Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed legislation regulating cell phone use by prisoners.
Senate Bills 551 and 552, sponsored by state Sen. Goeff Hansen, prevent inmates from using a cellular phone or other wireless devices on the grounds of a correctional facility unless authorized by the state Department of Corrections (MDOC). No cell phones or wireless devices can be deposited on the grounds of any building used for jail purposes. Any confiscated devices will be donated to military personnel or given to an approved charity.
"All of our corrections facilities employees take personal risks every day to serve their communities," Snyder said. "It is important we continue to instill safety precautions to protect our workers to the best of our ability."
The bills are now Public Acts 255 and 256 of 2012.
The governor also signed six other bills.
S.B. 193, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, improves safety standards and protects those who sell fireworks in compliance with the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act. The bill establishes a graduated penalty system for businesses who do not obtain the proper certification to sell fireworks. Violators will be charged $5,000 for the first offense, $20,000 for the second offense and $40,000 following a third offense. The bill is now P.A. 257.
S.B. 853, sponsored by state Sen. Judy Emmons, alters the background check process for driver's education employees. The new process enables an agency to receive a criminal history and any record of possible future offenses by specifically using a fingerprint based system. The bill is now P.A. 258.
S.B. 861, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, repeals the sunset date for MDOC's Special Alternative Incarceration program. The program allows a prisoner to serve 90 days before being placed on parole for the remainder of their sentence and was scheduled to end on Sept. 30, 2012. The bill repeals the end date, it is now P.A. 259.
House Bill 5468, sponsored by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt, enables collection of 9-1-1 charges for prepaid cellular devices including two-way communication systems and radio telephones. Previously, charges were collected by service suppliers; they will now be collected directly from the retailer. The bill is now P.A. 260.
H.B. 5658, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Havemen, provides private contractors an opportunity to hire inmates for the production of goods or services to be used solely within the grounds of a correctional or re-entry facility. Working inmates are not entitled to receive minimum wage. The bill is now P.A. 261.
H.B. 4146, sponsored by state Rep. Jud Gilbert, improves safety standards of snow removal vehicles. Any vehicle with a plow or other device used to remove snow or ice from roads must be equipped with a visible yellow or amber light that rotates 360 degrees and covers a distance of at least 500 feet from the vehicle. The bill is now P.A. 262.
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.