Governor signs bills eliminating outdated laws

 Cursing in front of women or children or playing the national anthem out of tune will no longer be criminal acts punishable by jail time in Michigan under legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder.
“Modernizing state government is an ongoing effort,” Snyder said. ““I appreciate the work of the legislature in analyzing the criminal code and eliminating statutes that no longer make sense in the 21st century.”

One bill, sponsored by state Rep. Chris Afendoulis, repeals a number of outdated criminal laws, including the aforementioned acts as well as six crimes relating to “dueling,” or refusing to help fight a forest fire.  Another measure, sponsored by state Rep. Michael Webber, eliminates crimes related to trespassing that were made redundant by newer, broader statutes. 

These include trampling or otherwise injuring cranberry vines or huckleberry or blackberry bushes without the permission of the owner or occupant. T
Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Rob VerHeulen repeals a law making it a misdemeanor to promote, conduct or participate in “endurance contests,” otherwise known as walkathons. 

Walkathons are commonly used in Michigan to raise money for charitable organizations. 

A meaure sponsored by state Rep. Kurt Heise deletes sentencing guidelines for the felonies being repealed under the above measures while legislation put forth by Rep. John Bizon replaces a reference to “deformed human being or human monstrosity” with “disabled or disfigured.”

Other bills signed into law this week will:

• delete criminal penalties associated with failing to post a registration card when camping on DNR land. The provision replaces the misdemeanor charge with a civil infraction so that it is does not appear on a person’s permanent criminal record.

• eliminate the requirement that a prisoner not be released from incarceration until all fines are paid and eliminates the option for a judge to sentence a prisoner to solitary confinement or hard labor in prison or jail. 

• allow a real estate seller or buyer who paid tax on behalf of the seller to request a refund of the tax paid if they believe the property was eligible for exemption at the time of transfer. The bill is retroactive to June 24, 2011. 

• extend the sunset of the Commercial Rehabilitation Act until Dec. 31, 2020.