by Scott McClallen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed six bills into law ranging from boosting insurance transparency to letting shoe repair stores donate shoes left unclaimed for six months or more.
“Today, I will be signing six bipartisan bills, adding on to the over 800 bipartisan bills I have signed since taking office,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Today’s bills will make insurance benefit preauthorization more accessible, support winter recreation and shoe repair businesses, and amend the state bar admittance process. I am proud to sign these bills and will continue to work with anyone to get things done. Together, we can continue delivering on the kitchen-table issues that matter most to Michiganders, growing our economy, and creating good-paying jobs.”
Senate Bill 247 will amend the Insurance Code to increase transparency among insurers and slash wait times for prescription drugs and services that require prior authorization. The bill shortens the time for insurers to consider prior authorization requests before they are deemed granted and obligates insurers to provide more information to the public and health care providers regarding the prior authorization process.
“Today’s action by Gov. Whitmer to sign this overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation will directly help patients across Michigan,” Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington, said in a statement. “This new law reforms the prior authorization process, which has created barriers and inefficiencies with access and quality of care in the health care system. It will promote transparency of practices used by insurers, allowing enrollees and health care providers to be fully informed while making coverage and care decisions.”
“While the intent behind the prior authorization process is to promote safe, timely, and cost-effective care, the process itself has been widely viewed as inefficient and burdensome,” VanderWall continued. “This can directly affect the treatment and care a patient receives and could pose significant risks to a patient’s health. This law will help improve the process and ultimately benefit patients.”
House Bills 4205 and 4206 allow people to operate snowmobile-on-snowmobile trails without registration or a trail permit for one weekend before each snowmobile season starts. The bills were sponsored by Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Wayland Twp, and Rep. John Roth, R-Traverse City.
House Bill 4332 specifies that a two-wheel off-road recreation vehicle (ORV) must have the license attached at the center of the rear fender or visible on a front suspension.
House Bill 4994 allows shoe repair businesses to donate unclaimed shoes if they have been unclaimed for six months or more.
“This is a victory for Michigan’s small businesses and their communities,” bill sponsor Rep. Angela Witwer, D-Delta Township, said in a statement. “This bill supports entrepreneurs and charities at the same time. Cobblers get to clear out space and charities receive high-quality footwear. When it comes to those in need, we must do better, and this bill helps make that vision a reality.”
House Bill 5541 allows individuals to submit their Uniform Bar Examination scores to the State Bar of Michigan, enabling them to apply to practice in more than 39 states instead of testing into them one by one.
“With the Governor’s signature, Michigan keeps pace with 40 other jurisdictions that have already implemented the Uniform Bar Exam, score portability makes our state more attractive to law school graduates nationwide and gives our state’s law firms and businesses more tools for attracting the best legal talent,” Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack said in a statement.
Rep. Andrew Fink, R-Adams Twp., sponsored the bill.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Gretchen Whitmer.