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Gov. Rick Snyder requests Michigan Supreme Court to issue advisory opinion on constitutionality of financial reimbursements to private schools

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Snyder today asked the Michigan Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of Section 152b of the school aid budget, which appropriates general fund dollars to reimburse certain state-mandated expenses incurred by private schools.

“The Michigan Supreme Court’s prompt resolution of important constitutional questions through advisory opinions greatly assists the people of Michigan…by providing the necessary constitutional certainty before moving forward with the implementation of the law,” Snyder said in his request letter to Chief Justice Young.

Under the law, up to $2,500,000 in general fund dollars may be used to reimburse private schools for costs associated with state-mandated requirements, including employee background checks, compliance with state building health and fire code requirements and immunizations.

In his letter to Chief Justice Young, Snyder requested that the Michigan Supreme Court evaluate whether the financial appropriation to private schools violates the Michigan Constitution, which prohibits certain types of aid to be distributed to non-public schools.

Under Article 3, Section 8 of the Michigan Constitution, the Governor may request that the Michigan Supreme Court issue an opinion on an important question of law. These requests must be issued in regards to concern on the constitutionality of legislation and must be made after the legislation has been signed into law but before the effective date.

Snyder requested the Court issue an opinion before October 1, 2016, which is the date the law would become effective.