LANSING — Today the House Natural Resources Committee voted out a six-bill bipartisan package to strengthen rules for asbestos abatement in Michigan. State Rep. Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Township) sponsored House Bill 5597 in the package, which would prohibit the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) from reducing asbestos-related violation penalties by an amount that is greater than what is allowed at the federal level. This legislation also extends the look back period to determine a repeat violator from the Michigan standard of three years to the federal standard of five years. In response to the vote, Rep. Sowerby issued the following statement:


“There is no room for leniency when the health of Michigan’s working families are at stake. If the proper precautions are not taken, asbestos exposure can quickly lead to extreme illnesses or death for those performing the work and for those living near these construction sites. Contractors who violate must be held to strict accountability.”