SHERIFF'S CORNER: New laws for 2022

Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin

Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin

Courtesy photo

Laws have a tendency to change as years go by. Times change, people change ... it seems everything changes. With that in mind, laws need to be amended or enacted to address our current situation.

Other than the before mentioned "No Tampon Tax Law," there were many new laws that went or go into effect this year that you may not be aware of.

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 2022.

Michigan 2-Yr Vehicle Registration: Starting October of this year, drivers will now have the option to renew their vehicle registration every (2) years instead of one year. Drivers will still be able to renew annually if they so choose. A separate law that takes effect in October of 2022 creates a corresponding two-year recreational passport. The fee for the two-year pass is $20.

State Minimum Wage Rate Increased: The minimum wage went up to $9.87, a $0.22 increase from the previous wage of $9.65 per hour. Tipped hourly employees, as in waiters and waitresses, has also increased to $3.75, up $0.12 from the previous wage. For younger workers, ages 16-17, who are making the 85% rate, will now be paid $8.39 per hour.

Easier Drunk Driving Expungement: Starting this month (February) one-time drunk driving offenders become eligible for expungement five years after the original offense. Offenses that caused death or serious injury are not eligible. It is up to a judge to decide whether the conviction is removed from the person’s records. A major change is the definition of some portions of the law in clarifying the meaning of a first-time drunk driving offense.

Financial Exploitation Prevention Act: The Financial Exploitation Prevention Act was enacted to require mandatory reporting by financial institutions when “covered financial exploitation” of a vulnerable adult is suspected, and to place notice, reporting, and confidentiality requirements on law enforcement.

The FEPA Act will require financial institutions (e.g., credit unions and banks) to train relevant employees to recognize signs of “covered financial exploitation” of its members or customers, and to report suspected activity to a law enforcement agency or adult protective services (APS). Under the FEPA, all law enforcement agencies that receive a FEPA report are subject to specific confidentiality, notice, and reporting requirements as described below.

• “Covered financial exploitation" means financial exploitation of an individual through deception, manipulation, coercion, intimidation, or improper leveraging of a caregiver relationship.

• "Financial exploitation" means a fraudulent or otherwise illegal, unauthorized, or improper act or process of an individual that uses or attempts to use financial resources of another individual for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain, or that results or is intended to result in depriving another individual of rightful access
to or use of benefits, resources, belongings, or assets.

No Surprise Medical Bill Act: The No Surprises Act is intended to protect patients from unexpected medical bills. It requires insurance companies to cover out-of-network expenses that can sneak up, in emergencies. There are many clauses to the law, so make sure you research this with your physician and healthcare provider.

Background Checks for Senior Workers: Prospective employees, volunteers and others wishing to work in senior centers or other similar settings now need to pass a criminal background check under "the Older Michiganians Act". This also requires such a review for "each new employee, employee, subcontractor, subcontractor employee, or volunteer who has/had in-person client contact, in-person home client contact, access to a client's personal property, or access to confidential client information."

Alcohol Sales at the Michigan International Speedway: Selling of beer, wine and liquor is now allowed at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) again. Due to the COVID fiasco, MIS had to drop its event schedule to under seven days, which the law states they must have seven motorsports events per year to sell alcohol. Under the new law the number of days with a motorsports event was lowered to two. That means even if there's only one NASCAR race at MIS this year, fans can crack a cold brew.

Liability Insurance Required for Cannabis Sellers: A new law taking effect March of 2022 requires a licensed cannabis business to have proof of product liability insurance with the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Authority (MRA). This is described as: “Proof of financial responsibility for liability for bodily injury to lawful users resulting from the manufacture, distribution, transportation, or sale of adulterated marihuana or adulterated marihuana-infused product in an amount not less than $100,000.00 for each license.”

The statute defines “adulterated marihuana” as “a product sold as marihuana that contains any unintended substance or chemical or biological matter other than marihuana that causes adverse reaction after ingestion or consumption.”  In short, they are responsible for the actual product they are selling which should be free of foreign substances that could cause harm.

Tax Deduction for New Homeowners: The new law amends the Michigan Income Tax Act to allow a new deduction for contributions to certain “first-time home buyer” savings accounts. The law includes provisions that create a new first-time home buyer savings account structure and to allow annual income tax deductions for: 

  1. Contributions to a first-time home buyer savings account up to $5,000 for a single return/$10,000 for a joint return;
  2. Interest earned on contributions to a first-time home buyer savings account; and
  3. Qualified withdrawals from the first-time home buyer savings account. An individual may open and contribute to a first-time home buyer savings account for the benefit of a first-time home buyer. 

The key words are "savings account." I would reference MCL 206.30(1)(cc) for all of the specifics.

College Athletes Royalties and Eligibility: At the end of 2022, a new Michigan law (the first of its kind) goes into effect that allows college athletes to capitalize on their name and image without costing them their eligibility. In the past, the NCAA has not let players legally earn money off of their fame through the use of their name, image, likeness and reputation without losing the ability to play. Student athletes still won’t be allowed to sign apparel contracts with companies their school does not work with and they must tell their school when they are signing any contracts.

REMINDER OF THE EMERGENCY VEHICLE/PASSING LAW

Recently I have been covering several road patrol shifts. As most Sheriff's would never spend any time in a patrol car patrolling their community, I feel that you are never in a position that you cannot do the work that you ask others to do. With that being said, I had to issue a ticket recently for an individual that was speeding past me when I was conducting a traffic stop. For this reason I wanted to give a reminder of the "Move Over Law."

The "Move Over Law" defines what a driver must do when approaching an emergency or service vehicle with emergency or flashing lights activated. The law mandates that motorists slow by 10 mph below the posted speed limit and, if possible, move over a lane when passing a police or emergency vehicle on the side of the road.

This is not for just police cars, fire trucks or an ambulance, but other vehicles as well.

The definition of what an emergency vehicle or service vehicle is: police vehicle, fire apparatus, ambulance, rescue vehicle, wrecker or tow truck, road service vehicle, a state department of transportation vehicle (MDOT), a local authority vehicle (road commission, forest service, DPW, or DNR vehicle), a contractor to provide road maintenance solid waste hauler, transporting unit or solid waste collection vehicle, a public telephone or a cable or video provider utility vehicle.

— 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.