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Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2013 House Bill 4770: Ban vehicle accident-related commercial solicitations (“ambulance chasing”)
  1. 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.
    • 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.
  2. 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.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. 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.
  4. Passed 35 to 2 in the Senate on December 12, 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.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  5. 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.
  6. Received in the Senate on December 12, 2013.
  7. 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).
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  8. Received in the House on December 12, 2013.
  9. Passed 99 to 10 in the House on December 12, 2013, to concur with the Senate-passed version of the bill.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

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