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2013 House Bill 4770: Ban vehicle accident-related commercial solicitations (“ambulance chasing”)

Public Act 218 of 2013

Introduced by Rep. Ellen Lipton (D) on May 23, 2013 To prohibit public access to vehicle accident reports for 30 days after the accident, except for individuals involved in accident, the vehicle owners, affected property owners, their family members and lawyers, the insurance companies, prosecutors, newspaper and broadcast journalists (but not citizen journalists), and relevant government agencies. Obtaining the report for purposes of commercial solicitation (“ambulance chasing”) would be banned, with violations subject to two years in prison and a $15,000 fine.   Official Text and Analysis.
Referred to the House Judiciary Committee on May 23, 2013
Reported in the House on September 12, 2013 With the recommendation that the substitute (H-2) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
Substitute offered in the House on October 8, 2013 To replace the previous version of the bill with one that revises details but does not change the substance as previously described.
The substitute failed by voice vote in the House on October 8, 2013
Substitute offered by Rep. Joseph Graves (R) on October 8, 2013 To adopt a version of the bill that does not attempt to limit access by defining who may or may not get an accident report - including a controversial attempt to define eligible "journalists" - and instead just bans getting a report for purposes of "ambulance chasing".
The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on October 8, 2013
Amendment offered by Rep. Joseph Haveman (R) on October 8, 2013 To make second and subsequent violations subject to a $30,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on October 8, 2013
Amendment offered by Rep. Joseph Graves (R) on October 9, 2013 To remove provisions related to a first-offense felony penalty authorized by the original version of the bill but not included in the final version.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on October 9, 2013
Passed 98 to 10 in the House on October 9, 2013 To restrict public access to vehicle accident reports for 30 days after the crash by requiring outside parties who want the report to file a statement that they will not use it for commercial solicitation ("ambulance chasing"). The original bill's attempt to limit access by defining "journalist" was removed. Violations would be subject to a $15,000 fine, and subsequent violations with up to one year in jail.
Received in the Senate on October 10, 2013
Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 10, 2013
Reported in the Senate on November 7, 2013 With the recommendation that the substitute (S-1) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
Substitute offered in the Senate on December 11, 2013
The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on December 11, 2013
Amendment offered by Sen. Steve Bieda (D) on December 12, 2013 To exempt lawyers from the proposed restriction. The amendment cites current Michigan court rules of conduct that already prohibit "ambulance chasing" solicitations by lawyers.
The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on December 12, 2013
Passed 35 to 2 in the Senate on December 12, 2013 (same description)
To restrict public access to vehicle accident reports for 30 days after the crash by requiring outside parties who want the report to file a statement that they will not use it for commercial solicitation ("ambulance chasing"). The original bill's attempt to limit access by defining "journalist" was removed. Violations would be subject to a $15,000 fine, and subsequent violations with up to one year in jail.
Motion by Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R) on December 12, 2013 To reconsider the vote by which the bill was passed.
The motion passed by voice vote in the Senate on December 12, 2013
Received in the Senate on December 12, 2013
Passed 35 to 3 in the Senate on December 12, 2013 To pass the bill again after revising some definitions and increasing proposed maximum penalties (from $15,000 to $30,000 for a first violation).
Received in the House on December 12, 2013
Passed 99 to 10 in the House on December 12, 2013 To concur with the Senate-passed version of the bill.
Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on December 21, 2013

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