Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Governor says universities exempt from partner benefit ban

Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday signed legislation that prevents some public employers from offering medical benefits to the domestic partners of public employees, but not before saying that university employees are exempt.

“I am gratified that the Legislature removed the definition of public employers from the bill, which included institutions of higher education,” Snyder wrote in a letter to the state House.

U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said that while U-M had strongly urged a veto of HB 4770, “we emphatically agree with the governor’s analysis that the provisions of the law do not apply to state university employees.”

Snyder cited the constitutional autonomy of state universities as the reason they would not be covered by provisions in the new law. Also excluded were state employees under civil service.

“This means,” the governor concludes in his letter, “that the provisions of Enrolled House Bill 4770 do not extend to university employees.”

Fitzgerald said the university continues to believe that all of the benefit offerings at U-M are in full compliance with state law.