House committee hears testimony on Billy’s Law

LANSING, Mich. — The House Committee on Judiciary on Tuesday took testimony on legislation that would give law enforcement more tools while collecting evidence against someone suspected of driving under the influence.

Senate Bill 80, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Schmidt, seeks to close a loophole that prevents law enforcement from administering drug tests or from obtaining drug test results on at-fault motorists in traffic accidents that lead to serious injury or death. SB 80 would improve existing law to imply consent for at-fault drivers in such accidents to allow a blood or urine test to be given. It also would make urine test results subject to a search warrant in addition to blood tests.

“A fatal accident scene is very chaotic, and law enforcement should be focused on gathering all relevant evidence,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “This is a matter of public safety. We are tying the hands of our officers when we should be focused on holding criminals accountable for their actions.”

SB 80 will remain in the committee, as it did not receive a final vote Tuesday afternoon.


Editor’s note: A print-quality version of this photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting

Photo caption: State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, testifies on Senate Bill 80 before the House Committee on Judiciary. Pictured from left to right are Shannon Kochis, John Collins and Mary Jo Pomeroy, friends and relatives of Billy Kochis, the namesake of Schmidt’s legislation.

Senate committee approves measure to correct filing deadline errors

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Wayne Schmidt joined Sault Ste. Marie City Manager Oliver Turner before the Senate Committee on Elections and Government Reform on Tuesday as Turner testified on House Bill 4892.

The bill, which was sponsored by state Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, was inspired by a timing conflict that prevented five local officials in Sault Ste. Marie from appearing on the November ballot. The city charter states that candidates must have their paperwork filed 12 weeks before the August primary. However, the state of Michigan has a 15-week deadline.

“There was a mix-up between the filing deadline outlined in the city charter and what is required by the state,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “This legislation provides a one-time fix by extending the filing deadline, allowing the names of the five candidates who relied on the deadline in the city charter to appear on the ballot in November.”

Schmidt said approval is not only on a tight schedule to be effective during the current election cycle, but essential to ensuring the residents of Sault Ste. Marie have a voice in government.

“Allowing an election to proceed with no names on the ballot directly challenges the most core principles of our government,” Schmidt said. “I am proud of my colleagues in the House for approving this measure and I would also like to thank Mr. Turner for traveling to Lansing and making his case before the committee.”

The bill was approved by the committee and will now go before the full Senate for further consideration.


Editor’s note: A print-quality version of this photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting


Photo caption: State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, listens as Sault Ste. Marie City Manager Oliver Turner provides testimony on House Bill 4892 before the Senate Committee on Elections and Government Reform.


Sen. Schmidt to host September coffee hours

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

Sen. Wayne Schmidt

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, will hold coffee hours with constituents throughout the 37th Senate District during the month of September.

The senator will be available to answer questions and provide information and assistance, as well as take suggestions on issues affecting communities and businesses in the district. No appointment is necessary.

For more information or to contact Schmidt, please visit or call 517-373-2413.

Schmidt’s September coffee hours are as follows:

Monday, Sept. 11

9 – 10 a.m.

Grand Traverse Pie Co.

525 W. Front St.

Traverse City

Friday, Sept. 15

9 – 10 a.m.

Mama’s Country Kitchen

730 E. Cayuga St.


10:45 – 11:45 a.m.

East Jordan City Hall

201 Main St.

East Jordan

1 – 2 p.m.

North Perk Coffee

308 Howard St.


Thursday, Sept. 21

11 a.m. – noon

Timber Charlie’s

110 Newberry Ave.


1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Studebaker’s Restaurant and Lounge

3583 I-75 Business Spur

Sault Ste. Marie

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Driftwood Motel

590 N. State St.

St. Ignace

5 – 6 p.m.

Audie’s Restaurant

314 N. Nicolet St.

Mackinaw City