LANSING (AP) ? State lawmakers are set to tackle everything from replacing the state standardized test for high school juniors to setting higher fees for manufactured home owners in an effort to wrap up their two-year session this week.
The week will be a busy one for the House and Senate because both chambers plan to be done for the year on Thursday. Bills leftover after they adjourn have to be re-introduced next year when the 93rd Legislature begins its session.
It will be especially hectic in the House, where voting likely will be held up for hours as many of the 39 representatives who won?t be returning for the upcoming session will give their farewell remarks to their colleagues.
Thirty-seven House members are leaving because they have served the maximum six years allowed in the House under term limits. Two ? Democrat Jennifer Elkins of Lake and Matt Milosch of Lambertville ? lost their re-election bids this fall.
The House also has to make time to finish work on several key pieces of legislation before adjourning, including Senate-approved bills to replace the MEAP test with a version of a college entrance exam ? likely the ACT and an ACT work skills exam.
A House committee is scheduled to take up the five-bill package after the chamber?s afternoon session today, but leaders may decide to move those bills without a hearing because time is running out to get them back to the Senate for its agreement to House changes.
House Education Committee Chairman Brian Palmer (R-Romeo) has emphasized that lawmakers need to sign off on a comprehensive package of legislation that not only makes the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test more attractive to 11th graders, but improves the system of administering the test, scoring it and getting results back to students.
Last year, MEAP results were delayed by several months, with scores from tests taken in January and February not reaching schools until late August. Nearly 3,000 tests were lost.
?If we do one little piece and don?t look at the total, we may not be fixing the problem and we may be inadvertently causing some other problems,? Palmer said. ?We have to do it as a total.?