Your help is needed on Senate budget amendments

The MTA is asking members to urge their state senators to support amendments to the Senate’s fiscal 2017 budget on District-Determined Measures and municipal retiree health insurance premiums, and to oppose amendments that seek to punish or blame public employee union members based on recent news stories related to deferred compensation given to non-unit employees of the Commonwealth.

The Senate budget is being debated this week. Click here to send your message NOW.

Action Alert Urge your senator to eliminate DDMs.
Take action on other key issues.

District-Determined Measures
EDU196 – District-Determined Measures
, filed by Senator Michael Rush (D-West Roxbury). With growth in education funding consistently constrained, DDMs mandated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are an unnecessary diversion of critical time and resources away from students. This amendment eliminates the impact rating mandate on educator evaluations, which is no longer required under federal law, while keeping indicators of student learning as a source of evidence in the educator development and evaluation process. This would enable administrators and educators who value the common assessments they have created to continue their work while relieving them of the unproductive obligation to create new assessments and complex scoring and educator-evaluation metrics that they do not believe improve teaching and learning. This amendment requires no appropriation.

Municipal Retiree Health Insurance Premiums
LOC91 – Relative to Municipal Retiree Fairness
, filed by Senators Thomas McGee (D-Lynn), Kenneth Donnelly (D-Arlington) and Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover). For the past five years, retired teachers and municipal workers in communities that opted to join the Group Insurance Commission or instituted plan design changes have been protected from health insurance premium split increases. This is the same protection (a freeze on the premium percentage split based on date of retirement) that state employees have had since 1994. The moratorium ensures that retired teachers and municipal retirees are treated fairly and are not subjected to simultaneous increases in out-of-pocket costs (co-payments and deductibles) and in premium contribution percentages.

Higher Education
The MTA is opposed to legislative efforts that seek to punish or blame public employee union members (or give outside groups the basis for doing so) based on recent news stories related to the deferred compensation given to non-unit employees of the Commonwealth, as proposed in EDU124, Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton); EDU173, Senator Ryan Fattman, (D-Webster); EDU169, Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester); and EDU134, Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury). As written, these amendments ignore national market forces and policies that affect higher education costs, focusing instead on more mundane human resources issues. Moreover, these amendments do not accurately reflect the higher education stakeholders who work on our campuses throughout the Commonwealth.