The following article explains five bills that have been introduced, passed or signed into law by the Michigan State Legislature or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer throughout the past few weeks.
Each month, The Michigan Daily publishes a compilation of bills being floated around in the Michigan State Legislature for students at the University of Michigan to know about.
Increased regulations over obtaining emotional support animal certifications
Status: Passed by the House
Introduced by Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette, House Bill 5751 would establish the Emotional Support Animal Act, which would allow individuals with a disability to be certified by a health care provider for an emotional support animal. Currently, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, landlords must allow residents to have emotional support animals in buildings that do not allow animals. As requests for emotional support animals increase, landlords are concerned many of the requests are not issued by a healthcare professional.
The bill would increase regulations on obtaining certification for an emotional support animal, stating the healthcare provider must establish a provider-patient relationship with the individual with a disability for at least 30 days before they can certify the patient’s need for an emotional support animal.
Under the bill, the healthcare provider would also need to review the patient’s medical records in order to assess the need, and certifications must follow the privacy provisions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Healthcare providers cannot be paid for issuing the certification, and sellers are prohibited from falsely selling certifications for animals that are not emotional support animals.
Changes to licensing requirements for child care organizations
Status: Passed by the House and Senate
House Bill 5980, introduced by Rep. Stephanie Young, D-Detroit, will establish standards of care and regulations for childcare organizations. The bill requires childcare organizations to renew their license every two years. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2023, foster care families or foster family groups will be given extended licenses if they have been licensed for at least a year and are in good standing with the department. The extended license is effective for three years and must be renewed every three years.
In a press release, Young said this bill is bipartisan and is organized by the House Adoption and Foster Care Task Force. The bill aims to reduce the amount of paperwork for high-quality caregivers.
“My bill, House Bill 5980, looks to streamline the foster home licensure process and reduce paperwork for high-quality caregivers (and) was approved by the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services,” Young wrote.
Clean drinking water requirements in schools
Status: Passed by the Senate
Senate Bill 0184, introduced by Sen. Curtis VanderWall, R-Ludington, requires each school to develop and implement a clean drinking water plan available to the public. Schools will need to identify the location of water faucets and conduct testing on water quality each year. Under the bill, the plan must be updated every five years and follow the requirements of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).
By the end of the 2024-2025 school year, the bill requires all water faucets to have a filter installed. If the lead concentration in the water samples is higher than one to five parts per billion, the school must seek guidance from EGLE. This bill is also known as the “clean drinking water access act.”
In a press release, VanderWall said lead contamination is a major concern behind this bill, and he hopes mandating water filters will help solve contaminations.
“We know that aging service lines, plumbing and other fixtures can add contaminates that are not originally present at community water sources,” VanderWall wrote. “On top of that, the patterns of school schedules — time off over weekends, as well as holiday and seasonal breaks — can increase the risk of contaminants leaking into drinking water during periods when it stagnates unused.”
Study of nuclear energy in Michigan
Status: Passed by the House
Rep. Graham Filler, R-Clinton introduced House Bill 6019, which requires the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to work with an outside consulting firm to conduct a study on nuclear energy generation in the state of Michigan. MPSC will be required to deliver a report to the governor, Speaker and minority leader of the House, Senate majority and minority leaders and the chairpersons of the House and Senate standing committees responsible for energy and environmental protection issues.
The study would seek to address the economic and environmental impact of nuclear energy in Michigan and evaluate worker training and job creation. A timeline should be provided for potential nuclear plant construction. The study also needs to offer potential policies to address nuclear energy. Stakeholders would be allowed to offer feedback on the study.
According to a press release, Filler said nuclear energy could be a good alternative for coal plants as a way to provide affordable energy.
“We have coal plants in Michigan that are going to be taken offline soon,” Filler wrote. “Nuclear energy should be part of the discussion. There have been incredible technological advances in the field over the past two decades. It’s a safe way to generate reliable power with minimal environmental impact.”
Filler also said that this study will provide valuable information to energy investors regarding nuclear energy in Michigan.
“I believe this study will provide comprehensive information that energy providers, legislators and stakeholders could use as they make decisions regarding the future of nuclear energy in Michigan,” Filler said.
Scholarship for future educators
Status: Introduced by the House
If passed, the House Bill 6378 would establish a scholarship program for college students who are committed to becoming educators in the future. Introduced by Rep. Mike Harris, R-Waterford, the bill requires eligible students to have graduated high school or achieved an equivalent certificate, be enrolled in a teaching preparation program, have a grade point average of 3.0 and be from the state of Michigan. In order to maintain the scholarship, the student must maintain a GPA of 3.0, take 24 credits in a school year and maintain residence in the state.
The scholarship awarded under this program would not exceed $10,000, as determined by the department of treasury, and the student may renew the scholarship for up to three years or until program completion. If an individual does not complete the teaching preparation program or doesn’t meet the working requirement as a teacher, they must pay the state a 0% interest loan that is the same amount as the scholarship awarded within 10 years.
Daily Staff Reporter Caroline Wang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org