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States brief ~ MI appeals court rules parochial school teachers can't join union

[JURIST] Leading Wednesday's states brief, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled today that faculty at a parochial school cannot join the Michigan Education Association, the state's largest teacher's union, because the legislature did not intend to grant the Michigan Employment Relations Commission [official website] jurisdiction over teachers at parochial schools. In 2003, after cuts in teacher's compensation, approximately 30 teachers at a suburban Detroit parochial school asked for a vote on whether or not to join the Michigan Education Association [union website], and the Association granted them a 2004 election. The MEA has not decided whether it will appeal. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The Montana Supreme Court ruled [PDF opinion] today that a 2001 state law allowing the Public Employees' Retirement Board [association website] to make benefit changes is constitutional. The ruling overturned a lower court decision last year which found the law [text] unconstitutional because it gave the board legislative authority without sufficient standards, guidelines or limits. The board changes at issue affected only retirees who opted to share their pension with a beneficiary after they died. AP has more.

  • The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District has upheld [opinion] a lower court's decision to grant class-action status to a lawsuit filed by "light" cigarette smokers against Philip Morris USA, a unit of Altria Group [corporate website]. The court also upheld the decision to limit class eligibility to Missouri residents who purchased and smoked Marlboro Lights cigarettes during an eight-year period. Philip Morris [company website] will appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court, and associate general counsel William Ohlemeyer said, "For a variety of reasons, the company believes the law doesn't allow cases like this to be treated as a class action." Philip Morris has argued in the past that there are too many individual issues among smokers to lump them together in a class action lawsuit. AP has more.

  • Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has signed legislation [Governor's press release] that will require prescriptions in order to obtain decongestants containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamine. The law [text] requires such products to be treated as a Schedule III drug, meaning doctors can prescribe the product over the phone and consumers could get up to five refills in a six-month period. Last year, Oregon became the second state in the nation to require that many pseudoephedrine products be kept behind the counter. The law is to become effective on July 1, 2006. The Oregonian has local coverage.

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