Michigan’s Snyder Signs Bill Outlawing Cyberbullying

Gov. Rick Snyder signed 48 bills this week, including one that makes it illegal to bully another person online. The new law makes the crime punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.

by Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press / January 2, 2019
Shutterstock/Leremy

(TNS) – Gov. Rick Snyder signed 48 bills into law this week, including one that would make cyberbullying a crime, but vetoed bills that would have translated into more digital billboards in the state and allowed parents to surrender their newborns in "baby boxes."

None of the most controversial bills were included in this batch of bills acted on by Snyder, such as: allowing the Legislature to intervene in any case brought before the state; making it harder to gather the signatures needed to get a proposal on the statewide ballot, or prohibiting the state from implementing any regulations that are stricter than federal law.

He has until noon Tuesday to deal with the rest of the bills on his desk.

Among the legislation vetoed by Snyder was a package of four bills that would have allowed parents to surrender their unwanted babies without fear of consequences in a “newborn safety device,” or a baby box that was built into the side of a critical building, such as a firehouse, police station or hospital.

In his veto letter, Snyder said he didn’t believe it was appropriate to allow parents to surrender their baby by simply depositing the infant in a box, rather than handing the baby to a first responder or a hospital employee.

Included in the latest bills that Snyder signed into law were:

Making cyberbullying a crime, punishable by 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. “Cyberbullying can cause just as much trauma as traditional bullying so it’s important that it be considered a crime. With this bill, we are sending a message that bullying of any kind is not tolerated in Michigan,” Snyder said.

Allowing out-of-state residents to count as in-state employees if they work at a Michigan company that borders another state or Canada to qualify for economic development purposes.

Allow some animals used in fighting operations to be put up for adoption.

Create a license for dental therapists, allowing them to provide dental services in Michigan.

Allow exemptions from the Open Meetings Act for school boards that are discussing school safety plans.

Develop a list of public safety officials who can’t be interfered with if they’re using drones and establish penalties for people who use a drone in a manner that interferes with the operations of a key facility.

Allow the Ladies Professional Golf Association Champions Tournament to become eligible for a sporting event liquor license and allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages at university conference centers.

Limit the ability of local units of government from imposing licensing requirements on certain occupations.

Among the other bills vetoed by Snyder:

Revisions to the Highway Advertising Act that Snyder said would result in an increase in the number of digital billboards in the state.

Require the state to offer current public school employees an option to purchase annuities as a retirement option. Snyder said it was inappropriate for the Legislature, which doesn’t have a fiduciary responsibility for the retirement plan participants, to decide what options should be offered to state employees.

Create an exemption for automobile club contracts from requirements of the insurance code. Snyder said it would allow automobile clubs to provide services without any oversight by the state.

Snyder had already vetoed four bills last week, including bills that would have: delayed federal rules that dictate the size of enclosures for egg-bearing hens; created a tax credit for first time home buyers and given the state Auditor General unrestricted access to confidential information from state departments, which Snyder called a "constitutional overreach."

©2018 the Detroit Free Press. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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