Johnson signs bills providing better voter protection
January 07, 2013
LANSING, Mich. - Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today signed legislation to bring the state's seven metropolitan districts under Michigan Election Law. Johnson is serving as governor until later today while both Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley are out of the state, as provided for in Article V Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution.
Metropolitan districts are combinations of two or more local units of government that operate parks and public utilities. Many have elected boards, but these elections are not covered in Michigan Election Law. House Bills 4121 and 4122, sponsored by former state Rep. Richard Hammel, remedy this oversight.
Recently, this was an issue when voters submitted a petition to recall officials of the Beecher Metropolitan Water and Sewer District in Genesee County following allegations of inappropriate use of funds, but were denied because the board was not included in Michigan Election Law.
"This is about allowing every voter to be a part of the democratic process, to have a voice, a say, regarding the decisions or behavior of those who govern," Johnson said. "Government officials must be held accountable to the people they serve. The Beecher area learned firsthand the importance of including metropolitan districts in the law, and I am pleased we can better protect voters going forward."
The bills now are Public Acts 586 and 587 of 2012.
Johnson also signed four other bills.
Senate Bill 1091, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Kowall, creates a way for mobile home owners to secure a duplicate title. The bill now is PA 588.
SB 1121, sponsored by state Sen. Bruce Caswell, better defines "implement of husbandry" to reflect agricultural vehicles. This eliminates confusion among law enforcement and creates more consistent enforcement. The bill now is PA 589.
SB 1240, sponsored by state Sen. David Hildenbrand, extends the immunity given to Department of Human Services employees providing child welfare services to private agencies under contract with DHS providing the same services. This immunity does not apply if the personal injury or property damage is caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct. The bill now is PA 590.
SB 1321, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, requires private security guards to report crimes to police. The bill now is PA 591.
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.