Advocacy Update

Forrest WallWritten by Forrest Wall, CAE, Staff Vice President
and Industry Relations

Legislature Approves Revised Judicature Act Change
The Michigan Senate and Michigan House of Representatives have passed a bill to amend the Revised Judicature Act in a section of the law relating to unlawful interference with a tenant’s possessory interest. Senate Bill 112 changes a provision in the law that protects a property owner from a violation of a tenant’s possessory interest in cases where the owner believes in good faith that the tenant has abandoned the premises. The legislation adds language that, in addition to the owner, a determination of abandonment could be made by a court officer, bailiff, or deputy sheriff. The original version of this legislation, sponsored by Senator Peter J. Lucido (R-8th District), actually replaced the ability of the owner to determine abandonment with a requirement that it be a court officer, bailiff, or deputy sheriff. After discussing the issue with Sen. Lucido, the original ownership determination of abandonment was added back. This is an important provision in the law, as a property owner found in violation under this section is subject to damages. The legislation now goes to Governor Whitmer for her approval.

Amendment to Elliott-Larson Act Proposed
A bill has recently been introduced in the Michigan Senate to amend the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act. Senate Bill 351 would amend all relevant sections of the act (title, scope, employment, real estate, etc.) to include sexual orientation, gender identity or expression among the protected classes under the law. Currently, Michigan’s civil rights law prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, familial status, and marital status. However, last year the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) ordered the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) to investigate complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. MCRC interpreted the word “sex” in Elliott-Larson to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

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