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Volunteer dentistry legislation signed into law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Contact: Sara Wurfel
Office: 517-335-6397
Email: wurfels@michigan.gov 

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed four bills into law, including one that will protect retired dentists who volunteer their services from frivolous lawsuits. 

House Bill 4389, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Stamas, ensures retired dentists who want to help their community may do so without fear of being sued, as long as the dentist possesses a voluntary license issued by the Bureau of Health Professionals and services are offered for free.  Similar protections are already extended to retired physicians and podiatrists.

"Current law unfortunately discourages retired dentists from volunteering their services," Snyder said.  "This change means help for people who otherwise may not have access to dental care."

H.B. 4389 is now Public Act 55 of 2011.

The governor also signed two companion bills needed to implement legislation he signed on Friday that brings Michigan in line with federal law by giving patients in rural areas the option of completing their recovery in a hospital bed instead of a long-term care facility. 

H.B. 4442, sponsored by state Rep. Gail Haines, and H.B. 4443, sponsored by state Rep. Paul Muxlow, amend language in current law to replace references to the short-term nursing care program with references to extended care. 

The bills are now PAs 52 and 53 of 2011, respectively.

Finally, the governor signed H.B. 4152, sponsored by state Rep. Marty Knollenberg, which prevents members of a public collective bargaining agreement from receiving automatic wage or benefit increases after a contract expires if a new one has not been agreed to yet.  Under current law, public employees are allowed to receive automatic step increases after a contract expires if negotiating parties are at an impasse, which can encourage negotiators to delay reaching a new agreement.

The legislation also prevents increases in a new contract from being applied retroactively to the date the previous contract expired.  The bill is now P.A. 54 of 2011.

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