State Superintendent Brian Whiston passed away Monday after a battle with cancer, a loss that MASSP and many others in the education community are mourning and one that could have significant implications in terms of state education policy, as the ink is still wet on many of the reforms implemented under his leadership. The House Law and Justice Committee continued it's two-meeting-per-week schedule on Tuesday and Wednesday, taking up the Senate's version of legislation introduced in response to the Nassar sexual abuse case.
In the last few months, both the House and Senate have been working on legislation dealing with sexual assault and sexual abuse. Some of these bills are a direct response to the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case while others are ideas that have been around a while, but are just now receiving consideration in light of recent events. Regardless of their origin, bills in both the Senate and House bill packages have implications for K-12 education and some would have direct impacts at the building level.
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Nicole Carter, Principal, Novi High School
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The House Law and Justice Committee spent Tuesday and Wednesday finishing initial testimony on that chamber's proposed legislation introduced in response to the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case. Next week that committee will begin the process of reconciling their proposal with the legislation that already passed the Senate…the committee's timeline for reporting out a reconciled package currently has them reporting out legislation before the end of May.
School safety is a hot topic in Lansing right now. Both the House and Senate have now taken action on legislation designed to improve school safety in Michigan. Previously, a coalition of law enforcement and school groups rolled out the Safer Schools. Safer Students. proposal. The Senate Democrats have their own plan. And there are standalone bills in both chambers that aren't part of any particular plan.
It seems likely that something is going to happen relative to school safety. It even seems likely that whatever happens will involve additional financial support for schools. But the issues of how much and what strings come attached to the money are yet to be determined.
The House Law and Justice Committee took a second week of testimony on legislation introduced in response to the Nassar sexual abuse case which includes a handful of bills that would directly impact K-12 education: strengthening mandatory reporter requirements, expanding the scope of the State's OK2SAY hotline and embedding sexual assault and harassment education into the state's sex education laws. The committee has been holding two hearings per week in order to accommodate all of the testimony and is expected to report the legislation this coming week…MASSP has been working with bill sponsors and committee members to address outstanding issues with the legislation and we expect to have our concerns addressed prior to the committee voting out the bills.