By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
Michigan lawmakers finished up their work for the year Thursday, Dec. 2, after acting on numerous bills. Among the bills that garnered attention from lawmakers on the final day of the 2010 session was an effort to advance the proposed Detroit River International Crossing and a bill to protect police from requirements to issue tickets to boost job performance results.
Senators rejected an attempt to force a floor vote on a bill that would permit the Michigan Department of Transportation to enter into public-private partnerships. The funding method is pegged as an option to complete the $5.3 billion project connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.
The House approved the bill during the spring. Since then, HB4961 had remained in a Senate committee. Supporters tried using a procedural tactic to get a Senate floor vote before the lame-duck session ended Thursday night.
Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun opposes the proposed bridge project. He has been pushing to build his own bridge next to the Ambassador, which is about two miles from the proposed DRIC site.
The DRIC issue can be brought back for consideration during the session that begins Jan. 12, 2011.
Thanks to a last-minute push, one effort that will not have to wait until next year for approval prohibits an officer’s performance evaluation system from requiring a predetermined number of citations. Ticket writing in general still could be considered.
The Senate approved a motion to release the bill from committee. The move permitted the full Senate to vote on HB5287, where it was approved by unanimous consent. It now moves to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s desk.
Ticket quotas have been outlawed in Michigan for 30 years. However, since the late ’80s, a loophole has allowed tickets issued to be used in evaluations of traffic enforcement officers, as long as ticket writing is weighed equally among other job criteria.
The Detroit News published a list of communities that appear to have taken full advantage of the exemption allowing ticket mandates. Cities had requirements for their traffic officers to write anywhere from 15 tickets a month to 60 tickets a month.
Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, has said that ticket quotas have no business being included in any evaluation of a police officer. His bill would outlaw its use.
“In effect, it would give the discretion to the police officer whether or not a ticket is warranted instead of a department having an unwritten, but well-known, policy that officers have to issue X number of tickets by a set period of time,” Anderson previously told Land Line.
Anderson pointed out that he has no problem with police issuing a ticket if it would have “the greatest impact to alter their driving habit.”
To view other legislative activities of interest for Michigan, click here.
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