Gov. Rick Snyder signs legislation compensating individuals who have been wrongfully imprisoned

Legislation follows governor’s call for reform in criminal justice special message 

Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – Individuals who have been wrongfully imprisoned for a crime will now receive compensation under legislation signed today by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Michigan’s criminal justice system does a tremendous job, however there is always more we can do to make it better, particularly for those who have been wrongfully imprisoned for a crime they didn’t commit,” Snyder said. “While we will never be able to fully repay those who have been wrongfully imprisoned, this legislation helps support these individuals as they transition back into civilian life.” 

In his 2015 special message on criminal justice, Gov. Snyder called on the Michigan legislature to help those proven innocent get back on their feet after a wrongful conviction.

Senate Bill 291 and House Bill 5815, sponsored by state Sen. Steven Bieda and state Rep. Stephanie Chang, create the “Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act”, which would create a fund to provide payments to individuals who have been wrongfully imprisoned. The compensation amount would be $50,000 for every year the individual was incarcerated in addition to reasonable attorney fees and expenses. HB 5815 gives the Michigan Department of Corrections the responsibility of providing basic reentry services to individuals who are released from prison as a result of having their convictions reversed, vacated or overturned. The measures are now Public Acts 343 and 344 of 2016. 

Snyder also signed fifteen additional bills:

House Bills 4637, 4639-4641 and Senate Bill 392, sponsored by state Reps. Tim Kelly, Brandt Iden, Tom Barrett and Phil Phelps, and state Sen. Rick Jones, respectively, establish regulations for limousines, taxicabs and a Transportation Network Company (TNC), such as Uber and Lyft, to operate in the state of Michigan. The bills require businesses to annually conduct criminal background checks and obtain driving records from employees and applicants. The bills also require all vehicles used by a limo,taxicab carrier or TNC driver be inspected annually by a licensed mechanic. Additionally, the bills outline a zero-tolerance policy for drivers who use drugs or alcohol while operating a vehicle and require drivers to notify passengers of their company’s non-discrimination policies. The measures are now Public Acts 345–349 of 2016.

HB 5024, sponsored by state Rep. Peter Lucido, establishes a commission charged with researching and recommending a threshold for THC levels that would lead to impaired driving. It is now Public Act 350 of 2016.

HB 5128, sponsored by state Rep. Bruce Rendon, allows retired state employees to contract with the Department of Natural Resources for wildfire suppression without losing retirement allowances, provided certain criteria are met. It is now Public Act 351 of 2016.

HB 5205, sponsored by state Rep. Ed McBroom, names a portion of highway US-2 as the "Kenneth J. Moraska Memorial Highway". The portion of highway on US-2 is within the city limits of Norway in Dickinson County. Patrolman Moraska was killed after responding to a domestic disturbance in 1971. It is now Public Act 352 of 2016.

HB 5215, sponsored by state Rep. Triston Cole, prohibits an individual from deliberately or maliciously removing a dog’s collar with the intention to remove evidence of the dog’s ownership. It is now Public Act 353 of 2016.

HB 5273, sponsored by state Rep. Dave Pagel, changes the parole process for individuals serving a parolable life sentence by removing the authority of a successor judge to veto parole consideration. The successor judge’s objection to parole consideration would be advisory, rather than binding. It is now Public Act 354 of 2016.

HB 5591, sponsored by state Rep. Triston Cole, allows the use of an electronic signature to amend, reaffirm, or repeal a restrictive covenant by the owner of land that is subject to the restrictive covenant. It is now Public Act 355 of 2016.

HB 5702, sponsored by state Rep. Jon Bumstead, modifies the authority of Department of Natural Resources to issue permits for the taking of animals for the purpose of disease control or prevention and to prevent or control damage caused by wildlife. It is now Public Act 356 of 2016. 

Senate Bills 332-333, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, reduce first time violations of the minor in possession law from a misdemeanor to a state civil infraction and limits driver license suspensions to second and third offenses. These bills do not impact the current prohibition against persons under 21 from having any bodily alcohol content. The measures are now Public Acts 357 and 358 of 2016.

SB 753, sponsored by state Sen. Peter MacGregor, seeks to enhance the emerging e-health service industry in Michigan by establishing new requirements for patient consultation and consent, along with a process for authorization of prescription drugs. It is now Public Act 359 of 2016. 

For more information on this and other legislation, visit www.legislature.mi.gov.


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