GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The state of Michigan expects to continue to collect 3% of school employees' pay to be used for retirement health care costs despite a judge's ruling that the law mandating the pratice is unconstitutional, a budget spokesman told 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday.
The Department of Technology, Management and Budget spokesman said there hasn't yet been an order in the case. Once that happens, spokesman Kurt Weiss said the state could ask for a stay to prevent the order from taking effect.
Ingham County Circuit Judge James Giddings ruled the law is unconstitutional because it forces workers to pay into a system from which they're not guaranteed to benefit, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Weiss said the department would likely take the same course of action it did after another Ingham County judge ruled unconstitutional a similar law affecting state employees.
In that case, the state appealed the judge's ruling. And the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the state could continue to collect the money -- though it must be kept in a separate account -- until the appellate court makes its decision.
In his ruling in this case, Giddings wrote: "What is beyond speculation is the undisputed fact that the Legislature has the unfettered power to change or eliminate all benefits."
David Hecker, president of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, told the AP that "you cannot have current employees pay for a benefit that current retirees receive - when those current employees are not guaranteed receiving the same benefits."
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has condemned GOP National Committeeman Dave Agema's statement that gay people are seeking health insurance for same-sex partners because they are dying of AIDS and want free medical care.
The Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature has passed a law banning almost all abortion coverage from health insurance plans unless an additional policy is bought.
Thermotron Industries, a business that's been located in Holland for more than 40 years, was raided by the FBI Wednesday morning.