LANSING — A bill that would allow county commissioners in Michigan to increase rewards for people who provide information that results in the arrest and conviction of criminals and escaped convicts has cleared the House Law and Justice Committee and will advance to the House floor for a full vote of the chamber. House Bill 4971, sponsored by state Rep. Tom Cochran (D-Mason), would allow county commissioners to offer rewards of any amount up to $20,000 to people who provide information to law enforcement agencies. Current law only allows for a reward of up to $2,000.

“Offering rewards can be a great motivator to encourage someone to come forward with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of a dangerous criminal who might otherwise stay on the streets and pose a further risk to other families,” Rep. Cochran said. “But as the law currently stands, counties can only offer rewards of up to $2,000, which isn’t so much by today’s standards. This bill updates a law passed in 1927 and gives local law enforcement agencies a better tool to use to keep their communities safe.”

The existing law was passed in 1927 and last updated in 1948 with a maximum reward set at $2,000. Over the past 91 years, inflation has taken a toll on the worth of that sum.

Rep. Cochran’s bill has the support of Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth, who also offered testimony in favor of the bill before the House Law and Justice Committee. The rewards could be offered to people who call in to anonymous tip lines, as well as to people who offer information directly to police officers.

“Keeping our communities safe is one of the most important jobs of government, which is why proposals like these that support our law enforcement officers matter to me,” Rep. Cochran said. “I’m confident my colleagues will agree, and I’m hopeful that we’ll soon see it signed into law.”