Vehicle Code changes on House Judiciary Committee agenda

The House Judiciary Committee meets on Wednesday, Sept. 19, to take testimony on proposed changes to the Michigan Vehicle Code.

Update: The bill cleared the committee on Wednesday and now goes to the full House for consideration.

SB 809 would amend the code to do the following:

  • Prohibit a Secretary of State (SOS) hearing officer from issuing an unrestricted license to a person who received a restricted license following drunk driving violations, until the person met all requirements for a driver license (or other conditions were met).
  • Require the SOS to postpone considering issuance of an unrestricted license to a person who completed a sobriety court program, for three months for each “minor violation” during an ignition interlock monitoring period.
  • Require a restricted license to be suspended, revoked, or denied if the person who was issued the license, with a requirement for an ignition interlock device, committed a “major violation.”
  • Require a mandatory 120-day license suspension period to be served consecutively to a 60-day suspension period imposed for two serious traffic violations within 36 months, and revise the definition of “serious traffic violation.”
  • Delete a requirement of a one- or three-year license suspension for a six-point violation while operating a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Increase the length of a license suspension for operating a commercial vehicle during certain out-of-service periods.

SB 809 Analysis from the Senate Fiscal Agency

The committee meets in Room 521 House Office Building, Lansing at 9 a.m.


Active military members could delegate custody or visitation

Service members could delegate their parental visitation or guardianship rights if called to active duty under a proposed amendment of the Child Custody Act.

The House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony tomorrow on House Bill 5163.

In addition to the delegation provision, the bill directs that a service member’s temporary absence due to military obligations cannot be considered as a factor in a court’s decision to grant or deny  custody and visitation petitions or to change existing custody or visitation arrangements.

The bill also includes provisions for electronic participation in hearings when necessary:

Upon a motion by a parent who has been called to active military duty, provided that reasonable advance notice is given and good cause is shown, the court shall allow that parent to present testimony and evidence by electronic means with respect to matters being decided under this section when the parent’s deployment has a material effect on his or her ability to appear in person at a regularly scheduled hearing. As used in this subsection, “electronic means” includes communication by telephone or video conference.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Kurt Damrow (R – Elkton).

House Judiciary to take up “unfunded mandate” bills

The smoke has barely cleared after Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced — then quickly withdrew his plan — that he would sue the state for imposing an unfunded mandate on Michigan counties that are now tasked with enforcing Michigan’s new smoking ban in workplaces, including bars and restaurants.

Today, the State House Judiciary Committee is expected to take up a package of bills that would amend the Revised Judicature Act, which lays out the procedure for taxpayer lawsuits brought under the Headlee Amendment. Such suits argue that the state “has failed to adequately fund an activity or service required of local governments by state law,” according to a House Fiscal Agency analysis of the bill.

Under HB 5800, “taxpayers would file an action with the state Court of Appeals … The bill would create the position of special master for assisting the Court of Appeals in carrying out its responsibilities in these cases. …

“The bill is expected to be tie-barred to House Bill 5797, which would create a new act that, among other things, establishes a fiscal note process to be conducted by a Local Government Mandate Panel, in order to determine if new legislation would require of local units any new or increased level of activities and services and, if so, the costs that would be imposed on local units as a result. Local units would not have to provide a new activity or service or an increased level of activity or service unless the state had prepared and publicized a fiscal note and provided for the funding of necessary costs to the local unit.”

The impact on the state budget is indeterminate, according to the analysis. But it’s (obviously) anticipated that local government would “experience a positive fiscal impact under provisions of the bill.”

Read the analysis of the bill here.