Legislation watch
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
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2003 House Bill 4600
  1. Introduced by Rep. Edward Gaffney (R) on April 30, 2003, to prohibit first-year drivers from having more than one passenger other than family members in the car.
    • Referred to the House Transportation Committee on April 30, 2003.
      • Reported in the House on October 16, 2003, with the recommendation that the substitute (H-3) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the House on October 30, 2003, to replace the previous version of the bill with one which incorporates technical changes that do not affect the substance of the bill as previously described. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on October 30, 2003.
    • Substitute offered by Rep. Gene DeRossett (R) on October 30, 2003, to replace the previous version of the bill with one which incorporates technical changes that do not affect the substance of the bill as previously described. The substitute passed by voice vote in the House on October 30, 2003.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Edward Gaffney (R) on October 30, 2003, to establish that the bill will go into effect on May 1, 2005. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on October 30, 2003.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R) on October 30, 2003, to make an exception for young drivers who are accompanied in the car by a parent or legal guardian, or who have with them written authorization from a parent or legal guardian to carry more than one non-family passenger. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on October 30, 2003.
  2. Passed 57 to 43 in the House on October 30, 2003, to prohibit first-year drivers from having more than one passenger other than family members in the car. The bill makes an exception for young drivers who are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or who have with them written authorization from a parent or legal guardian to carry more than one non-family passenger.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the Senate on November 4, 2003.
    • Referred to the Senate Transportation Committee on November 4, 2003.
    • Reported in the Senate on March 24, 2004, with the recommendation that the substitute (S-2) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the Senate on October 5, 2004, to replace the previous version of the bill with one that makes violations a secondary offense only, meaning that a driver cannot be pulled over for violations, but can be cited if pulled over for another offense. The substitute also removes the provision allowing a youth with written authorization from a parent or legal guardian to carry more than one non-family passenger. The substitute passed by voice vote in the Senate on October 5, 2004.
    • Substitute offered by Sen. Jud Gilbert (R) on October 6, 2004. The substitute failed by voice vote in the Senate on October 6, 2004.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Valde Garcia (R) on October 6, 2004, to allow a driver covered by the bill to carry more than one passenger if the extra passenger is 18 years of age and has graduated from high school. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on October 6, 2004.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Burton Leland (D) on October 6, 2004, to prohibit the graduated drivers license level 2 drivers covered by the bill from engaging in any activity that distracts them while driving, including eating or drinking, grooming himself or another person, listening to the radio or CD, watching television, or using a telephone. The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on October 6, 2004.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Gilda Jacobs (D) on October 6, 2004, to allow the drivers covered by the bill to carry more than one passenger if they have written authorization from a parent or legal guardian. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on October 6, 2004.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Gilda Jacobs (D) on October 6, 2004, to prohibit the graduated drivers license level 2 drivers covered by the bill from using a telephone while driving. The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on October 6, 2004.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Valde Garcia (R) on October 6, 2004, to allow a driver covered by the bill to carry more than one passenger if the extra passenger is 18 years of age (rather than 21) and has graduated from high school. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on October 6, 2004.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Gilda Jacobs (D) on October 6, 2004, to allow the drivers covered by the bill to carry more than one passenger if they have written authorization from a parent or legal guardian. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on October 6, 2004.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Virg Bernero (D) on October 6, 2004, to only apply the bill to driving after 9:00 p.m. in the evening. The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on October 6, 2004.
  4. Failed 17 to 21 in the Senate on October 6, 2004, to prohibit drivers under age 18 with a level two graduated driver license from having in the car more than one passenger other than family members or high school graduates age 18 or older. The bill makes an exception for young drivers who are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or who have with them written authorization from a parent or legal guardian to carry more than one non-family passenger.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

Comments

"Journal comment" of Sen. Switalski  by Anonymous Citizen on October 8, 2004 
Senator Switalski's statement is as follows:

Mr.President, I rise in opposition to House Bill No.4600. This bill would limit first-year drivers to one unrelated passenger in the car with them. Proponents believe this bill will reduce accidents among young drivers, but we already have addressed this problem with a highly successful graduated driver's license system. This bill, while well-intentioned, violates the law of diminishing returns. We are greatly restricting the pursuit of happiness for a huge number of people for a theoretical improvement in safety. Are we willing to trade one of our God-given, inalienable rights so cheaply? How can we be so willing to punish all kids and all families so quickly because of a tiny fraction of drivers who behave irresponsibly?

We don't take that approach with gun laws in this state, and we are right not to. We don't take everyone's gun rights away because of the criminal activities of a few. Why would we restrict this privilege which is far more widely exercised and cherished? Are we willing to so callously ban the widespread practice of kids carpooling to school? This bill is so clumsy it would keep two kids from giving a stranded friend a ride home. Any decent person will give that ride anyway, and then we will have made them lawbreakers.

Have we forgotten the experiences of our own youth? Didn't you ever borrow your dad's car to go out for a concert, a game, or a hamburger with your friends? Isn't there a value to the exhilarating thrill of freedom you felt in doing that? Do you want to be responsible for banning that?

Mr.President, I'll never forget a steamy August night in the back seat of a car with Patty Otto on a double date. This bill will make the double date against the law. I refuse to believe this Senate could be that callous and cruel.


"Journal statement" of Sen. Garcia  by Admin003 on October 7, 2004 
Senator Garcia's statement is as follows:

Normally, I would not be voting for a bill like this. There have been many great points made on both sides of the aisle, but the primary reason I will be voting for this bill today is because in the last 15 months six young people in my district have lost their lives because they made poor decisions while driving with other drivers of the same age. Now we can't prevent everyone from making a poor decision, and that's not what I advocate, but for six young people just starting out life to lose their lives because they were distracted by other friends and made wrong decisions. If I can do something to help prevent further loss of life, I will do so.

The other point you have to consider is this actually only covers a period of six to nine months in a young person's life. When they get their Class II driver's license, this bill would be in effect for that period until they get their Class III driver's license which is, again, a period of six to nine months. It's a very short time period of which to do everything we can to protect young people in this time of life.

Once again, I refer back to the fact that I talked to a number of classes, government classes, in which the students themselves admitted that the more young people there were in the car, the more likely they are to be distracted. So even though I would normally vote against a bill like this, it is because of the young people who lost their lives in my district. Again, six in the last 15 months and because it is a very short time period, I will be voting for this bill.


"Journal statement" of Sen. Jacob  by Admin003 on October 7, 2004 
Senator Jacobs' statement is as follows:

Sometimes it's hard to come behind my esteemed colleague, but I would like to make a point that hasn't been brought out in today's debate. While I feel that this bill, although improved with the Jacobs amendment, is still really an overreach. There is really a greater issue that we really need to be talking about, and that has to do with transportation in general, in terms of what we are able to provide the residents in Michigan.

We have to make a commitment to funding public transportation. We have to make a commitment to funding mass transportation in this state. We have to find, if we don't want kids to be driving at that age, then we need to be putting more money into our schools to be providing school busses to be taking kids to and from school. This Legislature has been lax in coming up and ponying up the money to do these things. What we are doing in effect is reducing options for parents, reducing options for youngsters, and not providing other solutions that really need to be addressed.

For that reason, I am voting against House Bill No.4600.


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