Michigan Gov. Snyder signs package of bills: dark sky, promise zones, state police

Governor Snyder, shown here, signs a bill into law. (Courtesy Photo)
Gov. Rick Snyder signs legislation allowing for the creation of new Promise Zones for communities in need; Also signs building inspection, MSP grades, Dark Sky designation bills

LANSING, Mich. – Additional communities will have the opportunity to establish need-based scholarship programs for local students following designation as a Michigan Promise Zone under legislation signed today by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“This common-sense reform could provide Michigan students in financially distressed communities with the financial resources to pursue a college education,” Snyder said. “This public-private partnership model not only helps students and families, it ultimately makes our communities economically stronger by attracting residents to those areas.”


Senate Bills 539 and 540, sponsored by state Sens. Jim Ananich and Goeff Hansen, respectively, create a process to dissolve an existing Promise Zone, if necessary, while establishing a new zone in its place. The bills clarify that a dissolved zone would not count toward the limit of 10 zones allowed under existing law. The bill also creates additional reporting requirements for current zones, including the number of students receiving financial aid, and the graduation rates of students.

The bills are now Public Acts 9 and 10 of 2016.

Snyder signed an additional five bills:

House Bill 5023, sponsored by state Rep. Peter Pettalia, provides increased recreational and educational opportunities by expanding the Dark Sky Preserve program to three new locations in Alpena and Presque Isle counties. The program designates land to be protected for use by the scientific, education and tourism communities. Michigan’s already existing Dark Sky Park is located in Emmet County. It is now PA 11.

SB 328, sponsored by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, modernizes existing law by removing the title of policewoman from the Michigan State Police list of ranks and duties. It also creates the titles of recruit and inspector. It is now PA 12.

SB 303, sponsored by state Sen. Marty Knollenberg, updates funding opportunities that will support the long-term maintenance of locally owned cemeteries. The bill allows cemeteries to invest their long-term care funding into a mutual fund, ensuring they have the resources to continue operations once plot sales stop providing revenue. It is now PA 13.

 SB 394, sponsored by state Sen. David Robertson, simplifies Michigan’s housing law by removing redundant multi-unit building inspections. Under the bill, a local government will now only be required to perform a building inspection following the complaint of a resident. It also prevents a building owner from being charged inspection fees more than six months in advance of an inspection. It is now PA 14.

 SB 615, sponsored by state Sen. Wayne Schmidt, ensures that funds from a court-designated levy go toward paying a specific debt and are used only for the specified purpose.  Doing so will prevent a Downtown Development Authority or government entity from using a portion of the levied funds for unintended objectives. It is now PA 15.

 For more information on this and other legislation, please visit www.legislature.mi.gov.