New Michigan Laws for 2016
A new year always means new changes. While people all over the world are busy making resolutions to improve their lives, it’s also a time when many new laws start to take effect. When it comes to Michigan law, 2016 is no exception. The year’s just getting started and there are already new changes to laws pertaining to things like auto insurance, minimum wage, civil forfeiture, and health and food standards that Michigan residents should be aware of.
For decades, drivers have been required to carry written proof of insurance. With the growth in mobile technology, laws are changing to keep up with the times. Thanks to House Bill 4193, Michigan drivers who are pulled over by law enforcement officials may now provide proof of auto insurance on a cell phone or other mobile device. The new law also includes privacy protections for drivers that prohibit police officers from using the electronic device in any way to view other information. Police officers may require drivers to email them a copy of their insurance documents so they can view it in their car and not on the side of the road.
House Bill 4193 passed in September 2015, but became effective January 5, 2016.
Minimum Wage Increase
Michigan’s minimum wage will gradually be raised over the next few years. On September 1st of 2014, it was raised to $8.15 an hour and on January 1, 2016, it was raised again to $8.50. On January 1st of 2017, it will be raised to $8.90 and on January 1st of 2018 it will increase to $9.25. Even though the minimum wage of 2016 is set at $8.50, employers can still pay recently employed teenagers between ages of 16 and 19 only $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of their employment. Afterwards, employees who are aged 16 and 17 may still be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Employees who receive tips must earn a combined amount of $8.50 per hour.
Health and Food
Local health department inspectors no longer have to physically inspect temporary food establishments that only serve foods that are considered “low risk,” such as popcorn, ice cream, and pre-cooked hot dogs. Instead, health officials can simply perform an in-office review of operational guidelines with temporary concession stand owners. Temporary food service licenses will still last for two weeks and can be renewed every year.
On the other hand, veterans and other qualifying individuals with service animals may visit restaurants and other public places without fear of being turned away. It is now a criminal offense to deny service or entrance to an individual using a recognized service animal. Service dogs are now exempt from licensing fees and the government will offer voluntary ID cards for owners and tags and vests for service animals to make them more easily recognizable. The government will also investigate reports of people suspected of trying to represent a non-service animal as a service animal, which is now a misdemeanor offense.
Finally, powdered products that make rum, vodka and other alcoholic drinks when mixed with water are now banned.
Law enforcement officials and agencies will now have to follow new reporting requirements when they seize a person’s property if they believe it was used in connection with a crime. In October 2015, a new law was signed by Governor Rick Snyder to prevent valuable items being seized from people who have not been convicted of a crime. Under the new law, agencies that seize property are required to submit detailed reports to state police every year. If the property was seized in relation to a case going to civil court, the judge will have to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to suggest the property was related to a crime.
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