Michigan passes new laws helping veterans, rural hospitals, dedicating roads

Michigan veterans will have better access to services under legislation signed today by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“Ensuring Michigan veterans have access to services and benefits at all levels of government is incredibly important. We owe our freedoms to these men and women and I’m happy to sign legislation that increases access and creates a fund to ensure county-level services are up to par,” Snyder said.

House Bill 5536, sponsored by state Rep. Jason Wentworth, creates a county department of veterans’ affairs to do the following: creates a “county veteran service fund”; creates a grant program run by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency which will provide grants to counties for county veteran service operations; proposes the method for determining the total disbursement for each grant; and creates the conditions a county department of veterans’ affairs would have to satisfy to receive a grant. The bill is now PA 210 of 2018.

Snyder also signed 16 additional measures:

HB 4918, sponsored by state Rep. Sue Allor, provides additional protections for veterans by prohibiting certain practices in which an individual or group attempts to make money by assisting veterans in applying for veterans’ benefits. The bill is now PA 211 of 2018.

Senate Bill 330, sponsored by state Sen. Margaret O’Brien, broadens the ability for a driver licensed in another state to be charged with operating a vehicle causing death. The bill is now PA 212 of 2018.

SB 672, sponsored by state Sen. Phil Pavlov, amends the Motor Carrier Safety Act to ensure that buses remain subject to the federal motor carrier safety standards. The bill is now PA 213 of 2018.

HB 5985, sponsored by state Rep. Rob VerHeulen, makes a series of changes to the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission Act to clarify timelines, enhances the ability of the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission (MIDC) to modify local system spend plans, add members to the MIDC, and clarify partially indigent reimbursements. The bill is now Public Act 214 of 2018.

SB 622, sponsored by Sen. Jim Stamas, amends the Michigan Highway Act to designate a portion of Highway US-23 in Presque Isle County as the “Peter A. Pettalia Memorial Highway” in honor of former State Rep. Peter Pettalia who was killed in a motorcycle crash during his third term in the Michigan House of Representatives. This bill is now PA 215 of 2018.

HB 4828, sponsored by Rep. Christine Greig, amends the Michigan Highway Act to designate the ramp from westbound highway 1-696 to southbound highway 1-275 as the “Trooper Vicki Moreau DeVries Memorial Highway.” Trooper Vicki Moreau was killed in the line of duty when her car left the road and overturned. This bill is now PA 216 of 2018.

HB 5664, sponsored by Rep. Robert Wittenberg, amends the Michigan Highway Act to designate a portion of highway I-96 in Howell as the “Officer Mason Samborski Memorial Highway.” Officer Mason Saborski was killed in the line of duty during a routine traffic stop. This bill is now PA 217 of 2018.

HB 5673, sponsored by Rep. Sue Allor, amends the Michigan Highway Act to designate a portion of highway US-23 in Alpena County as the “Trooper Larry Forreider Memorial Highway” to honor Trooper Larry Forreider who was killed during a routine traffic stop. This bill is now PA 218 of 2018.

SB 459, sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn, amends the Michigan Highway Act to designate a portion of Highway M-52 in Lenawee County as the “Trooper Calvin R. Jones Memorial Highway” in honor of Trooper Calvin Jones who was killed in a patrol car crash while pursuing a speeding vehicle. This bill is now PA 219 of 2018.

HB 5934, sponsored by state Rep. Edward Canfield, requires a portion of the Department of Health and Human Services’ General Fund appropriation be used to support a rural hospital access pool to assist community hospitals, critical access hospitals and rural hospitals in providing services to low-income residents. It is now PA 220 of 2018.

HB 5901, sponsored by state Rep. Mary Whiteford, amends expenditure requirements for the Crime Victims’ Rights Fund.  The fund aids in maintaining a statewide trauma system, including staff support associated with trauma and related emergency medical services programs. Under the bill, the date that prompts a reduction in spending authorization from the Fund is delayed by three years, moving from October 1, 2018 to October 1, 2021. It is now PA 221 of 2018.

SB 1016, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Stamas, creates a reduction in the corporate income tax (CIT) premium tax rate for direct premiums attributed to qualified health insurance policies. The reduced rate will be recalculated each year to achieve a reduction of $18 million per year in the amount received from the state by qualified entities. It is now PA 222 of 2018.

HBs 5052, 5072, 5114 and 5131, sponsored by state Reps. Jewell Jones, Mike Webber, Julie Calley and Robert Kosowski, respectively, make various amendments to laws that govern county auditors. HB 5052 allows a board of county auditors to be appointed by a board of commissioners, not elected by the board of supervisors. HB 5072 amends Michigan Election Law to remove reference to the office of county auditor from a provision that requires a general primary of all political parties in all precincts. HB 5114 removes a requirement that an auditor be elected at the general election. HB 5131 removes a reference to the office of county auditor from a provision that requires the names of the offices to be voted for to be placed on the general election ballot in a specific order. The bills are now PAs 223, 224, 225 and 226 of 2018.

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

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