Snyder signs bills to save lives, prevent overdose deaths

Michiganders of all ages can seek medical assistance for themselves or others without fear of prosecution in the case of a potential drug overdose as a result of legislation signed last Thursday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“The addiction epidemic in our state continues to claim too many lives and now Michiganders can seek help before more unnecessary deaths occur,” Snyder said. “This legislation is another powerful tool in the efforts to fight prescription drug and opioid abuse across our state.” 

House Bills 5649 and 5650, sponsored by state Reps. Al Pscholka and Sam Singh, respectively, extend Michigan’s Good Samaritan exemption to all ages when seeking medical attention for a drug overdose. The bill expands a 2015 law signed by Snyder exempting individuals under age 21 from prosecution from drug-related charges when seeking medical aid for themselves or someone else.
This effort was a recommendation of the Michigan Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse Task Force led by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. The bills are now Public Acts 307-308 of 2016.

Snyder also signed six additional bills:

Senate Bill 956, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Stamas, ensures that the state Capitol and its grounds are maintained by specifying that funding for the Michigan State Capitol Historic Site Fund from the tobacco tax will not fall below $3 million annually during years of negative inflation. The bill is now PA 309.

SB 1007, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, ensures that eligible autism insurance carriers and third-party administrators receive prorated reimbursement for paid claims related to autism services performed prior to 2016. The Autism Coverage Reimbursement Act was enacted to encourage companies and insurers to provide autism coverage not required by the Affordable Care Act.  The fund was not renewed for 2016 but funds were appropriated to pay outstanding claims at a prorated rate for autism services provided prior to 2016.  Current law does not allow for proration and would allocate these funds on a first-come, first-served basis, resulting in some claims not being paid.  By allowing for proration, it is estimated this bill will result in all claims being reimbursed at approximately 84 percent of the amount submitted. The bill is now PA 310.

HB 5106, sponsored by state Rep. Tom Barrett, allows the governor to place Michigan National Guard members on duty for large scale non-emergency events that may occur. In these circumstances, Michigan National Guard members would not have any police powers or arrest authority. The bill is now PA 311.

HB 5283, sponsored by state Rep. Michael Webber, aims to increase distribution of unclaimed property to rightful owners by allowing information about property unclaimed for at least 24 months after the state receives it to be provided to national search firms registered with the state of Michigan. It is now PA 312.

HB 5291, sponsored by state Rep. Al Pscholka, makes technical fixes to the School Aid Budget specifications to ensure all programs can be properly executed. This bill makes no changes to education spending. It is now PA 313.

For additional information on this and other legislation, www.legislature.mi.gov.

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