New law enhances penalties for crimes against animals

Also signs four bills, vetoes four bills

Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation increasing prison time for aggravated animal cruelty crimes.

“This legislation demonstrates how seriously we take animal cruelty in this state and that Michiganders won’t tolerate it,” Snyder said.

House Bill 4332, sponsored by state Rep. Tommy Brann, authorizes up to seven years in prison for certain “aggravated” animal cruelty crimes, and up to 10 years for killing or torturing an animal with the intent to impose control over or cause mental suffering to a person. The bill would also extend the current animal cruelty law’s other provisions to breeders and pet shops. The bill is now Public Act 452 of 2018.

Snyder signed four additional bills:

HB 6058, sponsored by state Rep. Scott VanSingel, provides for the preliminary determination of eligibility of individuals who may apply for a license or registration. The bill is now PA 453 of 2018.

HB 6059, sponsored by state Rep. Terry Sabo, establishes in the skilled trades regulation act individuals who may receive preliminary determination of eligibility for licenses. The bill is now PA 454 of 2018.

HB 6060, sponsored by state Rep. Jim Lilly, authorizes in the occupational code eligibility of individuals who may receive preliminary determination of eligibility for licenses. The bill is now PA 455 of 2018.

HB 4618, sponsored by state Rep. David Byrd, modifies administrative procedures for city income taxes. The bills are now PA 456 of 2018.

Snyder also vetoed four bills:

Senate Bills 511-512 would have created the Michigan first-time home buyer savings program along with an accompanying income tax deduction for money deposited into eligible accounts. In his veto letter, Gov. Snyder stated that these bills are contrary to the goal of a simple, fair, and efficient tax code because using it to incentivize taxpayers favors some over others.

House Bill 4259 would have provided the Legislative Auditor General unrestricted access to all information, including confidential information, in other branches of state government. Gov. Snyder recognizes the need for access to necessary and relevant information in order to satisfy auditing standards, however, this legislation would violate the separation of powers by giving the legislature’s agent unrestricted access into all executive functions, whether it was conducting an audit of those functions or not.

Senate Bill 660 would amend the Animal Industry Act to delay the implementation of enclosure size standards for egg-laying hens from 2020 to 2025 and prohibit the sale of all shell eggs in Michigan after 2025 unless laying hens are housed in enclosures compliant with those standards. Gov. Snyder said in his veto letter that the present bill does not sufficiently connect sound science with diminished animal welfare and negative effects on public health.