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The following article explains five bills that have been introduced, passed or signed into law by the Michigan legislature or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer throughout the past month.

Each month, The Michigan Daily publishes a compilation of bills in the Michigan legislature for students at the University of Michigan to be aware of.

1. Expanding gun restrictions to combat “ghost guns”

Status: Introduced in the House

Introduced on June 15 by state Rep. Jeffrey Pepper, D-Dearborn, H.B. 6228 aims to amend Act 328 of the Michigan Penal Code (1931), which limits the sale, manufacture, and possession of guns and other weapons. The amendment expands the definition of firearms to include firearms that are created by 3D printing. In a June 16 press release, Pepper said banning firearms made by 3D printing helps regulate “ghost guns,” privately made firearms that are untraceable by security technology such as metal detectors. Ghost guns are not marked with serial numbers and no background check is required for someone to purchase their parts. On April 11, President Biden issued regulations on ghost guns classifying many ghost gun kits as “firearms” under the Gun Control Act. Illinois is set to be the first state in the Midwest to have legislation on regulating ghost guns after passing a bill banning the weapons in May 2022.

“As a gun owner, I understand the importance of the Second Amendment — but that shouldn’t stop us from enacting sensible legislation to curb the senseless violence happening daily across our state,” Pepper said. “There is no reason we should enable people to bypass background checks to 3-D print untraceable and undetectable guns. This simple, common-sense legislation is a step in the right direction to combat the gun violence epidemic and keep Michiganders safe.”

After being read in front of the House, the bill was referred to the Committee on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security.

2. Improving Housing Accessibility

Status: Introduced in the House

Introduced on June 16 by state Rep. Abraham Aiyash, D-Hamtramck, H.B. 6242 would prohibit landlords from discriminating against rental applicants on certain disclosures and require landlords to give information to rental applicants regarding the reason for denying their application. This legislation would allow individuals whose rental applications were denied to file a complaint to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights to investigate if the landlord violated the Fair Chance Access to Housing Act. 

In a press release from Michigan House Democrats, Aiyash said the current housing background check procedures can be discriminatory towards incarcerated individuals’ rental applications. 

“All too often, folks who have served their time and paid their debts for a crime or mistake they committed are unable to access housing when they return home because their applications are immediately rejected once a background check is complete,” Aiyash said. “This is an unfair process that denies people in our state with a conviction or arrest their basic right to have a roof over their head.”

After being read in front of the House, the bill was referred to the Committee on Regulatory Reform.

3. Providing funding for sexual assault health care services

Status: Introduced in the House

State Rep. Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, introduced a package of three bills aiming to improve healthcare services for survivors of sexual assault. H.B. 6244 prohibits the use of survivors’ sexual assault kit evidence from being used to prosecute survivors or family members for unrelated offenses, while H.B. 6245 and H.B. 6246 provide survivors with affordable medical care, prescribed medications and testing.

In a Michigan House Democrats press release, Rabhi described why he wants to extend funding for survivors’ health services. 

“These bills will make the medical forensic exam system more trustworthy and helpful to survivors of sexual assault,” Rabhi wrote. “Survivors deserve to know that they will not be targeted for future prosecution when they report an assault and go through a difficult medical forensic exam. The Crime Victims’ Compensation Program should also pay for other medical needs resulting from an assault, not just the forensic exam.”

After being read in front of the House, the bill was referred to the Committee on Health Policy.

4. Bipartisan bill package to provide affordable child care across Michigan 

Status: passed by both chambers; enrolled 

In a June 23 press release, Whitmer announced the signing of a bipartisan child care package consisting of House Bills 5041 through 5048 to help expand affordable child care for Michigan families. The press release outlines the following bills in the package: 

  • H.B. 5041 sponsored by state Rep. Jack O’ Malley, R-Lake Ann, plans to increase the number of children that home-based child care providers can serve to help families have more child care options. A group home or family child care home is eligible for an increase in the number of children they can serve if they are licensed and operating for at least 29 consecutive months. 
  • H.B. 5042 sponsored by state Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, R-Norton Shores, creates licensing requirements for child care centers. Applicants for this license will be required to disclose certain affiliations they have.
  • H.B. 5043 sponsored by state Rep. Kelly Breen, D-Novi,requires the Michigan Department of Education to establish family child care networks for home-based child care providers connected to the Michigan Department of Education’s existing child care networks. 
  • H.B. 5044 sponsored by state Rep. Ranjeev Puri, D-Canton, ensures the Department of Education will a contract model for infant and toddler child care providers that can receive federal funding . 
  • H.B. 5045 sponsored by state Rep. Rodney Wakeman, R-Frankenmuth, requires investigative reports on child care provider facilities and makes them public information. Databases on child care centers and group homes will include public information on inspections and investigations from the past three years alongside other minimum requirements, including general hours, date of expiration of license, name and address of child care center. 
  • H.B. 5046  sponsored by state Rep. Gregory Markkanen, R-Hancock, and H.B. 5047  sponsored by state Rep. Julie Calley, R- Portland, create new regulations and share health and safety records, respectively.
  • H.B. 5048 sponsored by state Rep. John Roth, R-Traverse City, outlines the use of multiple occupancy buildings for child care centers. 

After being passed by both chambers, H.B. 5041- H.B 5048 were approved on June 23 by Gov. Whitmer. 

5. Raising tobacco use age to federal age 

Status: passed by both chambers; enrolled

Introduced on May 18 by state Rep. Tommy Brann, R-Wyoming, H.B. 6108 aims to change the state’s legal age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21, amending sections one and four of the Youth Tobacco Act (Act 31 of 1915). It will also require verification that an individual who sells tobacco or alternative nicotine products is 21. This bill is tie-barred to H.B. 6109, a bill that prohibits individuals younger than 21 from entering stores that sell tobacco products. 

In 2019, former President Donald Trump signed a bill that raised the federal legal age for one to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. H.B. 6108 was introduced by Brann to align the state requirement with federal government requirements for purchasing tobacco. 

These two House bills are tie-barred to Senate bills 576, 577 and 720, which were introduced in 2021. S.B. 576 amends Michigan Penal Code section 42b to require individuals selling tobacco products by mail to ensure the buyer is at least 21, not 18, as in the original law. S.B. 577 amends the Age of Majority act of 1971, the act that makes one a legal adult at 18 in Michigan, so it does not impact the Youth Tobacco Act. S.B. 720 requires a special license to transport tobacco products in and out of Michigan.

After being passed by both chambers, H.B. 6108 was sent to Whitmer’s desk for approval on June 28. It has not yet been signed.

Summer News Editor Nirali Patel can be reached at nirpat@umich.edu