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Snyder signs bills to protect religious gatherings from disruption

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed legislation to protect Michiganders' religious freedom from outside disruptions.

House Bill 5560, sponsored by state Rep. Deb Shaughnessy, creates misdemeanor penalties for those who disrupt a worship service. Violators will face up to 93 days' imprisonment, $1,000 in fines and 100 hours of community service. Repeat offenders can face 93 days' imprisonment, $5,000 in fines and 200 hours of community service.

"Religious liberty is one of the founding principles of this country and government is tasked with defending that right from those who try to disrupt a worship service," Snyder said.

The bill now is Public Act 202 of 2012.

The governor also signed 11 other bills to create better, more efficient government service for citizens.

Senate Bill 1034, sponsored by state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, allows individuals three opportunities to have their driver's license reinstated after being suspended for failure to pay a driver responsibility fee. The bill now is P.A. 203.

H.B. 4455, also sponsored by Shaughnessy, transfers the duties of the Assigned Claims Facility - which provides financial assistance to people injured in an uninsured motor vehicle accident - from the Secretary of State to the Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility. The bill now is P.A. 204.

H.B.s 4593-4596 create consistency in the use of credit scores in personal insurance. Insurance companies cannot use credit information to deny or cancel a personal insurance policy, but can create discount plans based on credit scores. The bills are sponsored by state Reps. Ben Glardon, Paul Opsommer, Shaughnessy and Lisa Howze, and now are P.As. 205-208.

H.B. 5131, sponsored by state Rep. Lesia Liss, provides better health care to seniors discharged from the hospital to nursing facilities by allowing physicians to include patients' medication needs in their chart as part of the discharge process. This ensures nursing facilities' pharmacies have proper medication and dosage instructions on hand, cutting back on hospital re-admissions. The bill now is P.A. 209.

H.B. 5441, sponsored by state Rep. Holly Hughes, provides greater financial protection to vulnerable adults. These adults' legal representatives must ask about cash and property readily converted to cash, as well as make recommendations about possible appropriate alternatives to a long-term legal guardian. The bill now is P.A. 210.

H.B. 5543, sponsored by state Rep. Al Pscholka, defines a blank or zero entry on a tax return as a legal filing, ensuring taxpayers will not be subject to unnecessary and difficult audits. In the past, leaving a line blank on a tax return constituted a "non-filing," leaving citizens open to audits reaching back 10 years. The bill now is P.A. 211.

H.B. 5611, sponsored by state Rep. Mark Ouimet, allows liquor sales inside the University of Michigan's Big House for the National Hockey League's 2013 Bridgestone Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. The bill now is P.A. 212.

H.B. 5660, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Stamas, exempts frozen alcoholic drink foil pouches from the 10-cent bottle deposit law. The bill now is P.A. 213.