Design courtesy of Meghana Tummala.

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 month of January.

Every other Friday, 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.

1. Asian American and Pacific Islander Curriculum 

Status: Referred to the Committee on Education and Career Readiness 

State Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, introduced Senate Bill 797, which would enact requirements for incorporating education on the history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders into the K-12 curriculum. 

This bill amends a 1976 Act designed to allow public elementary and secondary schools to revise, consolidate and clarify the laws related to education. If passed and enacted into law, it would ensure one unit of instruction related to Asian American and Pacific Islander history is incorporated into the history curriculum.

The bill lists three topics that would need to be included in this curriculum. The first would need to include any contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to the politics, culture, arts, sciences and economy of the United States. Any discriminatory policies made towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders would also need to be taught through the curriculum. If enacted, this bill also ensures any contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders made towards advancing civil rights are also included in the curriculum. 

This bill has been referred to the Committee on Education and Career Readiness.

2. State School Aid 

Status: Referred to Committee on Appropriations 

State Sen. Kimberly LaSata, R-St. Joseph, introduced Senate Bill 801, which would provide additional funding to public schools to provide assistance for student transportation. 

This act would amend the State School Act of 1979 by adding another section that provides certain funding.

If passed, the bill contains a maximum of $2 million which would be allocated to certain districts. Each public school district would have to apply for this funding and would only be able to use it in a certain way. The money would be used to provide cash stipends to the legal guardians or parents of students for transportation to and from school. 

Each district could be eligible for up to $25,000 to then allocate towards certain parents of students. To qualify, the student would have to be qualified for free or reduced lunch. The cash stipend given to the parents of students would provide up to $1,400 for qualified school transportation. 

This bill has been referred to the Committee on Appropriations. 

3. African American and Native American Inclusion in K-12 curriculum 

Status: Referred to the Committee on Education and Career Readiness 

State Sen. Adam Hollier, D-Wayne, introduced Senate Bill 0799 to create a commission that would be tasked to improve African American and Native American inclusion in the state’s K-12 curriculum. If enacted into law, this bill would require the governor to appoint representatives for the commission. 

The bill requires the committee to include one representative from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, as well as individuals who can represent the interests of teachers, school district officials, Native American tribes in the state and one member of the civil rights department. 

Within a year of the bill passage, the committee would be required to provide the state board and legislature with grade appropriate K-12 curriculum on Native American and African American History. The curriculum would have to consist of African American history during reconstruction, the civil rights movement and other eras relevant to African American history. It would also have to include contributions African Americans have made to the United States and other countries. No specific requirements were included in the bill regarding the Native American curriculum.

This curriculum would then be required in the teachings of K-12 education. By the 2025-2026 school year, assessments like the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress would have to contain questions pertaining to the curriculum created on African American and Native American history. 

This bill has been referred to the Committee on Education and Career Readiness.

4. DWI/Sobriety Court Interlock program 

Status: Referred to Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety

State Sen. Ruth Johnson, R-Holly, introduced Senate Bill 810, which makes amendments to an act that created a Driving While Intoxicated/Sobriety Court interlock program, which allows individuals convicted of certain drunk driving offenses to be given a restricted driver’s license after being admitted into a sobriety court and having an ignition interlock device installed on their cars. 

The amendments on this bill would expand what type of programs can be completed to regain one’s license. The programs could include drug treatment, DWI/sobriety court, a hybrid of the previously mentioned, mental health court or a veterans treatment court. 

This bill has been referred to the committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.

5. Alternative Fuels Tax Credit 

Status: Referred to Committee on Agriculture 

State Sen. Kevin Daley, R-Lapeer, introduced Senate Bill 814, which would create a tax credit that would help make biofuel produced by renewable energy on Michigan farms more affordable. 

This tax credit would give retailers an incentive to purchase more clean and local produced fuel options. The bill would create a 5 cents per gallon tax credit on E-15 fuel and a .085 cent per gallon tax credit on the sale of E-85 fuel.

Supporters of the bill say it would aid in reducing carbon emissions, support Michigan farmers who produce corn for Michigan ethanol plants and lower the rising cost of gas.

In a press release, Daley explained the importance of biofuels to the state.

“Biofuels are a major economic engine for rural communities across Michigan, and they help position our state to rely less on foreign oil,” Daley said. “This legislation will help accelerate Michigan’s biofuel production and ultimately provide cleaner and cheaper fuel that is locally grown and produced.”

Gabe Corey, general manager of Carbon Green BioEnergy and an industry representative of the Michigan Corn Growers Association, voiced his support for this bill, saying it would make Michigan more self-reliant.

“It’s more important than ever for Michigan lawmakers to promote new markets for biofuels,” Corey said. “The return on investment is clear. Statewide adoption of E-15 and E-85 would slash carbon emissions, save families money at the pump and fuel Michigan’s economy for decades to come.”

This bill has been referred to the Committee on Agriculture.  

Daily Staff Reporter Emma Moore can be reached at