|Please read the article below, then contact Gov. Snyder and legislative
leadership and tell them to keep pro-family protections in Michigan’s
higher education budget.
Gov. Rick Snyder: Rick.Snyder@michigan.gov
Senate Leader Randy Richardville: SenRichardville@senate.michigan.gov
House Speaker Jase Bolger: JaseBolger@house.mi.gov
Universities fighting social amendments
The state’s universities are hoping to see their budget come out of conference a bit lighter than it entered, at least in verbiage.
Michael Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, said the institutions are trying to have removed from the budgets language that penalizes those schools with domestic partner benefits for their employees. They also want struck language requiring reports on embryonic stem cell research and protecting religious rights of counseling students.
“It’s a historic cut at 15 percent,” Mr. Boulus said. “Then to couple it with extremely intrusive and questionably flawed social and religious beliefs … It’s a troublesome trend among many Republicans to micromanage universities.”
Mr. Boulus told Gongwer News on Friday that he was already working with legislative leadership to have the provisions removed from the final budget package, but he is also exploring other options.
“It’s not enforceable if we want to take it to court,” Mr. Boulus said of the boilerplate.
There was discussion overnight of seeking Governor Rick Snyder’s veto of the language. While Mr. Snyder has said he is still reviewing the language in the budgets, he has also said he does not approve of non-budgetary items in the budget bills.
But Mr. Boulus said he is being cautious about discussing the veto option both because he does not know where Mr. Snyder stands on the provisions and because he is not sure if vetoing the domestic partner benefits language would mean a cut to universities. The provision sets aside 5 percent of the funding for each university and gives that money to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System if the university has a health benefits plan that covers non-married domestic partners and their dependents.
Vetoing the provision could simply remove the instructions for how to spend that 5 percent or it could remove that 5 percent from the appropriation.