Governor signs bills aimed at addressing prescription drugs, protecting vulnerable adults ⋆

On Friday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a number of bills including policies aimed at reducing prescription drug costs, protecting vulnerable adults from sexual abuse and coercion, and establishing institutional desecration as a crime. 

House Bill 4276, sponsored by Rep. Alabas Farhat (D-Dearborn) seeks to increase transparency and expand oversight of costs tied to prescription drugs. 

“Today, we’ve taken steps to bring down prescription drug costs, while ensuring independent pharmacies are protected from unfair chargebacks and unfair reimbursement rates,” Farhat said in a statement. “This is a major win for Michiganders everywhere who rely on their community pharmacy for low-cost, lifesaving prescription drugs. Michigan will be a leader in making sure that independent pharmacies are compensated fairly, ensuring access to care so patients are protected across our state.”

Whitmer also signed a bipartisan set of bills to protect patients receiving medication by strengthening permitting for people who work as medication aides. 

House Bill 4885 would require the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to establish and administer registration, training, and permit programs for medication aides and medication aide trainers, while House Bill 4923 defines terms used in its companion bills within the Public Health Code. 

“Today we take action to help alleviate some of the burden in our health care system when it comes to delivering safe medication to patients,” state Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit) said in a statement. McKinney is the lead sponsor of House Bill 4885.

“This is one way we’re putting hard-working Michiganders first — completion of this additional skill will position [certified nursing assistants] to advance in the workplace and allow the state to further professionalize another sector of the health industry, thereby growing local economies. This is a win-win package and an example of people-focused policy,” McKinney said. 

Whitmer also signed legislation introduced by Rep. Sharon MacDonell (D-Troy) protecting adults who require supervision or personal care due to age, illness, or disability from coercion for sexually explicit visual material. 

MacDonnell’s House Bills 4320 and 4387 would make exploiting a vulnerable adult for sexually explicit images a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $500, or both. A repeated offense would be a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. 

The governor also approved a set of bills making institutional desecration against religious communities and institutions a crime. 

“Current law conflates attacks on houses of worship, cultural and community centers, minority-owned businesses, and other institutions with petty acts of vandalism—failing to recognize that attacks on our most sacred spaces terrorize and victimize entire communities,” said Rep. Noah Arbit (D-West Bloomfield) who introduced House Bills 4476 and 4477 alongside Rep. Ranjeev Puri (D-Canton).  

The law creates penalties for maliciously and intentionally destroying damaging, defacing, or vandalizing the following facilities based on characteristics of a person’s actual or perceived identity:

  • A synagogue, mosque, church, temple, gurdwara, shrine, or other building, structure, or place used for religious worship or other religious purpose. 
  • A cemetery, mortuary, or other facility used for the purpose of burial or memorializing the dead. 
  • A school, educational facility, library, museum, community center, or campground. 
  • A business or charitable establishment, storefront, facility, office, or headquarters. 
  • The grounds adjacent to, and owned or rented by, any institution, facility, building, structure, or place described above. 
  • The digital or online assets maintained, authored, rented, or owned by any institution, facility, entity, or place described above. 
  • Any personal, communal, or institutional property contained in any institution, facility, building, structure, or place described above. 

Individuals found guilty of institutional desecration would face penalties determined by the amount of destruction or injury and the number of prior institutional desecration convictions. Damage totaling $20,000 or greater would be a felony punishable by 10 years in prison, a fine of up to three times the value of destruction or injury, or both. 


authored by Kyle Davidson
First published at

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