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Michigan bill would ban taxpayer-funded union release time

Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan.  (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

LANSING – Legislation set to advance in Michigan would prohibit school districts and other public employers from providing paid release time for employees to conduct union business.

The bill is up for a vote in the Senate on Tuesday, when the Republican-led Legislature’s postelection session will begin to ramp up. A House committee will consider similar bills later in the week, a signal that they could gain traction.

The prohibition against allowing publicly funded paid release time would not apply to labor contracts for police, firefighters, corrections officers and transit employees.

Supporters of the legislation say it would save taxpayers money. Opponents say such arrangements are collectively bargained for, and are a productive and cost-effective way to resolve labor grievances and other issues.