TitleBytes News & Happenings

November 2020 Legislative Update

Nov 16, 2020

Craig Ryan, MLC
MLTA Lobbyist

House Bills 6294-97 Signed into Law while Legislature Prepares for Post-Election Lame Duck Session

On Thursday, November 5, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bills 6294-97. The bills amend the Estates and Protected Individuals Code, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act, and the Michigan Law on Notarial Acts, respectively. They were sponsored by Representative Sarah Lightner. We’re grateful to Representative Lightner for her leadership on this issue

The bills are retroactive from April 30, 2020 and were quickly pulled together to protect those consumer transactions that took place during the past months where COVID-19 impacted those transactions from taking place in a typical fashion. The bills validate actions taken under the prior Executive Orders (which have since been invalidated) and encourage the use of electronic signatures, witnesses, and records where available going forward. Of particular importance to the MLTA, in addition to validating prior actions taken, the bills also extend notary appoints and permit RIN or remote mail away style closings until the end of 2020. The effect of the bills is also set to sunset on December 31, 2020. Whether to extend that deadline – and for how long – will be something that MLTA will be monitoring in the upcoming legislative lame duck session in December.

In addition to this bill activity, the Michigan Legislature returned to Lansing after the last week’s election. Republicans in the House currently hold a 58-52 majority and, after the election, that majority will remain unchanged. The House also held internal elections to elect new leadership positions within their respective caucuses. Those elected to leadership positions for the 2021-22 session include the following:
• Speaker of the House: Jason Wentworth, Clare
• Speaker Pro Tempore: Pamela Hornberger, Chesterfield Township
• Majority Floor Leader: Ben Frederick, Owosso
• Minority Leader: Donna Lasinski, Ann Arbor
The legislature is now preparing for the remaining session days of this session – which is likely to be less that 10 days between now and the end of the year.

Additionally, MLTA is monitoring several bills as the legislature prepares for its lame duck session. Those bills are as follows:

• HB 5611 (Lower) is a bill that seeks to modify the number of years an interest, claim, or charge can be preserved in the Marketable Title Act. This bill passed out of the House with a unanimous vote on September 10 and passed Senate Finance Committee (6-0) on November 10. This bill will likely be on the Senate floor agenda In December.

• HB 5260 (Paquette) is a bill to amend the in the Marketable Title Act. The bill is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill moved out of the House Local Government Committee with HB 5611 but has failed to move out of Ways and Means.

• SB 822 (Alexander) is a bill that deals with foreclosures. It was introduced in March and has been sitting in the Senate Finance Committee with no action since.

• HB 5738 (Elder) is a bill that addresses property tax extension deadlines during a pandemic. The bill was introduced in late April and referred to the House Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee and has seen no movement since it was introduced.

• HB 5720 (Sheppard) is a bill that seeks to address removal of a mobile home tenant during a pandemic. It was introduced in April and sent to the House Government Operations Committee (which the sponsor. Sheppard, chairs). It has also seen no movement.

As mentioned, the extension of the sunset of the remote notarization/ witnessing protections will be a focus of MLTA as the calendar year – and the legislative session – wind down.

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