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Governor Finishes Sifting Through The Pile Of Bills Left By Michigan Legislature

Rick Snyder
Wikipedia Media Commons

Michigan has about 150 new laws.  Governor Rick Snyder finished going through a pile of bills that were sent to him before the Legislature went on its summer break.

The new laws range from getting rid of out-of-date laws to license plates.  And several bills involve how to drive.  Starting in September, drivers will have to give bicyclists at least three feet of space while passing.

“This is really important to protect bicyclists and other vulnerable roadway users,” said Snyder spokeswoman, Tanya Baker.

Thelaw also requires driver’s education curriculum to include at least one hour of class time on motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and other “vulnerable roadway users.”  It’s not the only change to driver’s ed.  Another new law requires training on what to do if you’re pulled over by police. 

Baker said Snyder was especially excited to sign some skilled trades legislation.  The Marshall Plan for Talent will put $100 million toward more technical skills training and equipment in schools.

“This plan has been a top priority for him since he announced it just over four months ago,” she said.  “So that coming through was really significant.”

Prosecutors are excited about a new law allowing support dogs in the courtroom.  Young and vulnerable witnesses will be allowed to have a trained support dog with them during any courtroom proceeding before trial.  If prosecutors want the witness to have a support dog during trial, they have to give the defense notice and possibly have a hearing for a judge to decide if it’s okay.

Doug Lloyd is the Eaton County Prosecutor.  Their office’s support dog is named Reagan.  He said defense attorneys are also starting to see the benefits of support dogs.

“What they see is that by having Reagan there, the witness actually opens up more than when they were just sitting there by themself or with a support person,” he said.

Prior to the law, prosecutors had to give notice before using the support dog.  Defense attorneys could object, and a judge could decide not to let the dog sit with the witness. 

Snyder also signed legislation creating environmental and infrastructure councils and the budget for the next fiscal year.

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—Cheyna Roth is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org

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