Sub page banner

Busy Year in the Legislature Leads to Many New Laws for Schools

Aug 9, 2023, 08:47 AM by Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations and Brenda Pilgrim, MASB Assistant Director of Government Relations

The first half of the year saw an incredibly busy legislative session.  The House and Senate passed a large number of bills, many of which affect education in Michigan. The legislation has focused on civil rights, the environment, labor laws and credentialing/certification and impacts board members, teachers, administrators, and most importantly students.  

We have compiled a list of bills that have been signed into law so far this year that will affect your districts. As always, please reach out to us with any questions. 

Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act Senate Bill 4, Public Act 6 of 2023 

The Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations and public services, educational facilities, and housing and real estate based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.  

SB 4 expanded the ELCRA to now include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. MASB supported the bill which will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for the year (Sine Die).   

Read by Grade Three Senate Bill 12, Public Act 7 of 2023 

SB 12 repeals the mandatory retention sections of the third-grade reading law. If a child is not reading at grade level as they move into fourth grade, the reading intervention program for that child will continue. However, the retention provision will still be in place for this school year.   

MASB supported this bill which will become effective 90 days after sine die.  

Sinking Funds for School Buses  Senate Bill 63, Public Act 26 of 2023 

SB 63 expands the uses of sinking funds to include the acquisition of student transportation vehicles, and the parts, supplies and equipment used to maintain those vehicles. MASB supported the bill which went into effect on August 6, 2023.   

Sexual Assault Information Bill  Senate Bill 66, Public Act 57 of 2023 

This bill requires materials related to sexual assault and harassment to be provided to students in grades 6 through 12 beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. The Michigan Department of Education will develop the materials for schools to distribute. Districts are also encouraged to provide all school personnel with training on how to respond to students who have experienced sexual assault or harassment. Personnel training will take place at a minimum of every 5 years.  MASB supported the bill.   

License Reciprocity for Teachers and Counselors Senate Bills 161 and 162, Public Acts 110 and 111 of 2023                      

These bills allow for reciprocity of a person’s teacher or counselor certification from another state, country or federally recognized Indian tribe under most circumstances.  MASB supported both bills which went into effect on July 27, 2023.  

Merit Pay for DPSCD  Senate Bill 359, Public Act 112 of 2023 

This bill repealed the ban against using length of service or achievement of an advanced degree as a factor in compensation for teachers hired after Sept. 1, 2019, in the Detroit Public Schools Community District. This restriction did not apply to any other district in Michigan. MASB supported the bill which went into effect on July 27, 2023.  

Income Tax Changes  House Bill 4001, Public Act 4 of 2023 

HB 4001 (CR-1) amended the Michigan Income Tax by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit to 30% and phasing out the tax on retirement income. The bill also increased the percentage of income tax revenues that are earmarked for the School Aid Fund in order to protect it from revenue cuts.  

The bill will go into effect 90 days after sine die. 

Right-to-Work (Public Sector) House Bill 4004, Public Act 9 of 2023 

The Legislature repealed Right-to-Work laws for both the public and private sectors. However, due to the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v AFSCME , public employers are not allowed to require union membership as a part of employment. Therefore, the repeal in Michigan law will not take effect unless the Supreme Court ruling is overturned. 

Prevailing Wage  House Bill 4007, Public Act 10 of 2023 

HB 4007 reinstates prevailing wage for projects that are funded with any amount of state funds, including school district projects. An amendment was added that states school projects funded with revenue from millages authorized before the effective date of the act would not be subject to Prevailing Wage.  

The bill will become effective 90 days after sine die.   

Public Employee Relations Act (PERA), House Bills 4044, 4354 and 4820, Public Acts 113 and 115-116 of 2023 

A series of bills were signed into law reinstating collective bargaining issues that were previously prohibited, among other labor-related issues.  MASB opposed all of the bills, which will go into effect 90 days after sine die.  

HB 4044 amends the Public Employment Relations Act which states that upon the expiration of a contract, step increases, and healthcare contribution amounts are frozen until a new contract is in place. It also repeals the ban on retroactively applying wage increases unless required by an arbitration panel or included in a negotiated bargaining agreement.  

HB 4354 repealed a series of prohibited subjects of bargaining under the Public Employment Relations Act. The following issues will now be bargainable under the new law: teacher placement, layoff and recall, teacher evaluation, employee discharge or discipline, classroom observations, merit pay, and how to notify parents about ineffective teachers.   

The removal of these items from the prohibited subjects list now makes each a mandatory subject of bargaining when working on a collective bargaining agreement.   

HB 4820 amends the Revised School Code to remove many of the factors that must be considered before laying off a teacher. It also adds teacher placement to the section and states that seniority must not be the major factor in determining placement or layoffs. 

Training for Mandatory Reporters House Bill 4120, Public Act 46 of 2023 

HB 4120 amends the Child Protection Law to require the creation of comprehensive training materials for individuals required to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Districts would have to distribute these materials to anyone who qualifies as a mandatory reporter. This bill goes into effect on September 27, 2023.   

Changing Student Discipline House Bill 4125, Public Act 51 of 2023 

HB 4125 establishes that a student cannot be suspended or expelled for more than ten days for an action arising from an incident in which the student claims they were sexually assaulted unless the district considers the factors currently required for suspensions and expulsions longer than 10 days. This bill goes into effect on September 27, 2023.   

Repeal A-F Ranking System House Bill 4166, Public Act 34 of 2023 

This bill repeals the current requirement that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) assign letter grades and rankings to public schools known as the A-F rating system for schools.   

MASB supported the bill, and it will go into effect 90 days after sine die.   

Paycheck Deduction of Union Dues House Bill 4233, Public Act 114 of 2023 

HB 4233 allows school districts to automatically deduct union dues from employees' paychecks, at the employee’s request.  This reverses a law passed in 2012 that prohibited schools from deducting union dues from employee paychecks but not any other public employer. MASB supported this bill which will become effective 90 days after sine die.