March, 2020

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


Methods of Correspondence for
FOIA Requests Modified

2020 PA 36 (HB 4468, immediate effect) amends MCL 15.235 to allow a person making a request for a public record to stipulate that a public body’s response be electronically mailed, if the public body has the capability to do so, or by facsimile or first-class mail. The Governor signed the act on March 3, 2020. 

Wrongful Imprisonment Claims Exempted
from Notice Requirements and SOL

2020 PAs 42 and 43 (SB 68 & HBs 5117 and 5118, immediate effect) amend MCL 600.6431, MCL 600.6452, MCL 691.1757, and other statutes to extend the window during which certain individuals can apply for compensation under the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act by exempting such claims from statutes of limitations and notice requirements for filing a claim against the state. The Governor signed the acts on March 3, 2020.  

Penalties for Subsequent
Child Abuse Convictions Enhanced

2020 PAs 49 and 50 (SB 29 and SB 30, effective June 1, 2020) amend MCL 750.136b and MCL 777.16g to add enhanced penalties for subsequent convictions of third-degree and fourth-degree child abuse. The Governor signed the acts on March 3, 2020. 


Criminalize Assaulting or
Restraining A Vulnerable Adult

HBs 4254-4258 would amend various statutes to, among other things, make it a crime to assault or restrain a vulnerable adult and to expand the prohibition against embezzling from a vulnerable or elder adult. The House passed the bills on February 25, 2020.

Allow Homeowners to Record
Private Conversations in Homes

HB 5421 would amend MCL 750.539c to exempt recordings made by home security monitoring devices from the ban on using a device to eavesdrop on private conversations without the consent of all parties to the conversation. The House passed the bill on March 3, 2020. 

Modify Description of Armed Robbery

SB 533 would amend MCL 750.529 to modify and clarify the description of armed robbery. The Senate passed the bill on March 10, 2020. 


Provide Specific Requirements for
Speedy Trial in Certain Circumstances

SB 791 would amend MCL 768.1 to require, among other things, trial within seven days of incarceration for persons jailed on misdemeanor charges and trial within 90 days for persons jailed on felony charges. The bill would also allow a person charged with a felony who is not in jail to file a motion for a speedy trial, which would require trial within 180 days of the filing of the motion. The bill was introduced in the Senate on February 13, 2020.

Allow Use of Improperly Obtained Evidence
to Revoke Parole or Probation

SB 794 would amend MCL 780.653 to allow the use of evidence obtained without the required probable cause to issue a search warrant to revoke parole or probation or to impeach a defendant’s testimony. The bill was introduced in the Senate on February 18, 2020. 

Require Search Warrant to Track or
Intercept Data from Mobile Device

SBs 5572 and 5573 would amend the title of PA 1966 189 (MCL 780.651 to MCL 780.659), add section 2b, and amend MCL 777.17f to require a search warrant before using a surveillance device to track a mobile device or to collect various forms of a user’s data and to prescribe punishment for violating the warrant requirement. The bills were introduced in the House on February 27, 2020. 

Extend Statute of Limitations for
Certain Life Offenses

HB 5578 would amend MCL 767.24 to extend the statute of limitations for first-degree murder and certain other life offenses under specified conditions. The bill was introduced in the House on March 4, 2020.

Expand Qualifications for Expert Witnesses
and Immunize Certain Compelled
Testimony in Human Trafficking Cases

SBs 816 and 817 would amend MCL 750.462g and MCL 750.462h to allow a witness to be qualified as an expert based on specialized knowledge beyond that of the average person or other factors in human trafficking cases and to provide immunity for certain truthful compelled testimony in human trafficking cases. The bills were introduced in the Senate on March 4, 2020.

Make Possession or Dissemination of
Certain Sexually Explicit Visual Materials
by a Minor a Misdemeanor

HB 5607 would amend the Michigan Penal Code (MCL 750.1 to 750.568) by adding section 145h to prohibit minors or persons enrolled in school from possessing or disseminating certain sexually explicit visual materials under certain circumstances and provide for punishment as a misdemeanor. The bill was introduced in the House on March 10, 2020. 

Make Being a Victim of Human Trafficking
an Affirmative Defense and Make Other
Changes to Human Trafficking Laws

HBs 5634-5656 would amend or add various statutes to, among other things, expand the convictions that may be set aside on the grounds that the offender was a victim of human trafficking and to make being a victim of human trafficking an affirmative offense. The bills were introduced in the House on March 12, 2020.

by John Zevalking
Associate Editor