SB 163 passed the House on May 25, 2017 with a vote of 65-43. Several prochoice representatives gave testimony against the bill and several prolife representatives gave testimony in favor of the bill. Ultimately, the bill passed mostly along party lines with two Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The next step is to be signed into law by Governor Snyder. SB 163 was voted out of the House Transportation Committee along party lines on May 16, 2017. On May 9, 2017, the House Transportation Committee heard testimony regarding SB 163. Right to Life of Michigan provided written testimony as we were unable to testify in person because the committee hearing coincided with our Legislative Day. Christen Pollo, the executive director for Student for Life of Michigan testified in person on behalf of the Choose Life Plate. Again, bizarre testimony from the opposition included claims that pregnancy resource centers are "baby snatching organizations". The full Senate voted in favor of SB 163 mostly along party lines on April 27, 2017. Prochoice Senators offered several amendments and gave testimony against the bill. Prolife Senators gave excellent testimony and each amendment was voted down. The Senate Transportation Committee voted to approve SB 163 along party lines on April 18, 2017. Testimony was given by Right to Life of Michigan which addressed claims that pregnancy resource centers were "baby snatching organizations that positioned themselves near college campuses in order to secure white babies from educated women"! Several committee members asked probing questions of the Planned Parenthood Representative and Right to Life of Michigan's legislative director. S.B. 163 and H.B. 4222 were introduced on February 15, 2017, and were referred to the Senate and House Transportation Committees respectively.
S.B. 163 and H.B. 4222 create the Choose Life Michigan fund within the Michigan Treasury where funds from the sale of specialty "Choose Life" license plates will be deposited. Funds generated by the sale of “Choose Life” plates in Michigan will be directed to the Choose Life Michigan fund. The board of the nonprofit prolife committee, Choose Life Michigan, will then disperse the money to organizations that submit grant proposals for specific abortion prevention projects. The bill stipulates that the funds will be used to promote alternatives to abortion, including adoption, provide practical support to pregnant women, and conduct outreach to at-risk populations regarding positive pregnancy options.
Twenty-nine other states offer "Choose Life" specialty plates. Over $21 million dollars has been raised nationwide from the Choose Life plates to aid in life affirming alternatives to abortion. Michigan is the only state along the I-75 corridor that doesn't have a Choose Life plate, and it has been one of the most requested items by our members. While Governor Snyder claimed he wasn't going to sign any specialty plate legislation, he has signed four bills into law during his tenure - Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Awareness, Ducks Unlimited, Donate Life, and Boy Scouts.
Various forms of this legislation have been introduced in the past 7 previous sessions. Governors Granholm and Snyder have have effectively blocked passage of the previous bills over those 14 years.