April, 2019

We offer, on a continuing basis, summaries of recently signed, recently passed, and important proposed state legislation as a supplement to our annual survey.


Make Supplement Appropriation to Wrongful
Imprisonment Compensation Fund

HB 4286 would amend MCL 691.1756 to add a supplemental appropriation of $10 million to the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Fund through September 30, 2019, from the general fund. The bill would also add certain reporting requirements regarding the fund from the Attorney General to various committees and agencies. The House passed the bill on March 12, 2019. 

Add Cryptocurrency to Sections of Penal Code

HBs 4102-4107 would define cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology and add references to them in various provisions of the Penal Code including crimes against animals, racketeering, forgery, and embezzlement. The House passed the bills on April 9, 2019. 


Modify Bail Procedure and Criteria

HBs 4351-4359 would amend MCL 765.6 and related statutes and add statutes to modify the procedure and criteria for entitlement to bail. Among other modifications, the bills would provide that a defendant must be released on personal recognizance unless it was proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant would pose an undue danger to the community or that there is a significant risk that defendant would willfully fail to appear if released. The bills would also prohibit courts from assessing financial conditions for release based on a preestablished bail schedule. The bills were introduced in the House on March 13, 2019. 

SBs 207-215 would likewise amend or enact various statutes to modify bail procedures and criteria. Among other modifications, the bills would remove certain references to surrendering a driver’s license as a bail condition. The bills were introduced in the Senate on March 14, 2019. 

Increase Penalty for Sexual Contact or
Penetration in the Course of Medical Treatment

SBs 219 and 220 would amend MCL 750.90 and MCL 777.16d to modify the definition of misrepresenting to a patient that sexual contact or penetration would be beneficial to the health or wellbeing of the patient and inducing a patient to engage in sexual contact or penetration in the course of treatment and to substantially increase the penalty for such misrepresentation and inducement. The bills were introduced in the Senate on March 14, 2019.

Require Return of Forfeited Assets if the
Existence of Nuisance is not Established

SB 232 would amend various statutes to require prosecutors to review civil asset forfeitures pursuant to nuisance actions and to require forfeited assets to be returned if the nuisance is not established. The bill was introduced in the Senate on March 19, 2019.

Reduce Operating Under the
Influence Blood Alcohol Content to 0.05

HBs 4419-4421 would amend various sections of the Motor Vehicle Code to reduce the threshold blood alcohol level for an operating under the influence charge to 0.05. The bills would also allow persons convicted of operating under the influence to travel on a restricted license to a school or daycare in which the person’s child is enrolled. The bills were introduced in the House on March 21, 2019.

Make Deferred Domestic Violence Charges
Prior Convictions in Subsequent Cases

SB 257 would amend MCL 769.4a to provide that deferred domestic violence charges must be counted as prior convictions in subsequent domestic violence cases. The bill was introduced in the Senate on April 10, 2019. 

Raise the Age

HBs 4141, 4443, and 4452 would amend various statutes to raise the age from 17 to 18 regarding specified juvenile violations related to more serious offenses such as rape, arson, and armed robbery. The bills were introduced in the House on April 11, 2019. 

Create the Marihuana Violation
Sentence Reduction Act

SBs 262-265 would create the Marihuana Violation Sentence Reduction Act and amend various statutes in the Public Health, Criminal Procedure, and Corrections Codes to reflect the provisions of the Act. The Act would require termination of a controlling sentence for possession of marijuana under certain circumstances. The bills were introduced in the Senate on April 11, 2019.

Make Traffic Offenders Eligible for
Youthful Trainee Status

HB 4462 would amend MCL 762.11 to remove traffic offenders from the list of offenders that are ineligible for youthful trainee status. The bill was introduced in the House on April 16, 2019.

Create Forensic Science Commission

SBs 276 and 277 would enact the Forensic Science Commission Act. The Commission would regulate forensic science laboratories, forensic science service providers, and forensic medical service providers. Among other provisions, the bills would require the Commission to create a report on the integrity and reliability of forensic science methods and make recommendations for best practices. The bills were introduced in the Senate on April 18, 2019. 

by John Zevalking
Associate Editor