Gov. Rick Snyder signs bills to reduce drunken driving on watercraft, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles

Governor also signs 13 other bills, vetoes two bills

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation improving public safety by strengthening laws combating drunken driving while operating watercraft, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles.  

“It is vital to keep our waterways and other recreational areas safe for all Michiganders,” Snyder said. “This is common-sense legislation. We want people to operate all vehicles responsibly without harming themselves or others.”

House Bills 4441 and 4442, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Lori, and HBs 4443 and 4445, sponsored by state Reps. Dave Pagel and Andrew Kandrevas, respectively, make the blood alcohol limit 0.08 in Michigan while operating all watercraft, snowmobiles and off-road vehicles. The legislation reduces the limit from its current level of 0.10 to match the standards for people operating all other vehicles.

The bills are now Public Acts 402-405 of 2014.

The governor also signed 13 other bills:

HB 4833, sponsored by state Rep. Kurt Heise, increases deposits that are required when a candidate asks for an election recount. The deposits have not increased since the 1960s and fees do not come close to covering costs associated with a recount. The deposits would increase from $10 to $25 per precinct and require a $125 deposit per precinct if the number of votes separating a winning candidate and the petitioner, or the number of votes separating the votes for and against a proposal, were more than 50 or 0.5 percent of the votes cast, whichever was greater. The bill is now PA 406.

HB 5226, sponsored by state Rep. Ed McBroom, allows the Department of Natural Resources to issue shooting permits with guidelines in areas where bears are damaging crops. It is now PA 407.

HB 5397, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Haveman, creates the Municipal Utility Residential Clean Energy Program Act, allowing municipalities to assist homeowners in undertaking energy efficiency improvements that may be impractical without a source of low-cost financing. Energy savings could lower expenses for homeowners and utilities. The bill is now PA 408.

HB 5510, sponsored by state Rep. Ken Kurtz, allows an affidavit of parentage to be signed by a witness, not a notary public. Most affidavits are signed in hospitals, where it is not common to have a notary on staff. The bill is part of a package of bills Gov. Snyder signed on Dec. 17, aimed to streamline provisions related to child support and paternity in Michigan. It is now PA 409.

HBs 5839, 5840, 5841 and 5842, sponsored by state Reps. Klint Kesto, Pat Somerville, Jeff Farrington and Peter Petallia, respectively, give the state the option to permanently revoke and prohibit re-licensure of individuals who engage in a pattern of fraudulent acts for personal gain and harmed patients. The bills also ensure the same grounds for disciplinary action apply to licensed and registered health professionals. The bills are now PAs 410-413.

HB 6074, sponsored by state Rep. Al Pscholka, excludes college athletes from the definition of “public employees” entitled to collectively bargain. The bill would ensure that college athletes are students, first and foremost, and should not be treated as employees by their schools. It is now PA 414.

HB 6079, sponsored by state Rep. Nancy Jenkins, designates a date by which a person may conduct business as a Michigan investment market, similar to a stock exchange. Setting the date at May 1, 2015 gives the Corporations, Securities, and Commercial Licensing Bureau adequate time to prepare for the processing of applications for registration. It is now PA 415.

Senate Bill 791, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Green, eliminates a 2016 sunset on a 7/8 of a cent-per-gallon fee and requires revenue to be used to clean up leaking underground fuel tanks. The fee originally was set to expire in 1998 and has been extended several times, but revenue was diverted to other spending. This bill permanently dedicates $20 million to its original purpose, petroleum related cleanup work. It now is PA 416.

SB 910, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, prohibits the Department of Environmental Quality from promulgating air emission rules for wood stove manufacturers or enforcing new federal emission standards on wood heaters. The law is intended to address concerns about federal Environmental Protection Agency rules and regulations. The bill is now PA 417.

SB 1167, sponsored by state Sen. Dave Robertson, changes the requirements for serving as a petition circulator in Michigan. The bill clarifies that a petition circulator must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen by removing the previous requirement that a petition circulator be a registered voter in Michigan to bring the state in compliance with a recent court ruling. In addition, the bill makes changes to the language on the petition form, warning that it is a violation to sign or allow someone to sign a petition more than once. It is now PA 418.

Snyder also vetoed a pair of bills because companion legislation was not approved in both chambers.

Snyder vetoed HB 5091, sponsored by state Rep. Joel Johnson, which addresses brandishing a firearm. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that the bill was part of comprehensive legislative package addressing the application of firearms laws to pneumatic guns. Because not all parts of the package were enrolled at the end of the session, a veto is necessary to avoid a situation that would be confusing for both law enforcement and gun owners.

Snyder also vetoed SB 1056, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Nofs. In his veto letter, Snyder wrote that 1056 is “a good bill that would clear up some newly-discovered title defects for certain properties in Calhoun County. Unfortunately, a procedural defect in the bill would prevent it from taking effect even with my signature.”  The bill was linked to SB 52, which was not taken up in the state House.

For more information on this and other legislation, visit


Related Documents
House Bill 5091 Veto Letter PDF icon
Senate Bill 1056 Veto Letter PDF icon