June, 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.


Pilot Roadside Testing for
Controlled Substances Allowed

2020 PA 87 (SB 718, immediate effect) amends MCL 257.625t to authorize the state police to establish a pilot program for roadside drug testing to determine whether an individual is operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance. The bill authorizes the pilot program for one year and requires the state police to submit a report to the Legislature within 90 days of the completion of the pilot program. The Governor signed the act on June 11, 2020. 


Require Law Enforcement Officer Training

SB 945 and HB 5837 would amend various sections of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards Act to require law enforcement officers to receive training in de-escalation techniques, implicit bias training, procedural justice, and mental health resources and support available to law enforcement officers. The Senate passed SB 945 on June 4, 2020. HB 5837 was introduced in the House on June 4, 2020.

Reduce Sentencing Guidelines for Possession of Certain Narcotics, Allow Probation for Certain Controlled Substance Offenses, and Repeal Limits on Plea Bargaining for Certain Controlled Substance Offenses

HBs 5137, 5299, and 5627 would reduce the maximum sentences for the unlawful manufacture, creation, delivery, or possession of certain specified narcotics (HB 5137); allow courts, after conviction, to place a defendant on probation for certain “major controlled substance offenses” (HB 5299); and repeal the limits on plea bargaining in certain drug cases (HB 5627). The House passed the bills on June 10, 2020.


Make Driving with License Suspended, Revoked, or Denied a Civil Infraction (First Offense)

HB 5802 would amend the Michigan Vehicle Code to make a first violation of driving with a license suspended, revoked, or denied a civil infraction. HBs 5803 and 5804 would remove the exceptions for first violations from reporting and biometric data collection because the exceptions would no longer be needed under HB 5302. The bills were introduced in the House on May 20, 2020.

Provide Prompt Hearings for Criminal Defendants’ “Emergency Motions” 

HB 5805 would amend MCL 769.1 to define criminal “emergency motions” for deprivations of liberty, certain constitutional violations, and on matters that would cause irreparable harm if not heard on an emergency basis. The bill would require a hearing on emergency motions within 24 or 48 hours (depending on the basis). The bill was introduced in the House on May 20, 2020.

Prohibit Certain “Holds” by Law Enforcement Officers and Use of Public Funds to Settle Official Misconduct Claims and Require Excessive Force Intervention Training for Officers

SBs 966-968 would prohibit the use of public funds to settle a claim or action or pay a court-ordered judgment for gross negligence, intentional misconduct, or criminal conduct of a public official (SB 966); require law enforcement agencies to regulate law enforcement officers’ failure to intervene during the use of excessive force (and allow disciplinary actions for such failure) (SB 967); and prohibit police restraint tactics that involve applying pressure to an individual’s throat or windpipe. (SB 968, Police Restraint Tactics Act). The bills were introduced in the Senate on June 11, 2020.

Eliminate driver’s license suspensions not related to public safety, jail mandatory minimums, and jail for certain traffic misdemeanors

HBs 5844, 5846-5857 would amend various statutes to eliminate certain driver’s license suspension that are not related to public safety (HBs 5846-HB 5852), jail mandatory minimums (HBs 5844, 5854-5857), and jail incarceration as an option for certain traffic misdemeanors (HB 5833). The bills were based on recommendations from the Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration. They were introduced in the House on June 11, 2020.

by John Zevalking
Associate Editor