Executive Office of Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed bills to require that special problem-solving courts receive state certification to operate. The courts are designed to address criminals' underlying substance abuse or mental health issues so they do not reoffend.

Supporters say the legislation is needed so Michigan has a more consistent and effective approach for the courts and defendants. Under legislation signed Monday, specialty courts - including drug, sobriety, mental health and veteran's treatment courts - will have to be certified by the State Court Administrative Office starting in January.

glass bottles
Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 /

The state Senate is considering legislation that would ease penalties for underage drinking in Michigan.

A minor caught with alcohol for the first time would face a civil fine instead of a misdemeanor charge under the bill.

“It would be a good, hefty fine,” said bill sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge).

“And I think that would cause most young people to not reoffend. The ones that do, the second offense then would go to misdemeanor.”