New Michigan laws

a service dog

With the proper documentation service animals can now accompany their human companions. Courtesy | Zachary Hofferber

BY JENELLE FRANKLIN

Contributor

 

January 2016 brought more than just new year’s resolutions, it was also the beginning of

new laws in Michigan.

 

Service Animals:

 

Service animal owners are now able to obtain a voluntary state ID, and patch for their

companions. These service animals and their owners are now more protected when

entering businesses and public accommodations as of Jan.18th, 2016.

Punishments for falsely declaring an animal as a service animal also stiffened, according

to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, penalties include: jail time, heavy fines

upwards of $500 and a misdemeanor charge.Veteran’s diagnosed with PTSD, and other disabilities are now stated as necessitating a companion animal.

Army Veteran Zach Hofferber, 29, of Ann Arbor is studying to be a physical therapy

assistant at WCC. He currently has Maggie, his future service dog in a 6-8 week training program.

“I look forward most to bringing her to class,” Hofferber said.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act and The federal Fair Housing Act,

landlords cannot consider service animals to be pets, and they cannot ask specifics about

tenant’s disabilities.

“She is fee-free of pet fees, pet rent, and license fees,” Hofferber said.

 

Search and Seizure:

 

New law mandates for more rigorous definition on search warrants before police can

enter or take personal property, and a new database for storing asset sums. The bills

passed unanimously on Oct. 7, 2015 and were implemented on Jan. 18, 2016; requiring

police departments to report all assets received from raids and seizures, and according to

the Institute for Justice, the standard of proof must now be deemed “clear and convincing

evidence” from a crime before it can be seized.

Dayana Sanchez, 20, of Ann Arbor is a Psychology major at WCC. Sanchez has had her vehicle searched by officers during a traffic stop.

“They searched through everything but didn’t take anything with them. I was given a

ticket for no proof of insurance and then they let me leave,” Sanchez said. She was

unaware of the D- grade Michigan received from the institute of Justice prior to Jan. 18.

 

E-Insurance:

 

Effective Jan. 18, drivers only need a digital copy of their auto insurance to show police

during a traffic stop, and are not required to keep a paper copy in their vehicle. According to Michigan legislature, police officers are only able to view the insurance and are not able to manipulate the device in any way, and may request a copy to be forwarded to them for verification.

Although communications major Brooke Mcallister, 18, of Ypsilanti wouldn’t mind handing her phone over to an officer on good faith to make things easier, she will continue to keep her paper copy.

“There are so many things that could happen, like your phone being dead, for one. You would get a ticket if you didn’t have a way to charge it,” Mcallister said.

 

Powdered Alcohol:

 

Powdered alcohol was approved for sale in the United States on March 10, 2015. As of Jan. 26, 2016, Michigan has banned the sales and use of palcohol. Palcohol has not been released for purchase, only previously approved by the Tax and Trade Bureau.

According to creator Mark Phillips’ online video, Palcohol packets contain the same amount of alcohol as one liquid shot. When asked about the dangers of a powdered form of alcohol, WCC healthcare foundations major, Imad Alghazali, finds the ban to be an overreach by the legislature.

“If there will be fines and repercussions that could lead to jail time, it is not improving our state. The sale and consumption of alcohol is already monitored, so our previous laws could have been adapted,” Alghazali said.

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