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Sweeping arson reforms signed to stiffen penalties against the crime; Lt. Gov. Calley signs 49 other bills into law

Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013


LANSING, Mich. ? Lt. Gov. Brian Calley has signed legislation to stiffen penalties against the crime of arson and revise sentencing guidelines, creating an improved structure for dealing with arson crimes.  In 2011, there were 10,552 arson and suspicious fires in Michigan, accounting for one out of every three fires in Michigan. The loss of life and property caused from arson crimes require aggressive action.


"Arson cases are too often treated as nonviolent offenses, with sentencing that is not hard enough for such a serious offense," said Calley.  "This legislation restructures the way we deal with these crimes and provides for more appropriate penalties."  

House Bills 5692 - 5695, sponsored by state Reps. John Walsh, Kevin Cotter, Joseph Graves, and Stacey Erwin Oakes, revise provisions relating to the crime of arson by increasing penalties and sentencing guidelines.  They are now Public Acts 531 - 534.


The lieutenant governor also signed 49 other bills.


Senate Bills 21 and 802, sponsored by state Sens. Tonya Schuitmaker and Patrick Colbeck, amend the Management and Budget Act to require each state department to have a strategic mission, vision, goals and balanced scorecard.  They require each state agency to classify each line item in the enacted budget into one of the following spending categories:  core services, support services or work projects.  They also require that agencies prepare a spending plan for each line item in their budget, due 60 days after the budget is enacted.  They are now PAs 535 and 536.


SB 56, sponsored by state Sen. John Gleason, designates a section of M-21 between I-75 and I-475 as the "Mark V. Ingram II Freeway." Ingram is a Flint native and former running back for the University of Alabama, where he won the 2009 Heisman Trophy.  It is now PA 537.


SBs 231 and 380, sponsored by Schuitmaker, make it a misdemeanor to fail to report the discovery of a corpse to the authorities, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.  The bill also makes it a felony to fail to report the discovery of a corpse if the intention is to hide the death or the cause of death, punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.  They are now PAs 538 and 539.


HB 4555, sponsored by state Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton, and SB 246, sponsored by Schuitmaker, create a uniform system for evaluating the competency of a juvenile to stand for adjudication of a crime, eliminating inequities created by multiple methods of dealing with juvenile competency.  They are now PAs 540 and 541.


SB 321, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, excludes the medical use of marijuana from allowable expenses covered by personal injury protection benefits under an automobile insurance policy.  It is now PA 542.


SB 353, sponsored by state Sen. Dave Robertson, prohibits a person who is under the influence of any intoxicating substance from operating a vehicle.  Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and operating a vehicle while impaired due to the consumption of alcohol or a controlled substance are already prohibited.  This legislation now prohibits being under the influence or impaired by any intoxicating substance.  It is now PA 543.


SB 467, sponsored by Jones, creates consumer protections in the marketing and sale of annuities. It requires insurers to apply suitability standards before providing recommendations and take a one-time training course to ensure thorough knowledge of annuities. The bill now is PA 544.


SB 539, sponsored by Schuitmaker, establishes a legal mechanism for the appointment of out-of-state guardians for minors and legally incapacitated adults. The bill now is PA 545.


SB 577, sponsored by state Sen. Joe Hune, revises the Unarmed Combat Commission. It raises the maximum amount of the bond a promoter must file with the state, decreases the mixed martial arts promoter fee, and exempts promoters who pay a $25,000 regulatory and enforcement fee from having to submit their gross receipts. It also eliminates the requirement that a portion of the purse be withheld until post-contest drug results have been submitted, changes who is able to request a drug test, exempts certain types of information from being disclosed through a Freedom of Information Act request and clarifies information required on a promoter's application for licensure.  It is now PA 546.


SBs 630 - 633, sponsored by Jones, Schuitmaker, and state Sens. Steven Bieda and Virgil Smith, amend separate statutes that offer diversion programs and dismissal from criminal charges for certain violations to specify that, unless the court entered an adjudication of guilt, all proceedings regarding the disposition of the criminal charge would be closed to public inspection but open to Michigan courts, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Human Services, law enforcement personnel, and prosecuting attorneys for use only in the performance of their duties.  They are now PAs 547 - 550.

