Every year, Michigan lawmakers draft, critique, and vote on important policies that affect citizens. This year, many of the bills are focused on civil justice and societal reforms.
Funding for Michigan Police
A large sect of Republican lawmakers is pushing for an $80 million increase for law enforcement statewide. The money will be directed toward employee retention and recruitment efforts. A large portion of the funds will also be funneled into bonuses and stipends in addition to purchasing r gear for law enforcement officers.
A quote from House Speaker Jason Wentworth of Farwell says, "This profession has been beaten down in the media and by politicians."
The bill was passed in the House and sent to the Senate for approval.
Repeal of Ban on Affirmative Action
Since 2006, there has been a ban on affirmative action. Affirmative action is the practice of increasing diversity by offering employment and educational opportunities to minority individuals. For example, a white student and an African American student have the same GPA, extracurricular activities, and the same level of quality in their entrance essay. Under affirmative action, educational institutions and employers would choose the African American student to provide opportunities for someone from a group with few chances for success in the past.
The ban restricts universities and public institutions from practicing affirmative action. However, State Senator Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, is proposing to repeal the restriction. In his opinion, and the opinion of many other lawmakers, the state cannot afford to ignore inequalities within public institutions.
The resolution has been referred to the Committee on Government Operations.
Ban on Government Severance and Confidentiality Agreements
The proposed ban on government severance pay and confidentiality agreements has passed unanimously in the House. This ban would stop state officials from receiving severance pay or signing confidentiality agreements after stepping down from their position.
A recent controversy involving several state officials has brought to light a pattern of paying off and silencing government officials for personal gain.
The bill has been sent to the Senate for approval.
Senior Citizen Background Checks
An act to address senior citizen background checks was also on the docket for Michigan lawmakers. This act would create a system for aging citizens to receive criminal background checks. Essentially, this program would authorize agencies to collect and store criminal records to track aging offenders.
Forgiving Fines and Penalties
Many businesses were penalized for failure to follow COVID-19 restrictions. Lawmakers proposed and passed a bill that will waive or forgive these fines. Lawmakers view this as a way to support struggling small businesses and boost the local economy by removing heavy penalties.
Many business owners face the loss of their livelihood due to the economic fallout of the pandemic and fines for disobeying restrictions. Now, state officials will begin to cancel and forgive these penalties as quickly as possible to save businesses from shutting down.