On the first day of session for the new term, House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) was joined by House Democratic Leader Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) and Attorney General Dana Nessel in supporting legislation reforming the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws. To show the importance being placed on the issue, the bipartisan package of bills were the first to be introduced during the 2019-2020 legislative term. Introduced by Representative Jason Wentworth (R-Clare) and Representative David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids), the bills would require a criminal conviction before private property is seized from people through the civil asset forfeiture process. According to the bill sponsors, they believe the state’s current process violates the due process rights of Michigan residents. The new plan still allows officers to seize property based on probable cause but requires a criminal conviction before law enforcement agencies can sell or use the property. The legislation has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
Similar legislation was debated last term but failed to pass both chambers prior to the end of the legislative term.
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