On Tuesday, on a 4-1 straight party-line vote, the Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee reported out SB 600-603, legislation that would prohibit K-12 schools and local health departments from requiring a vaccine unless that vaccine has full approval by the FDA, require schools to provide opt-out provisions for any mask mandates, and prohibit schools from requiring regular disease testing for students that are asymptomatic. The testimony the committee took before the vote came almost exclusively from parents who told the panel that current practices were infringing on their rights, though several medical and education groups registered their opposition to the legislation. On Wednesday, the state's chief budget negotiators – Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell), the House Appropriations Committee chair; Budget Director Dave Massaron; and Sen. Jim Stamas (R-Midland), the Senate Appropriations Committee chair – announced in a joint statement that an agreement has been reached on the 2021-22 fiscal year general fund budget. No details were released, but the announcement said the Legislature will move forward with an omnibus budget covering funding for all state departments and agencies and that conference committees and floor votes will take place in the upcoming week...the K-12 budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year was completed in late June, but the budget for departments and agencies, higher education and community colleges remains incomplete which could lead to a partial shutdown of the government if a budget is not in place by October 1. Finally, Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) introduced SB 644 this week, which allows for an eligible pupil to be counted in attendance if participating in virtual learning if the pupil is required to quarantine pursuant to an order issued by a local health department...the bill still needs work to truly address the pupil accounting and attendance challenges that schools are facing this school year, but this is the best progress we've seen on this subject and we hope this will translate into much needed relief for schools.