Michigan’s Red Flag Bills

Over the last few months, we have been discussing what are red flag laws, do they work, and how they intersect with Due Process. In the final blog in this series, we will explore what has happened in Michigan with red flag laws and what you can do.

The most recent bills (HB 4283-HB 4285 of 2019) in the House of Representative were introduced by Representative Robert Wittenberg. This is not Rep. Wittenberg’s first time introducing a red flag bill before the House of Representatives. This is third time trying to pass a bill introducing red flag laws to Michigan. His previous bills include HB 4942 of 2015 and HB 4706 of 2017. Each time he introduced his bill to the House of Representatives, it has stalled in the Committee on Judiciary. His most recent bills HB 4283 – HB 4285 of 2019 were referred to the Committee on Judiciary on February 28, 2019 and no further action is recorded in the Michigan Legislature history.

In his bills, he is seeking to introduce an act to be known s “extreme risk protection order act.” This is just another name for a red flag law. HB 4283 of 2019 is the definition statute of the act that he proposes. HB 4284 of 2019 would amend 1927 PA 327, specifically amend section 2, 2b, and 5 known as MCL 28.422, MCL 28.422b, and MCL 28.425b. Finally, HB 4285 of 2019 would add section 15e to the criminal laws of the state. The purpose of this bill is to provide criminal penalties for making a false statement in a complaint for an extreme risk protection order.

Rep. Wittenberg is not alone in his quest to bring a red flag to Michigan. Similar bills were introduced into the Michigan Senate on two separate occasions. The first occurred in 2018. This was Senate Bill 0937of 2018 and was introduced by Senator David Knezek. Like Rep. Wittenberg’s bills, Senate Bill 0937 of 2018 never made it out of the Committee on Government Operations. The next time a bill for a red flag law was introduced was on February 28, 2019. This time Senate Bill 0156 of 2019 was introduced by Senator Mallory McMorrow. Like the bills, Senate Bill 0156 of 2019 is stalled in the Committee on Government Operations.

Because the attempts to pass legislation have not yet proved successful, Michiganders should become apathetic toward such a bill making its way to the Governor’s desk. If you are concerned about red flag law bills passing through our legislature, then periodically search for bills relating to the following terms, “civil procedure; injunctions; extreme risk protection order act; enact.” When you see such a bill making it way into or out of committee, contact your Representative and Senator and let your voice be heard.

While Michigan does not yet have a red flag law, we have personal protection orders, also known as restraining orders. If you are served with a personal protection order, do not toss it aside. You have a limited amount of time to exercise your rights, which you should do. After being served, contact an attorney that defends against personal protection orders immediately.

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