Inside and outside of Oakland

New laws whistling through Michigan Legislature

  New laws and legislation affecting wine tasting, fireworks, elections and some taxes and insurance are whistling through Lansing.

New laws

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed new laws:
  • House Bills 4169, 4170 and 4171 transfers local elections canvassing from cities and townships to counties. The governor says it'll mean a more streamlined elections process. Canvassers certify elections results as official after each election.
  • House Bill 4127 gives judges the authority to assign GPS tethering devices to criminal defendants who are on bail for assault crimes.
  • House Bill 4360 suspends or revokes the liquor license of any store or bar that allows the use of a Bridge Card for the purchase of liquor or other non-eligible items.
  • House Bill 4361 suspends or revokes the state lottery sales license of a merchant that allows the use of a Bridge Card for the purchase of lottery tickets.
  • Senate Bill 335 extends a 1 percent tax on health insurance claims that was set to expire Jan. 1, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2018. The tax pays for medical insurance for an estimated 1.9 million low income residents of Michigan.
Legislation moving
  • The Michigan Senate has approved changes to the state’s fireworks law, including giving local governments power to restrict their use. Louder and more powerful fireworks were legalized in 2011 after a ban on bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers was erased.
  • Senate Bill 79, to be sent to the governor for his signature, would allow small winemakers to offer tastings and to sell their wines at farmers markets in exchange for a $25 permit.
Also noteworthy
  • A study by AAA has found that using voice commands to send text messages and emails while driving is more distracting and dangerous than talking on a cell phone.
Politically speaking
  • Gov. Snyder isn’t backing away from his push for Medicaid expansion despite conservatives and tea party members saying they won't back his re-election in 2014 because of his position.
  • U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Flint Democrat, is going to live for a week on a food stamp budget to raise awareness about proposed cuts in nutrition programs for low-income families and children. From Sunday through June 22, Kildee will live on an average food stamp budget, which is $31.50, or $4.50 a day.

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