Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Regents approve resolution to oppose proposed legislation

The Board of Regents voted 6-2 Tuesday to oppose legislation that would exempt graduate student research assistants from being considered employees under the state's Public Employment Relations Act.

The motion, offered by Regent Laurence B. Deitch and seconded by Regent S. Martin Taylor, says, "The University of Michigan hereby states its opposition to the adoption of SB 971."

The bill was introduced in the state Senate last week by Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe. A hearing on the legislation was conducted later Tuesday in Lansing, after which the Government Operations Committee voted 3-2 to send the bill to the full Senate.

Regents voted during a conference call meeting at 8 a.m. Because of the time sensitivity of the matter, the meeting was called by President Mary Sue Coleman under provisions of Regents Bylaw 1.01, which allows for emergency action between board meetings "if and when any matter arises which, in the opinion of the president, or any three members of the board, requires official action by the board prior to the next meeting."

Here is the text of the resolution:

"The University of Michigan hereby states its opposition to the adoption of SB 971.

"Cynthia Wilbanks, Vice President for Government Relations, is to take all available action in opposition to the adoption of SB 971 into law and is to articulate the University of Michigan's opposition to SB 971 before the Legislature, and if necessary, before the Office of the Governor.

"The term 'all available action' is to include, but is not limited to, testimony, development of position papers and retention of lobbyists.

"The Vice President of Government Relations is to report on a regular and continuing basis to the Board through the Chair of the Board or her designee on the progress of the opposition to SB 971."