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Snyder signs bills updating 'MISS DIG'

Also signs six other bills

Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation creating the MISS DIG Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act.

Senate Bills 539 and 540, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Nofs, update a 40-year-old state law designed to prevent damage to Michigan’s valuable underground infrastructure.

“As more and more of our important infrastructure is placed underground, this needed legislation will better help Michiganders protect it and themselves from damage and danger,” Snyder said.

SB 540 establishes the act. It requires excavators to call MISS DIG before digging underground and requires underground facility owners and operators to mark underground facilities so they can avoid being damaged by excavators. The bill provides civil and criminal penalties for violation of the act, including a general civil enforcement process and a specific process for local governments, both to be administered by the Michigan Public Service Commission. The bill also requires the commission to implement provisions for reporting and tracking damages to underground facilities, and to make the data publicly available on its website. The bill is now Public Act 174 of 2013.

The companion SB 539 updates existing law relating to penalties and liability for damage to underground facilities by governmental agencies. It is now PA 173.

The new laws go into effect on April 1, 2014.

MISS DIG is a nonprofit, statewide one-call excavation safety and utility damage-prevention company that works to safeguard the public, environment, property, and utility infrastructures and promotes utility damage prevention.

The governor also signed six other bills today.

SBs 171 and 172, sponsored by state Sens. Phil Pavlov and Tom Casperson, respectively, toughen penalties for illegally killing a trophy buck in the state and increase fines and penalties against violators that trespass on private property. The bills are now PAs 175 and 176.

SB 390, sponsored by state Sen. John Moolenaar, allows people to operate an autocycle without a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license. Autocycles are enclosed, three-wheel motorcycles with traditional automobile-like interiors and controls. It is now PA 177.

House Bill 4585, sponsored by state Rep. Rob VerHeulen, authorizes architects, professional engineers, and surveyors to use an electronic seal that attest to their licensed status. It is now PA 178.

HB 4633, sponsored by state Rep. Wayne Schmidt, requires drivers to replace vehicle license plates that are more than 10 years old, and establishes a study on whether the state should switch from the current stamping method to digitally printed license plates. It is PA 179.

HB 4768, sponsored by state Rep. Hugh Crawford, revises the groundwater discharge permit discharge limits and cleanup standards for sodium and chloride. It is now PA 180.

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