Snyder Signs New Animal Cruelty Laws

From Gov. Rick Snyder’s office —

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation to increase penalties for people associated with animal fighting and animal cruelty crimes.

“This legislation provides law enforcement the tools they need to put a stop to animal fighting,” Snyder said.

Senate Bill 356, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, allows for the seizure of homes and automobiles in cases involving animal fighting where the property either directly or materially contributed to the crime.

S.B. 358, sponsored by state Sen. Steve Bieda, adds animal fighting, shooting and baiting to the list of racketeering crimes. The bill provides prosecutors with tools to stop animal fighting, making it punishable by law to conspire with, aid or intimidate anyone to commit an animal fighting crime for financial gain.

House Bill 5789, sponsored by state Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, gives law enforcement the ability to shut down any venue found to be associated with animal fighting. The bill also allows for the removal and sale of any personal property found within the premises.

The bills now are Public Acts 350-352 of 2012.

The governor also signed six other bills.

H.B. 5284, sponsored by state Rep. John Walsh, expands the prohibition on using a computer to commit certain crimes to include cell phones and other hand-held devices with Internet access. This updates the law to meet evolving technology. The bill now is P.A. 353.

S.B.s 402 and 403, sponsored by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, provide legal immunity for physicians to report to the Secretary of State patients with physical or mental disabilities that make driving unsafe to either themselves or the public. The bills now are P.A.s 354 and 355.

S.B. 564, also sponsored by Schuitmaker, increases the Freedom to Work Medicaid eligibility level to 250 percent of the federal poverty limit, allowing enrollees the opportunity to earn more income without losing benefits. It also changes the premium structure and includes more enrollees. Freedom to Work is a Medicaid category that allows people with disabilities to work and increase their income without losing Medicaid coverage. The bill now is P.A. 356.

S.B. 1001, sponsored by state Sen. Bruce Caswell, allows employers to charge employees a fee to withhold child support from their wages. For electronic withholding, this fee cannot exceed $1 per paycheck or $2 per month. For other means of withholding, the fee cannot exceed $2 per paycheck or $4 per month. The bill now is P.A. 357.

S.B. 1108, sponsored by state Sen. Darwin Booher, develops an organization of major banks in Michigan to help deserving small businesses get a loan. Many businesses hoping to expand or restructure have been denied because of recent, more stringent federal regulations and the public-private partnership with some of the state’s largest banks provides a risk pool. The bill now is P.A. 358.

Visit for more information on the bills.