Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation establishing the Organized Retail Crime Act to protect consumers by cracking down on the increasing prevalence of retail fraud. The governor called for the legislation in his special message on public safety.
House Bills 5843 and 5902, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Graves, would make it a felony punishable by up to five years' imprisonment if a person is found guilty of knowingly committing organized retail crime. This includes the theft of retail merchandise with the intent or purpose of reselling, distributing, or transferring the stolen retail merchandise to another retail merchant or to any other person personally, through the mail, or through any electronic medium, including the internet, in exchange for anything of value. The measures are now Public Acts 455 and 456 of 2012.
"Organized retail crime is a sophisticated operation conducted by professional criminals and can act as a gateway to finance even more serious crimes," Snyder said. "These crimes are costing our businesses and our communities too much and law enforcement will now be better able to combat this growing threat."
In addition, Snyder signed 21 other bills.
HB 4725, sponsored by state Rep. Tom McMillin, prohibits certain governmental agencies from disclosing personally identifying information pertaining to minor victims of child abuse, criminal sexual conduct, sexual assaults or molestation, or similar crimes. It is now PA 457.
HB 4804, sponsored by state Rep. Roy Schmidt, revises the monthly payment-in-advance mandate for state use tax payments by large retailers or vendors who would also have to submit the money by electronic funds transfer. It is now PA 458.
HB 4838, sponsored by state Rep. Sharon Tyler, creates the "Interstate Mutual Emergency Aid Act" to authorize the state and local units of government to enter into mutual aid agreements with out-of-state units of government to provide for the coordination of communications, training, and response to planned events and emergencies. It is now PA 459.
HB 4856, sponsored by state Rep. Ben Glardon, prohibits the transfer of medicinal marijuana by vehicle unless the drug is enclosed in a case and placed in the vehicle's trunk or secured in a way that is not readily accessible from the interior of the vehicle. It is now PA 460.
HB 5047, sponsored by state Rep. Harold Haugh, allows local units of government to submit final tax settlement rolls in an electronic format provided the format is compatible with the computer system used by the corresponding county treasurer. It is now PA 461.
HB 5156, sponsored by state Rep. Joel Johnson, exempts insurance company employees and agents, lawyers and certain other professionals from needing an insurance adjuster license. It is now PA 462.
HB 5220, sponsored by state Rep. Marty Knollenberg, allows a petitioner or a local tax collecting unit to request an informal settlement conference after a petition was filed in the Residential Property and Small Claims Division of the Tax Tribunal. It is now PA 463.
HB 5261, sponsored by state Rep. Holly Hughes, allows teachers retired for more than one year an approximate one-year window to reenter the classroom (for up to 3 years) if they are on a critical shortage list as determined by the state superintendent. It is now PA 464.
HB 5267, sponsored by state Rep. Bob Genetski, provides for a school district to qualify for special pupil membership counting provisions, as well as a seat time exemption, if the district operated a dropout recovery program that met specified criteria. It is now PA 465.
HB 5301, sponsored by state Rep. Amanda Price, requires charter counties to certify their compensation, retirement and health plans for employees conform to certain standards as a condition of receiving state road funds beginning Sept. 30, 2014. It is now PA 466.
HB 5444, sponsored by state Rep. Jud Gilbert, allows Michigan-based trucking companies to receive sales and use tax exemptions for the post-purchase installation of equipment and parts. It is now PA 467.
HB 5466, sponsored by state Rep. Kurt Heisse, eliminates the requirement that a contractor, architect, professional engineer or professional survey indemnify a public entity from all claims in a construction contract. It is now PA 468.
HB 5852, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Daley, ensures that the price of gasoline is clear and posted correctly for consumers while allowing retailers additional time to make changes to their signs. It is now PA 469.
HB 5873, sponsored by state Rep. Anthony Forlini, changes the Police and Fire Survivors Tuition Act to a tuition "grant" program, and raises the eligibility age from 21 to 26. It also moves the administrative responsibility for the program from the Michigan State Police to the Department of Treasury. It is now PA 470.
HB 5883, sponsored by state Rep. Joel Johnson, replaces specific restrictions and regulations on catching fish with a net with a general grant of authority by the Department of Natural Resources. It is now PA 471.
HB 5931, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Lori, allows the Department of Community Health to use email to notify of Medicaid policy changes to Medicaid enrolled providers. It is now PA 472.
HB 5936, sponsored by state Rep. Holly Hughes, provides a driving skills test waiver for qualified military veterans seeking a commercial driver license. It is now PA 473.
HB 5937, sponsored by state Rep. Peter MacGregor, creates a use tax exemption for general contractors and manufacturer-contractors for the affixation of tangible personal property to real estate located in another state. It prevents businesses that both manufacture and install tangible personal property in other states from being double taxed. It is now PA 474.
HB 5732, sponsored by state Rep. Jud Gilbert, allows a company or developer with historical resource rehabilitation tax credit to sell all or part of the credit to other firms. It is now PA 475.
SB 931, sponsored by state Sen. Roger Kahn, provides supplemental budget appropriations for the Department of Community Health to support behavioral health services for Medicaid-eligible children in foster care and child protective services. It also grants additional funds to Grand Rapids Community College for renovations to Cook Academic Hall. The bill also accounts for book closing on FY 12 so that the state's financial statements are balanced and accurate. It is now PA 476.
HB 5461, sponsored by state Rep. Deb Shaughnessy, amends sentencing guidelines to include an unemployment compensation fraud offense as a Class H felony against property subject to a statutory maximum of one year's imprisonment. This will apply to violations in which a person obtains or withholds an amount of unemployment benefits or payments exceeding $3,500 but less than $25,000 as a result of a knowingly false statement or representation or failing to disclose a material fact. It is now PA 477.
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.