SHERIFF'S CORNER: New Laws for 2023

Sheriff Rich Martin

Sheriff Rich Martin

Courtesy of Rich Martin, Lake County Sheriff's Office

Well, with the start of a new year we also know that there will be new laws in effect. Sometimes it's hard to know each and every change in the law and what new laws are out there.  

As we reflect on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr holiday this week, to quote the great leader himself:  

“The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws."

In this edition of the "Sheriff's Corner," I advise you of some of the more interesting law changes that happened, or went into effect, in 2023.

INFORM ACT

On Jan. 1, the Integrity Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) Act went into effect in Michigan. The Act tightens restrictions on certain online retailers to protect consumers from bad-faith sellers. The INFORM Act directs online marketplaces to verify high-volume third-party sellers by authenticating the seller’s government ID, tax ID, bank account information, and contact information. High-volume third-party sellers are defined as vendors who have made 200 or more discrete sales in a 12-month period amounting to $5,000 or more.

CRIME VICTIMS EMOTIONAL TOLL COMPENSATION

Under a change in the law, victims and their families can apply to the crime victim compensation fund to get financial support to cover things like funeral costs and medical bills after a crime. The law was expanded so that people who suffer a "psychological, mental, or emotional injury resulting from a reasonably perceived or actual threat of injury or death" are also eligible for financial compensation.

MCL 18.351 states:

"...(4)(a)(i) Seeking medical attention for or recovery from an injury caused by the crime.

(ii) Obtaining psychological counseling or obtaining services from a victim services organization.

(iii) Providing care or assistance to a victim or claimant in recovering from injuries caused by the crime or in obtaining psychological counseling or services from a victim services organization..."

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASES

Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the minimum hourly wage increased from $9.87 to $10.10 per hour. The 85% rate for minors aged 16 and 17 will increase to $8.59 per hour. The tipped employee rate of hourly pay increases to $3.84 per hour. The training wage of $4.25 per hour for newly hired employees ages 16 to 19 for their first 90 days of employment remains unchanged.

PERSONAL FINANCE IN HIGH SCHOOL

Being the 14th state to pass such a provision, the new law requires that all high school students take a half-credit course in personal finance before they graduate. That course can count as a math, arts, language or language other than English requirement at the discretion of local school boards.

MCL 380.1278a states:

"...(1)(a)(ii)...1/2 credit in economics, and the civics course described in section 1166(2). For only pupils entering grade 8 before 2023, the 1/2-credit economics requirement may be satisfied by completion of at least a 1/2-credit course in personal economics that includes a financial literacy component..."

NEW POLLING PLACES

This new law allows municipalities to go beyond the schools and libraries typically used as polling places to consider some privately owned facilities. Banquet halls, community centers, clubhouses and other comparable places can now be used as polling places.

MCL 168.662 states:

"...(3) The legislative body of a city or township may establish a polling place at a for profit or nonprofit residence or facility in which 150 individuals or more aged 62 or older reside or at an apartment building or complex in which 150 individuals or more reside.

(4) ... is not reasonably available for use or convenient to use, the legislative body of a city or township may establish a polling place at any privately owned banquet or conference center or recreation clubhouse. The legislative body of a city or township shall not designate as a polling place a building described in this subsection that is owned by a person that is a sponsor of a political committee or independent committee or that is owned by an individual who is a candidate..."

PARENTAL RIGHTS SIGNS IN SCHOOLS

Michigan schools must prominently display portions of the state Constitution. Portions of the Act need to be displayed in rooms where the local and state school boards meet, the office of the principal or school leader and every building operated by the Michigan Department of Education.

MCL 380.1 to 380.1852, Sec. 10a states:

"...(2) Beginning January 1, 2023, the department shall ensure that the text of section 1 of article VIII of the state constitution of 1963 and section 10, as added by 1995 PA 289..."

"Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

AND

"It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children. The public schools of this state serve the needs of the pupils by cooperating with the pupil's parents and legal guardians to develop the pupil's intellectual capabilities and vocational skills in a safe and positive environment."

CRITICAL INCIDENT MAPPING FOR SCHOOLS

Schools already need to provide law enforcement with blueprints and other building data. Under a new law that takes effect in March, schools may instead choose to provide law enforcement with comparable information called "critical incident mapping data."

MCL 380.1308 states:

"...(9) A school board shall cooperate with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that detailed and accurate building plans, blueprints or critical incident mapping data, and site plans, as appropriate, for each school building operated by the school board are provided to the appropriate local law enforcement agency. Critical incident mapping data provided pursuant to this subsection must meet all of the following requirements:

...(12)(b) “Critical incident mapping data” means information provided in an electronic or digital format to assist law enforcement or emergency first responders in an emergency. The information provided must include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

(i) Accurate floor plans overlaid on or current aerial imagery of a school building or school plan.

(ii) Site specific labeling that matches the structure of the school building, including room labels, hallway names, external door or stairwell numbers, locations of hazards, key utility locations, key boxes, automated external defibrillators, and trauma kits.

DOOR BLOCKS FOR SCHOOLS

The new law allows schools to submit plans for installing a temporary door locking device or system without the need to have those plans drawn up by a licensed architect or licensed professional engineer. The law also removed a capacity limit that restricted installation of a device on the doors of larger rooms, such as a library or auditorium.

MCL 388.851d states:

"...(2)(a) The device or system is portable and will not be permanently affixed to the door. Individual parts of the locking assembly of the device or system, including, but not limited to, bolts, stops, brackets, and pins, that do not prevent normal ingress and egress through the door may be permanently mounted on a labeled fire door assembly.

(b) The locking means is capable of being engaged without opening the door.

(c) The door is capable of being unlocked and opened from outside the room with a required tool or key.

(d) The locking means does not modify the door closure, panic hardware, or fire exit hardware..."

MICHIGAN GAS TAX GOES UP

A new gas tax went into effect Jan. 1. A law signed several years back requires the gas tax to increase each year. The Treasury Department adjusts fuel tax rates based on a formula for inflation. The inflation-adjusted tax imposed on gasoline beginning Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2023, will be 28.6 cents-per-gallon.

Currently Michigan has the sixth-highest gas tax in the United States. Currently, the state charges drivers 18.4 cents for federal tax plus a 6% sales tax and a 1% environmental tax.

— This information is provided to you for clarification on specific laws, and not legal advice. This is not to be construed as a personal opinion, agreement or disagreement of any specific law. Topics covered are for educational and informational purposes only. As needed, excerpts from other articles are used for reference and/or content. If you have any questions on any specific topic, you may always email me your questions to rmartin@co.lake.mi.us.