SB 811, sponsored by state Sen. Goeff Hansen, clarifies the General Law Village Act to reflect the elimination of village elections held in September. It is now PA 551.


SB 859, sponsored by state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, makes extended warranty and service plans available to cover portable electronic devices regulated by insurance policies. It is now PA 552.


SB 895, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Green, exempts educational trusts and savings accounts from being seized or garnisheed from debt payments ordered in court judgments.  It is now PA 553.


SBs 939-942, sponsored by state Sen. Arlan Meekhof, encourage environmental stewardship for small businesses by adjusting the qualifications to allow them to join the Clean Corporate Citizen Program. The C3 Program is a voluntary program for businesses that go beyond legal requirements to operate facility-specific environmental management systems and operating pollution prevention initiatives. They are now PAs 554 - 557.


SB 1043, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Nofs, revises the schedule of fees for process or papers served out of a court by authorized persons.  It is now PA 558.


SBs 1155 - 1158, sponsored by state Sens. Michael Kowall, John Proos, Phillip Pavlov and Hildenbrand, coincide with recently enacted PA 511 to modify grant and loan programs under the Strategic Water Quality Initiatives Fund.  The bills help deliver critical pieces related the Gov. Snyder's Special Message on Infrastructure, ensuring investment in water and sewer systems to improve and protect Michigan's water quality.  They are now PAs 559 - 562.


SB 1206, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, allows qualifying sewage treatment residue to be sold or given away for landscaping purposes if the generator of the material is compliant with state environmental regulations. It is now PA 563.


SB 1211, sponsored by Green, expands the William Van Regenmorter Crime Victim's Rights Act to increase what information must be provided to registered crime victims and also requires prosecuting attorneys and registered crime victims to be notified within 24 hours when a person who was detained, under sentence, hospitalized or admitted to a facility has escaped custody.  It is now PA 564.


SB 1232, sponsored by state Sen. Judy Emmons, provides consistency of child welfare proceedings involving Native American children with federal law. It is now PA 565.


SBs 1317-1320, sponsored by Kowall, rearrange some laws governing nonprofit and for-profit businesses to synchronize provisions and eliminate duplicative language. Specifically, the bills move the Professional Services Corporations Act into the Business Corporation Act and amends references to these in other statutes. They are now PAs 566 - 569.


SBs 1322-1324, sponsored by Hune, update references in statute to reflect the changes made by PA 204 of 2012, which transferred authority for assigned claims and self-insurance from the Vehicle Code to the Insurance Code.  They are now PAs 570 - 572.


SB 1337, sponsored by state Sen. Mark Jansen, provides a sales tax exemption for nonprofit charitable organizations selling fundraising items totaling up to $5,000. It is now PA 573.


SBs 1261-1265, sponsored by state Hansen, Casperson, Pavlov and Rebekah Warren, modernize the Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps to broaden the scope of work and encourage increased participation. This provides more opportunities for unemployed individuals as well as creating greater care for Michigan's natural resources. The bill also requires the Department of Natural Resources to reach out to the state's universities to encourage college graduates to stay in Michigan to work in the new MCCC. They are now PAs 574 - 578.


SB 1267, sponsored by state Sen. Bruce Caswell, amends the Michigan Employment Security Act to remove the sunset for approval of shared-word plans and ensures current shared-work programs conform to federal law.  It is now PA 579.


SBs 1291 and 1292, sponsored by Hildenbrand, create the Security Alarm Systems Act to require providers of internet protocol-enabled premises security, monitoring and control systems to be registered with the state. It exempts providers already registered under existing law. They are now PAs 580 and 581. 


SB 1296, sponsored by Schuitmaker, requires any malpractice lawsuit against a lawyer, law firm or entity providing legal services to be filed within six years of the alleged fault.  It is now PA 582.


SB 1313, sponsored by Hansen, prohibits defendants on trial for criminal child pornography from viewing pictorial evidence. Defense attorneys would still be able to review evidence.  It is now PA 583.


Article V, Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution gives authority to the lieutenant governor when the governor is outside the state.


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