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Gov. Snyder signs 2 more bills into law

Dec 19th, 2013 - State News

Governor Rick Snyder has signed laws to block welfare recipients from withdrawing their taxpayer-provided cash from ATMs in liquor stores, horse tracks and strip clubs.

The laws signed Wednesday are similar to a state law enacted last year for casino ATMs.

Under federal law, states that don't restrict welfare recipients' ability to conduct electronic transfers at liquor stores, casinos or adult entertainment establishments could lose up to 5 percent of their federal welfare funding.

The six bills were sponsored by Republican Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge along with Republican Representatives Margaret O'Brien of Portage and Dale Zorn of Ida.

Governor Snyder also has signed laws strengthening penalties against owners of blighted property.

The laws put more teeth in a 2003 Michigan law by letting cities with anti-blight bureaus pursue criminal charges against people who owe unpaid blight fines and costs.

The laws bills are meant to help Detroit and other cities clean up neighborhoods full of dilapidated houses, junked cars, trash and uncut weeds. They let cities refuse to rezone blighted properties or give building permits to their owners who have outstanding fines.

City officials could garnish wages for blight violations and put a lien on blighted properties.

Snyder says blight isn't just a visual problem but also reduces property values and threatens public safety. The main bill was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Virgil Smith of Detroit.

Another law that the Governor signed would ensure people who file certain types of lawsuits against the state of Michigan have a right to a jury trial.

The law amends a law passed last month that gave jurisdiction over state suits to different judges.

Majority Republicans took lawsuits against the state away from Ingham County judges in the Democratic-leaning Lansing area and moved them to four appeals court judges. The new Court of Claims also has jurisdiction over suits against the state that county judges were overseeing.

Snyder says the new law clarifies that nothing in the month-old law eliminates any right to a jury trial or deprives a state trial court of jurisdiction over claims where there's a right to a jury trial.

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