Bills address corrections officer shortages, stabilize rural road patrol funding
State Rep. Julie Calley and the Michigan House this week approved two key public safety measures.
The first plan offers permanent and stable funding for a program that provides police protection to residents of Ionia and Barry counties. The second measure addresses staff shortages at Michigan prisons.
“The men and women in uniform who protect our communities will always have my respect,” Calley said. “The votes we took this week will help eliminate some of the stress and uncertainty our law enforcement and corrections officers face and better support them as they serve our community.”
House Bills 5772, 5773, 5732 and 5569 will stabilize the funding for the state’s secondary road patrol program, which provides funding for sheriffs’ departments, including those in Barry and Ionia counties, to patrol roads outside of cities and villages.
The program has historically been funded by a $10 assessment added to traffic tickets, but this funding has declined over the last 20 years, putting the rural road patrols in jeopardy. The plan Calley supports will dedicate $15 million of the liquor excise taxes collected by the state each year to the program, creating a reliable funding source that will eliminate the uncertainty sheriffs’ departments face each year. The plan would also remove the additional $10 assessment residents pay on traffic tickets.
“Secondary road patrol is a good program that’s worthy of our continued investment,” Calley said. “Rather than leaving our local sheriffs’ departments in suspense every year while the state weighs whether to provide the funding needed to keep the program in operation, we’re putting a long-term solution in place that eliminates the uncertainty.”
House Bill 5765 addresses prison staff shortages by allowing former corrections officers to serve again without having their retirement benefits suspended.
Generally, former state employees who are hired by the state again are not allowed to receive their retirement allowance during their employment. House Bill 5765 would allow retired corrections officers to continue receiving their retirement benefits if they resume limited-term positions with the Michigan Department of Corrections. The exemption would be in effect for two years after the bill becomes law.
“Our corrections officers have incredibly stressful jobs, and staff shortages in our prisons have made their jobs even harder,” Calley said. “By allowing retired officers to return to work, we can help lighten the load and ease some of the mandatory overtime requirements that put the most stress on our dedicated prison workers and their families.”
Both plans received bipartisan support in the House, advancing them to the Senate for further consideration.
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