2014-01-02 / Community

Snyder signs bills to fight blight, Bridge Card fraud

LANSING – Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed bipartisan legislation to help strengthen penalties for owners of blighted property.

“This is a good plan that will give more tools to communities throughout Michigan that are fighting blight,” Snyder said. “Blight is more than just a visual problem. It also negatively affects our economy by reducing property values, making it harder to bring more and better jobs to our state, and also threatening public safety. These new laws will help communities continue the positive changes they are already making in the effort to eliminate blight.”

Senate Bill 35, sponsored by state Sen. Virgil Smith, authorizes additional penalties for failing to pay fines imposed by administrative hearing bureaus that many cities are allowed to create for enforcing blight violations.

“These blight bills will go a long way in giving communities the tools they need to clean up and retake their neighborhoods. I’m excited to see them become law,” said Smith. The bill is now PA 188 of 2013.

SB 36, sponsored by state Sen. Bert Johnson, allows local governments to deny zoning authorization for property owners who have failed to pay fines imposed for blight violations. It is now PA 189.

SB 37, sponsored by state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, allows local governments to ban building permits for property owners who have failed to pay fines imposed for blight violations. It is now PA 190.

SB 38, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, allows local governments to garnish the wages of property owners who have failed to pay fines imposed for blight violations. It is now PA 191.

SB 39, sponsored by state Sen. Tupac Hunter, allows local governments to foreclose on property owned by a person who has failed to pay fines imposed for blight violations. It is now PA 192.

The governor also signed six bills to help reduce fraudulent use of Bridge Cards:

Senate Bills 434 and 556, and House Bills 4858, 4859, 5014 and 5015, ban Bridge Card holders from using the cards at certain automatic teller machines .

SB 434, also sponsored by Jones, requires a credit union that operates ATMs in a casino, liquor store, or “adult entertainment establishment” to ensure it does not allow a person to use a Bridge Card to withdraw cash. It is now PA 193.

SB 556, also sponsored by Jones, requires state agencies to work with ATM suppliers to stop a Bridge Card from being used to withdraw cash in a liquor store or “adult entertainment establishment.” It is now PA 194.

HB 4858, sponsored by state Rep. Margaret O’Brien, requires a bank that operates ATMs in a casino, liquor store, or “adult entertainment establishment” to ensure it does not allow a person to use a Bridge Card to withdraw cash. It is now PA 195.

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