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31 January 2013

* Michigan is no. 11 in this chart of 38 states that have “slashed” higher funding in recent years. “Cash-poor state legislatures have gone to town on their higher education budgets, and as they’ve hacked away, tuition has risen along with the sums undergraduates have had to borrow. In total, 38 states cut post-secondary funding since the recession, many by more than a fifth.” Michigan’s cut has been 21.5 percent.

* The University Research Corridor is, of course, built off of Michigan’s major research institutions of higher education — the higher education that’s been getting shorter shrift in state funding decisions of late. According to the URC, it “generated $15.5 billion in economic activity in fiscal year 2011, up 20 percent over 2006.”

* State Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, is featured on the home page of the National Conference of State Legislatures about prison reformThe full story details how a variety of states are trying to save money out of corrections, with varying rates of success.

* It is now public policy in Michigan for high school football practices and games to occur weeks before the sponsoring public school can legally start actual classes. What is going to become of this practice if more and more parents decide that football — as it is now played — constitutes too great a risk to their children’s future mental health?

* Michigan has some explicit language in its state constitution saying public pensions can’t be “diminished” or “impaired,” still … “The Florida Supreme Court this week ruled that public employees’ pension contracts can be adjusted, weighing in on an issue that many believe will make its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court… The decision hits on a point – whether pensions can be adjusted outside of the bargaining process – that is being tested now in other cases in the country. In Rhode Island, the unions are challenging pension reform passed in 2011 that, among other things, changed the contribution structure and increased the retirement age for current employees. Two bankruptcy cases in California (Stockton’s and San Bernardino’s) are testing whether pension agreements for retired workers can be adjusted.”

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