East Lansing to consider adopting state MIP changes
Changes to East Lansing's Minor in Possession, or MIP, ordinance will be discussed by the East Lansing City Council at 7 p.m. Tuesday at 410 Abbot Road.
Governor Rick Snyder signed state legislation in December 2016 to reduce a first MIP offense to a civil infraction instead of a misdemeanor.
The civil infraction is given no matter the person's blood alcohol content level, City Attorney Tom Yeadon said.
“I think that clogging up the courts with MIPs … at such a low level, I think is a just a mistake,” Mayor Pro Tem Ruth Beier said. “I don’t think that’s the kind of infraction, when they’re walking, that should result in a permanent record.”
The council will make a decision on whether they will adopt the new ordinances after the public hearing, although it might not be done right away, Yeadon said.
“If they adopt it, they’ll probably adopt it with a different effective date,” Yeadon said. “Either they’ll put it off and adopt it later or adopt it now with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2018, is my suspicion. That would be my recommendation anyway.”
He said he believes the ordinance will pass, a sentiment echoed by members of the council.
“I don’t believe making a mistake at the age of 19 or 20 should scar anyone for the rest of their lives,” Councilmember Susan Woods said.
Mayor Mark Meadows also wants to change the ordinance.
"I’m supportive of the idea,” Meadows said.
In East Lansing, if police suspect someone has been drinking, they can stop them and administer a breathalyzer test. The person can be given an MIP even if they do not have alcohol on them because consumption constitutes possession, Beier said.
“East Lansing is actually progressive about this,” Beier said. “We do stop people who appear to be intoxicated and breathalyze them, even if they don’t have alcohol, but generally we do that when they’re staggering around. It’s just that we have the right to do it, if we suspect. I don’t think any of our police over use it right now but I’m not going to be around forever so I’d like the law to be reasonable anyway.”