Bill reducing penalties for underage drinking one step closer to becoming reality

Capital News Service
LANSING — A bill to lessen penalties on minors caught with alcohol will get a hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee next Tuesday. . The bill, which passed almost unanimously in the Senate this March, states that a Minor in Possession (MIP) charge would be reduced from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction on the first offense. Currently, people under 21 who are caught drinking are charged with a misdemeanor that can sometimes be expunged from their record if they complete probation. Probation includes random testing, substance abuse counseling, monthly reporting, a $100 fine, court and probation costs and costs for testing and treatment.

Local officials fear final end of personal property tax

Capital News Service
LANSING – Local governments across northern Michigan would face more budget cuts because of a personal property tax proposal passed by the Senate and awaiting House action. The proposal would exempt businesses from taxes on personal property like machines, desks and supplies. Local governments rely on the personal property tax to finance public services. Josh Reid, who chairs the Gladwin County Board of Commissioners, said he is not confident that the state will make up the loss if the proposal becomes law. “We have zero confirmation there will be replacement revenue,” he said.