Bills’ advancement in Michigan a step forward for worker assault prevention

November 9, 2023

The union’s renewed intensity on protecting our Amtrak, bus and transit members from assaults by passengers resulted in a late-night victory for our cause Nov. 8 in Michigan.

State Legislative Director Donald Roach proudly reported that HB 4917 and HB 4918, both to enhance protections for transportation workers, passed in the state House.

HB 4917 passed by a 68-41 vote. HB 4918 passed by a 70-39 vote.

The bills raise punishments for the assault of a transportation operator to a maximum of eight years, depending on the severity of the offense. They also make the punishments for repeat offenses more severe and adjust the state’s sentencing guidelines accordingly.

Fines for assault on transportation workers also would be increased — set at $1,000 or $8,000.

The legislation advances to the state Senate, where it likely will be taken up there next year. SLD Roach says that the time between now and its appearance in the upper house whenever that is in 2024 will be well spent.

“It’s a great step ahead, and we thank all who supported it, especially Rep. Samantha Steckloff of the 19th District, the primary sponsor of the legislation,” Roach said. “We’ll use the end of this year to message, educate and reach out with the help of our great members. We’re happy to have made it a third of the way there now, and we all need to get these protections in place for worker and passenger safety rather than later.”

The bills, introduced July 18, passed through the House’s Criminal Justice Committee with a recommendation from the committee for passage before their successful showing Nov. 8.