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New laws in effect

AP Wire • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:50 PM

A slew of state government spending regulations kick in each year on July 1. Policy laws also hit the books in a wave, though states like Michigan often mark their independence by enacting such legislation on their own time.

Among those is the indigent defense bills Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law on Monday.

Lawmakers recently backed bills to establish statewide standards and tap into the state's coffers to pad cash-strapped counties' legal defense funds. The measure creates a permanent state commission to establish standards designed to ensure effective counsel is given to low-income defendants.

Local governments will have to fund indigent defense at the average level they spent in the three years before the creation of the commission. The state plans to cover new costs for counties to improve their public defense systems, a tab estimated to run $50 million a year in the future.

Here are two other measures awaiting Snyder's signature or that were signed recently:

— CLOSING SCHOOLS: The state's school superintendent and treasurer could dissolve a deficit-ridden district and send the students to nearby schools under legislation expected to be signed by Snyder. The bills are specifically designed to address two struggling districts in the Detroit and Saginaw areas. Inkster and Buena Vista districts face the prospect of not having enough money to reopen for classes in September. Only districts with 300 to 2,400 students could be impacted if other certain criteria are met.

— FIREWORKS: A law signed June 19 gives local governments in Michigan power to restrict the use of fireworks during nighttime hours on the day before, during and after a national holiday. After lawmakers legalized louder, more powerful fireworks in Michigan in late 2011, they began hearing from residents and local officials upset about noise and safety issues last year. A local government could impose a maximum fine of $500 per violation of a fireworks ordinance under the new law.

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