Michigan Gov. Snyder signs law requiring defendants be present when victim impact statement is read

Also signs 11 additional measures

Victims and their families will now be guaranteed the right to confront their offenders in court, unless determined otherwise by a judge, under legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“I hope this legislation will help victims and their families through the healing process as they continue moving forward with their lives,” Snyder said.

House Bill 5407, sponsored by state Rep. Holly Hughes, amends the Crime Victim’s Rights Act to require a criminal defendant, or juvenile offender, to be physically present in the courtroom when a victim impact statement is made unless the court determines that the defendant is behaving in a disruptive manner or presents a threat to the safety of any individuals present in the courtroom.The bill is now Public Act 153 of 2018.

Snyder also signed 11 additional measures:

HB 4667 and Senate Bill 440, sponsored by state Rep. Brandt Iden and state Sen. Goeff Hansen, respectively, changes the name of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council to the Michigan Craft Beverage Council. The bills also will expand the council to include members representing Michigan beer, hard cider and spirits. The Craft Beverage Council will award grants for research into winemaking, hops, barley, beer and spirits and conduct market surveys and analysis. The bills are now PAs 154 and 155 of 2018.

HB 5782, sponsored by state Rep. Kathy Crawford, amends the Michigan Memorial Highway Act to designate the portion of highway US-23 in Presque Isle County as the “Major Andrew Becker USAF Memorial HWY”. The bill is now PA 156 of 2018.

HB 5591, sponsored by state Rep. Brandt Iden, imposes a time frame under which complaints against real estate appraisers must be filed. The bill is now PA 157 of 2018.

SBs 803-804, sponsored by state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, allows for the sale of alcohol and private food service establishments to operate within state owned buildings over 1,000,000 square feet. The bills are PAs 158-159 of 2018.

SB 568, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, amends the Michigan Vehicle Code to change the allowable handlebar height for motorcycles and mopeds from 15 inches to 30 inches. The bill is PA 160 of 2018.

SB 647, sponsored by state Sen. Dale Zorn, extends the sunset date for a budget allocation that pays for means-tested home weatherization tax credit/subsidies from fiscal year 2016-17 to 2021-22 to ensure funding for the program is predictable and available throughout the fiscal year. The bill is now PA 161 of 2018.

SB 839, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, clarifies the process for addressing changes in a mining permit and allows for expeditious action on changes where minimal to no adverse environmental impacts would result. The bill is now PA 162 of 2018.

SB 840, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, amends Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, to exempt certain waste collection or treatment systems related to mining operations, such as tailings basins, from permit requirements after an initial permit has been issued. The bill is now PA 163 of 2018.

SB 881, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, amends Part 31, Water Resources Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Under specific circumstances, it would expand an exemption to all ferrous and nonferrous mining operations instead of just iron or copper mining operators as currently exempted. The exemption is for mining operations and relates to placement of mineral tailings or deposits in inland waters or the discharge of waste from underground mining operations. The bill is now PA 164 of 2018.

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