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Snyder signs bill to ban college athletes from a union


Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that forbids athletes at public universities in Michigan from organizing a union. It was one of 17 bills signed today by the governor.

The university athlete bill is an effort to preempt what happened at Northwestern University in Illinois, where football players at the private college voted last spring to form a union. There was no known similar effort at a Michigan university.

The new law does not affect private colleges, but the Northwestern vote and the capacity for college players to form a union is still awaiting a National Labor Relations Board decision. That ruling will cover private colleges.  

The governor also signed legislation to reduce the allowable blood alcohol level for people operating watercraft and snowmobiles to .08 percent. That’s already the illegal blood alcohol level for people driving cars and trucks.

“It is vital to keep our waterways and other recreational areas safe for all Michiganders,” Snyder said in a written statement. “This is common-sense legislation. We want people to operate all vehicles responsibly without harming themselves or others.”

The governor also vetoed two bills. One was part of a package of bills that would have relaxed the rules regarding air guns. The governor earlier vetoed other bills in the same group because he said the work on them was incomplete.

He also vetoed a Calhoun County land transfer because of a technicality that would have stopped the bill from taking effect regardless of his signature.

The governor is working his way through roughly 200 bills that were sent to him by the Legislature in its wrapped its “lame duck” session.

The Legislature formally ended its 2013-2014 session at noon Tuesday. The 98th session of the Michigan Legislature will begin on Jan. 14.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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