Gov. Rick Snyder today signed 21 bills focusing on various transportation-and education-related issues across Michigan. The bills range from fighting cyberbullying to streamlining regulations for professional development to making sure veterans attending community college have access to benefits.
"We've already taken great steps to confront the challenges posed by bullying in our schools," Snyder said. "It's important that we expand our focus to include the growing problem of cyberbullying to bullying policies."
Senate Bill 74, sponsored by former state Sen. Glen Anderson, strengthens Michigan's anti-bullying efforts signed into law by Snyder in 2011 by requiring all Michigan schools to add cyberbullying to their anti-bullying policies. The legislation requires the Michigan Department of Education to create procedures to report this information to the state. It is now Public Act 478.
SB 492, sponsored by former state Sen. Bruce Caswell, aligns the Revised School Code with the School Aid Act as it pertains to kindergarten age requirements. The bill also applies the current age requirements to children attending schools out of district. It is now PA 479.
SB 1088, sponsored by state Sen. Darwin Booher, loosens investment restrictions for community colleges to provide additional investment options. The legislation will allow interested community colleges to create a more diversified portfolio, while still requiring specific investment grades to prevent additional financial risk. It is now PA 480.
SB 1142, sponsored by former state Sen. Mark Jansen, reduces the required number of annual fire drills for colleges and universities from eight to three. In addition, the legislation adds reporting and enforcement provisions for all postsecondary institutions. It is now PA 481.
House Bills 5035 and 5036, sponsored by state Reps. Ken Goike and Bruce Rendon, respectively, ensure veterans receive all opportunities available while attending Michigan's community colleges. The bills require all community college applications to include a question about military service to help quickly identify veterans for educational assistance. The legislation also ensures veterans receive information on how academic credits may be earned for previous military training. The bills are now PAs 482 and 483.
HB 5669, sponsored by state Rep. Rob VerHeulen, ensures that nonpublic school teachers in Michigan receive the same credit for professional development as public school teachers. This reform ensures that all teachers in Michigan receive credit for professional development opportunities, regardless of the type of school worked in. It is now PA 484.
HB 5806, sponsored by state Rep. Al Pscholka, gives community colleges more flexibility in paying energy conversation improvements. The legislation increases the financing payback time frame from 10 to 25 years and removes the previous rule that projects could only be done if energy savings would cover the cost of the project. It is now PA 485.
SBs 695-697, sponsored by former state Sen. Randy Richardville, state Sens. Virgil Smith and Tom Casperson, respectively, add provisions ensuring the M-1 RAIL project will receive the same range of powers and legal protections that other railways receive. These provisions will allow the project to move forward without barriers. The bills are now PAs 486-488.
SB 1140, sponsored by state Sen. Virgil Smith, ensures that individuals involved in stealing vehicles are not covered by no-fault insurance benefits. The bill clarifies that anyone involved with stealing a vehicle, whether driving or not, is not entitled to personal injury protection benefits. It is now PA 489.
HB 4788, sponsored by former state Rep. and current Sen. Jim Stamas, creates a fundraising license plate benefitting Michigan veterans. Benefits from the license plate are designated for county veterans outreach activities, tuition support for members of the Michigan Natural Guard or the Children of Veterans Tuition Grant Program. It is now PA 490.
HBs 5045 and 5636, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Cotter, allows villages, cities or townships with a population under 30,000, by resolution, to permit golf carts to be driven on streets. The legislation also excludes golf carts, commercial quadricycles and power-driven mobility devices including motorized wheelchairs from the list of motor vehicles requiring no-fault auto insurance. The bills are now PAs 491 and 492.
HB 5714, sponsored by state Rep. Mike McCready, streamlines the application process for for-hire motor carriers in Michigan. For-hire motor carriers include freight, towing and household moving companies. The legislation eliminates 64 unnecessary steps to help the Motor Carrier Division within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs issue licenses 67 percent faster. It is now PA 493.
Snyder also signed additional bills designating memorial roads and highways across the state:
The portion of I-375 located within Wayne County, as the "First Michigan Colored Infantry Regiment Memorial Highway" (SB 93, sponsored by state Sen. Coleman Young II);
The portion of M-29 in Macomb County, as the "Staff Sergeant Ergin V. Osman Memorial Highway (SB 317, sponsored by state Sen. Steve Bieda);
The nonmotorizied multiuse lane on M-231 over the Grant River, connecting Robinson Township and Crockery Township in Ottawa County, as the "Sergeant Henry E. Plant Memorial Grand River Bridge Nonmotorized Trail" (HB 4411, sponsored by state Rep. Amanda Price);
The portion of Highway US-41, beginning at the intersection with Highway M-28 in Harvey, extending north to the intersection with Genesee Street in Marquette, as the "Earl DeMarse Memorial Highway" (HB 5447, sponsored by state Rep. John Kivela); and
The bridge on Highway M-64 over the Ontonagon River in Ontonagon as the "Ontonagon County Veterans Memorial Bridge" (HB 5715, sponsored by state Rep. Scott Dianda).
The bills are PAs 494-498 of 2014.