Mich. Supreme Court agrees to hear teacher PAC case

Chris Rizo May 12, 2009, 12:00am

Michigan Supreme Court building

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline)-The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over whether public school teachers can have political donations deducted directly from their paychecks.

The original case was brought by the Michigan Education Association, which has collective bargaining agreements with several school districts that require districts to administer a payroll deduction plan for contributions to the MEA's political action committee.

An Ingham County judge said the provisions did not violate state law, ruling that political payroll deductions are legal so as a political action committee or union pays for school districts' added expenses in advance.

But last year, an appeals court ruled that government resources cannot be used to make political contributions even if the school district is paid in advance for its added expense in processing the contributions for the Michigan Education Association members.

"We concede that the Legislature may have the authority to allow public bodies to engage in some limited form of partisan politics," the appeals court ruled. "However, until the Legislature explicitly makes such a pronouncement, courts should be reluctant to allow public bodies to engage in any form of politics."

The case is Michigan Education Association v. Secretary of State.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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