Cheyna Roth

Safe Haven bill would allow for “baby boxes”

Dec 21, 2018

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Legislation that gives parents a new method for parents to anonymously surrender newborn babies is on its way to the Governor’s desk. 

Michigan’s safe haven law would be expanded to would allow for safe haven locations – like fire stations – to install a certain type of climate-controlled box. Parents who want to surrender their baby, could put the child in the box and an alarm would sound inside the safe haven location.

Republican Representative Bronna Kahle is a bill sponsor. She says it’s about increasing anonymity to save lives.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Rick Snyder will decide whether to set the statute of limitations for campaign finance crimes at five years. 

That would mean that prosecutors must file charges against someone who violates the Campaign Finance Act within five years of the crime.

Opponents say that’s not long enough, and lawmakers shouldn’t put a time frame on a crime specific to their profession.

But Republican Representative Aaron Miller disagrees.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Last month Michigan voters approved Proposal Three, expanding voter access.  

This week, the legislature voted to shape the way that expansion is carried out. For example, bills in the package would allow people to opt out of automatic voter registration.

The five-bill package was introduced after Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved Proposal Three.

Saginaw State Representative Vanessa Guerra criticized the Lame Duck push to pass the legislation.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The Legislature’s lame duck session ends Thursday night, and a controversial bill likely won’t make it through. 

Legislation passed by the Senate would take away campaign finance oversight from the Secretary of State and give it to a bipartisan commission.

The bills were waiting for a committee hearing in the House. Republican Representative Aaron Miller chairs the committee. He says his committee won’t take up the bill.

“I think that current process works well. And I think that there were issues with the bills.”

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Legislation that would shield the identities of non-profit donors – including those to political advocacy groups – is a procedural move away from the governor’s desk.

The bill was passed by the state House Tuesday. It would make it a misdemeanor for a public official to require non-profits to disclose their donor list for government review.            

Craig Mauger is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.   He suspects business interests were behind the legislation.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Plans to change Michigan’s auto no-fault law will likely not make it to the governor’s desk this year. 

Lawmakers in the state House have been considering taking up the issue – and they still might. But with only days left in this session, the Senate is unlikely to follow suit.

Amber McCann is a spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof.

“It’s…not popping on his radar, I guess is the best way to put it right now. We have some other things that are in the queue above that topic. Not that it’s not a worthwhile one,” she says.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Bills aimed at increasing school safety are on their way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk. 

The state Senate gave final votes to bills that would require schools to work with law enforcement to develop safety plans, and schools would need to conduct biannual school safety assessments with help from law enforcement.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   It’s the final stretch of the state Legislature’s lame duck session, and some bills won’t make it to the Governor’s desk. 

Because of a procedural rule, some pieces of legislation are effectively dead.

Before a bill can move from one chamber to another, the Legislature has to wait five days. That means any bills in their original chamber that didn’t pass last Thursday were effectively dead.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Friday controversial changes to minimum wage and earned sick time measures. 

In September the Legislature adopted measures that were headed for the November ballot. The bills significantly scaled back potential changes to the state’s minimum wage and earned sick time laws.

Ari Adler is a spokesman for Governor Rick Snyder. He says the governor treated them like any other bills.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   The state Senate passed legislation Thursday that supporters say could put millions of dollars toward state parks.

The bills would change the recreation passport fee to get into Michigan’s state parks. Instead of the current ability to opt-in to the passport when renewing your car’s registration, you would automatically pay for the passport unless you opt out.

Environmentalists are behind the move. Sean Hammond is with the Michigan Environmental Council.