Governor signs bills honoring Blue Star Mothers, protecting fair and free elections, and supporting clean energy

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed bipartisan legislation that designates February 1 as “Blue Star Mothers Day,” establishes guidelines to support fair and free elections, and enables homeowners to implement clean energy home improvements, among other legislation. 

Senate Bill 235, sponsored by state Senator Rick Outman (R- Six Lakes), designates "Blue Star Mothers Day" as February 1, honoring the courage, strength, and sacrifice of mothers, stepmothers,
grandmothers, foster mothers, and female legal guardians whose children have served or are currently serving in the military, guard, or reserves.  

Senate Bill 603, sponsored by state Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), modifies Michigan's recount process as well as recount filing fees. 

The bill mandates that recounts will be allowed for precincts that have an imbalance between the ballots collected and ballots issued as long as they provide a satisfactory explanation and a sworn affidavit in a form prescribed by the Secretary of State. 

The bill also updates Michigan's recount filing fees to better account for the costs of conducting a recount.  

Senate Bill 604, sponsored by state Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), changes the sentencing guidelines for certain Michigan election law violations, specifically related to recount violations. 

House Bill 5028, sponsored by state Representative Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton) gives homeowners the freedom to make energy-saving home improvements to their property, such as installing solar panels.  

Senate Bill 251, sponsored by state Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), modifies Michigan’s bus display requirements to comply with standing Federal law. 

The bill eliminates the requirement for buses to display the motor carrier’s primary phone number. By removing the display of the primary phone number, motor carriers will no longer be at risk of receiving prank calls or other unwanted attention from individuals who spotted the number on the road.  

Senate Bill 417, sponsored by state Senator Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), amends the State Housing and Development Authority Act, making modifications to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA)’s PassThrough Bond Program. 

By supporting the creation of certain senior housing projects and allowing eligible borrowers to have up to $100 million in outstanding loan commitments, the bill addresses critical housing needs and fulfills an MSHDA top priority.  

Senate Bill 465, sponsored by state Senator Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), requires individuals to keep at least a 200-foot distance between their vehicle and a snowplow, among other restrictions. By ensuring snowplow operators have the proper space and time to clear the roads, Michigan’s roads and neighborhoods will be safer to drive on and walk around throughout the winter.  

Senate Bill 498, sponsored by state Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), modifies the requirements to change a child’s foster care placement. 

Under the new law, tribal governments will be involved in cases of Native children within the foster care system, by requiring notification to the foster child's tribe if there are proposed changes to the child's placement. By acknowledging the prevailing social and cultural values, conditions, and ways of life, as well as specific tribe preferences, the welfare of Native children will be a top priority.  

Senate Bill 682, sponsored by state Senator John N. Damoose (R-Harbor Springs), implements a speed limit for bikes and electric bikes (e-bikes) on the state highway that surrounds Mackinac Island. 

Given that the highway prohibits motor vehicles, e-bikes, that can reach up to 20-28 miles per hour, have posed safety concerns. This bill sets a 15 mile-per-hour speed limit.

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