies that allow for the creation of unsafe environments and that increase the number of citizens who enter Michigan’s emergency rooms with traumatic head injuries are bad public policies. Michigan nurses do not want to see an increased number of patients entering the hospitals or ERs with injuries or conditions that could have been prevented with a simple safety measure.
Staying informed is critical, as well as getting involved at the local level. Get yourself out there, call or write your legislators, let us help you set up in district meetings with them, and take some time to go to their monthly coffee hours. It is imperative that we all get involved and stay involved with this process.