Five Bills to Watch in the Michigan State Legislature: July 2022

The following article explains five bills that have been introduced, passed, or signed into law by the Michigan Legislature or Governor Gretchen Whitmer in the past month.

Each month, The Michigan Daily publishes a compilation of bills from the Michigan Legislature for University of Michigan students.

1. Require some hospitals to provide treatment for opioid use disorder

Status: Adopted by both houses

Senate Bill 0579, first introduced by State Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington, in late June, would require hospitals to treat at least 50 emergency patients a year for overdoses of opioids to implement a drug treatment program (MAT). MAT programs include the use of medication as well as other therapies to treat addiction. Opioid-related deaths in Michigan have increased tenfold since 2000, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

The law would also leave it to the discretion of MDHHS to select additional hospitals caring for fewer than 50 overdose patients to implement a MAT program. Under this law, hospitals can receive grants from MDHHS to implement these programs, but receipt of this funding is conditional on the hospitals adhering to the treatment and staffing guidelines set by the legislation.

In an MDHHS press release, Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II explained the urgency of increasing access to treatment for opioid use disorder.

“This epidemic is affecting every area of ​​our state, and we lose nearly five Michiganders every day to opioid overdoses,” Gilchrist said. “This legislation will help bring us closer to ending this epidemic by expanding access to life-saving treatments and medicines, which can increase their chances of recovery and prevent further tragedies in our families.”

In the same press release, VanderWall said this bill will have tangible benefits for health outcomes in the state.

“Thousands of Michigan families in nearly every community in our state have seen the devastating effects of opioid addiction and abuse,” VanderWall said. “This is a national and statewide fight that requires an all-out effort to win. This reform will ensure that our state and our health care providers are doing everything possible to save lives and also connect patients to effective treatment.

After passing the House, the bill was returned to the Senate for further consideration.

2. Allow community organizations to distribute naloxone

Status: signed by Whitmer

House Bill 5166, introduced by State Rep. Mary Whiteford, R-Casco, would expand access to naloxone and other similar drugs by allowing nonprofit organizations and other social service providers to distribute the drugs to their communities. Naloxone is a lifesaving emergency drug which is mainly used in case of overdose. According to a University of Michigan study, only 54% of pharmacies in Michigan provide naloxone without a prescription, even though Michigan has a standing order requiring all licensed pharmacies to do so.

The bill was a policy recommendation made by the Opioid Task Force, an advisory body within the MDHHS created by Whitmer in 2019. The role of the task force is to identify and address the root causes of the crisis. opioids, implementing MAT and harm reduction programs. and meet the needs of vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women.

In a press release from Whitmer’s office, Whiteford said the bill is particularly important in addressing opioid overdoses because while it is possible to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose, few people have access to the drugs to do so.

“Opiate overdose is unlike any other addiction in that it results in immediate death,” Whiteford said. “HB 5166 enables our local community organizations to provide this life-saving medicine and is essential in giving those suffering from opiate addiction a second chance at recovery.”

Whitmer signed the bill on July 21.

3. Allow the sale of alcohol in college stadiums in Michigan

Status: Presented to the House

Introduced by State Representative Graham Filler, R-Clinton and State Senator Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing, HB 6289 and SB 1125, respectively, would allow the sale of alcohol in college stadiums across the State.

According to a press release from Michigan House Republicans, eight of the Big 10 Conference’s 14 schools sell alcohol in their stadiums. Currently, the University of Michigan does not permit the sale of alcohol in the Big House. State Rep. Graham Filler, R-Clinton, said the policy would not only align Michigan colleges with these institutions, but also benefit the safety and well-being of the campus community.

“This is a matter of fairness and freedom that will enable a modern, more enjoyable college game day experience – but it’s also a matter of public health and safety,” Filler said. “Data from universities in other states clearly shows that the number of alcohol-related incidents in stadiums decreases when the sale of alcohol is permitted. Instead of gorging on alcohol in the parking lot or sneaking in the stadium, fans can simply buy a beer in the lobby.

According to the press release, campus police at Ohio State University reported a 65% decrease in alcohol-related incidents in stadiums after the school implemented a similar policy in 2016.

After being introduced, the bills were referred to the House and Senate regulatory scrutiny committees on June 30.

4. Creation of the Maritime and Port Assistance Grant Program

Status: signed by Whitmer

SB 0744 and HB 5291, introduced by State Senator Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, and State Rep. Jack O’Malley, R-Lake Ann, respectively, create a grant program for ports in Michigan and other marine facilities. The funding will be administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Marine and Port Facilities Support Office.

In a press release from Whitmer’s office, Chang said the law is an important step in strengthening Michigan’s maritime economy and improving the state’s infrastructure.

“Our bipartisan bills present a historic opportunity for Michigan to become more competitive with other states by investing in the maritime industry,” Chang said. “I serve much of the Detroit River and I know that Michigan’s location near the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system is a competitive advantage we need to take care of. These bills signed into law by the Governor (Whitmer) will provide Marine Improvement Grants to allow ports to make necessary infrastructure upgrades, while incentivizing port terminals to protect local communities, our water and our air. .

Whitmer signed the bill on July 19.

5. Require a racial impact statement when introducing new legislation

Status: Presented to the House

First introduced by State Rep. Felicia Brabec, D-Pittsfield, HB 6340, anyone introducing new legislation would be required to provide a statement about whether that legislation will have a “disproportionate or unique impact” on a certain group racial or ethnic. Under the bill, the Senate and House tax agencies would be responsible for performing this analysis.

In May of this year, four Michigan lawmakers introduced legislation that would require a racial and ethnic impact analysis for any bill dealing specifically with criminal proceedings.

In a May press release from Michigan House Democrats, state Rep. David LaGrand, D-Grand Rapids, said the requirement in the previous legislation was analogous to the tax analysis done for each bill.

“As we all know, our House and Senate tax agencies prepare a tax analysis of every bill that receives a committee hearing,” LaGrand said. “We can use a similar mechanism to prepare an analysis of bills that involve our criminal laws to summarize the expected impact of proposed bills from a racial impact and income impact perspective. As we work to build and maintain a state with equal treatment in our justice system, this tool will be invaluable in helping us craft good policies.

Brabec’s proposal extends this requirement to any legislation involving “criminal justice, economic stability, education, employment, health care, housing or transportation.” Since its first reading in the House, the bill has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

Summer News Editor-in-Chief Samantha Rich can be reached at [email protected]