LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation to protect cities against false reports of crimes and other emergencies.
House Bill 5432, sponsored by state Rep. Pat Somerville, allows courts to require those convicted of falsely reporting a crime or medical emergency to reimburse the state or local government. The legislation protects against “swatting,” a new crime in which people use the Internet to report a crime in progress at a different location and alter the report to look like it’s coming from that spot. The FBI estimates each incident of “swatting” costs law enforcement $10,000 in misused resources.
The governor was joined by the bill’s sponsor and local emergency responders this afternoon for a public bill signing at the City of Trenton Fire Department.
The legislation is part of a three-bill package that will be filed tomorrow. It also includes H.B. 5431, sponsored by state Rep. Kurt Heise, which makes false reporting of a crime or medical emergency illegal, and H.B. 5433, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Cotter, which lays out the maximum terms of imprisonment. The bills will be Public Acts 330-332 of 2012.
“False crime reports unnecessarily risk the lives of emergency responders and waste valuable public resources,” Snyder said. “This legislation is an important component in ensuring the safety of all citizens.”
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.