2017

Under a scaled back 11-bill package of legislation passed by the House and Senate last week, local governments would need to submit a state approved plan on how to cover their employees’ and retirees’ pension and health care costs; Democrats in the state Senate have introduced legislation (SB 724-725) to reverse Michigan’s five-year old controversial right-to-work laws. The measures would allow a union to charge an agency fee for nonunion members who work in a public or private union; Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law legislation that would allow the Department of Corrections to hire a former felon to work in a state prison – if the hiring goes through an investigative process. The bill (HB 4065) is designed to create opportunities for previous offenders looking to become productive members of society; In an effort to address a growing opioid epidemic in Michigan, the House and Senate passed the last of two packages of bills; As contract negotiations with state employee unions are set to begin next year, Gov. Rick Snyder has named Cheryl Schmittdiel the new director of the Office of State Employer to replace Marie Waalkes who is leaving state government with plans to retire. Schmittdiel has worked both sides of the bargaining table. For more details on these and other end of 2017 legislative issues, see the December 2017 Karoub Report.

A package of bills (SB 584 – 586) passed the Senate that would allow adults with a proper license to carry a concealed weapon through almost all “gun free zones”; The Board of State Canvassers is tentatively planning to meet Jan. 10, 2018 for consideration of the Protecting Michigan Taxpayer’s prevailing wage repeal petition; A no-fault auto insurance reform bill falls 10 votes short of passage in the House; Gov. Rick Snyder appointed his chief legal advisor Elizabeth Clement to the Michigan Supreme Court. Clement is the Governor’s fifth appointment; For the second time, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission was unable to issue an interpretation of state law to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited forms of sex discrimination. For more on these and other legislative issues, click November 2017 Karoub Report.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) says he is determined to pass legislation to allow private police forces with the authority to make arrests at colleges, hospitals, and malls under SB 594 and SB 595; A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers has introduced an 11-bill alternative to no-fault auto insurance package that would reduce rates by 20 to 30 percent without cutting benefits; A House resolution has been introduced that would eliminate the State Board of Education and give the governor power to appoint the state superintendent, who would oversee the Department of Education; The Senate passed its version of Driver Responsibility Fee (DRF) elimination bills which frees drivers with an unpaid DRF of six or more years; Dr. Eden Wells, the state’s top medical director, is facing two more charges - involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office - in connection with the Flint water crisis. Click here for the October 2017 Karoub Report which highlights these and other legislative issues.

National call for law enforcement agencies to submit examples of successful safety programs

The Destination Zero program begins its fourth year of soliciting submissions for the National Officer Safety and Wellness Awards. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), in partnership with the United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, is seeking successful strategies that law enforcement agencies have developed and deployed to help keep officers safe and healthy. This initiative is one part of a continuing collaboration to improve officer safety and wellness.

The Destination Zero program started in 2014 and is a clearinghouse of information on safety and wellness programs that have been effectively put in place in law enforcement agencies across the country. The program shares a myriad of information on www.DestinationZero.org.

There are four categories in which an agency can submit its safety or wellness program for consideration to win a National Officer Safety and Wellness Award.

  • General Officer Safety: This category deals with increasing the physical safety of officers by providing them with enhanced equipment, lifesaving first aid Logo NLEOMF Round fwgear or training to improve the safety of officers as they handle crime scenes or large incidents.
  • Officer Traffic Safety: This category is seeking those programs that specifically address driving safety and training to reduce crashes, such as an increased use of seatbelts and prudent driving strategies. These programs often include marketing and outreach efforts that remind officers of the necessity to use caution and wear their seatbelts.
  • Officer Wellness: This category encompasses a range of strategies that improve the physical and mental health of officers to support them and their families better as they perform physically- and emotionally-demanding jobs. Submissions in this category are initiatives that promote fitness, resilience and overall wellbeing. The Wellness category includes programs that involve peer support, counseling resources, as well as meditation and mindfulness.
  • Comprehensive Safety: This classification is for agencies that have an overarching safety strategy, which improves safety and wellness at every level. The departments submitting programs in this category should have tactical safety improvements, a driving safety component, and programs that support fitness, mental health and create an overall culture of safety within the organization.

The Senate passed legislation (SB 335 and SB 336) that would allow Super PACS to exist under state law. Super PACS are independent committees able to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions and other entities; A bipartisan coalition of 15 House members claim the “Fair and Affordable No-Fault Reform Package” will reduce auto insurance rates 20 to 30 percent without reducing benefits; After Dec.15, 2017, medical marijuana dispensaries still operating could have trouble getting licensed, according to the emergency rules the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs plans to push forward; and Democrats have introduced a seven-bill package to create a plan to test water and air quality annually in Michigan schools and create an environmental task force. Click here for the September 2017 Karoub Report featuring more information on these and other legislative issues.