"An Update on the Hitch"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, September 27, 2013

Two weeks ago, my column titled “The law says to ditch your hitch” told about a law stating, “Trailer hitches or balls must be removed when a vehicle does not have a tow attached.”

I had been told of a number of incidents where drivers were given warnings by state and local law enforcement officers regarding their hitches. When I talked to our sheriff about the law, he implied he was not in support of it.

Before submitting my column, I researched using many resources and determined a bill had been introduced by state Rep. George T. Darany of the 15th District in Dearborn on May 9, 2012. There were many references to the bill’s introduction but I could not find where the bill had become law. I attempted to gain information from Lansing, but was unsuccessful. It seemed the bill had simply disappeared. It was agreed, while discussing the topic there were plenty of disgruntled drivers.

Recently a family member, who has a home in Florida and had just bought a summer home in Port Austin, was pulled over in Bad Axe. A local officer told her to remove the receiver from her vehicle. She complied but was puzzled about it. I decided to continue to determine when the bill I had found documented actually became law.

I called Rep. Terry Brown’s office and discussed the matter with his legislative aide, Melissa Weipert. She verified the bill had been submitted and then she provided the answer to the question I had been seeking. When did House Bill 5610, introduced by Darany, become law?

Melissa explained the bill did not become law. It was referred to the Committee on Transportation where it died without even being considered. As we continued to discuss my inquiry, she was able to connect me to an aide in Rep. Darany’s office. When I made my inquiry to her regarding the status of House Bill 5610, she quickly checked and responded: Bill Addendum 721MCL-257-721 of House Bill 5610 died in committee and no re-introduction was planned.

Thanks to the help of two excellent legislative aides I was able to finally determine the fate of the mystery bill. I am left wondering, however, why was the answer was so difficult to find. I have a friend who worked at the capital and is very familiar with researching data help me. They could not find where the bill had become law either.

Of course I used the Internet to search and I guess my reference last week about what a timesaver the computers are is true. You can get just so far, and than you are left to wonder what the answer is that you seek.

As I see it, go ahead and “hitch em up!” If anything regarding the matter develops, I will be sure to let you know. I’m not sure anyone ever let highway patrol officers know the bill died in committee. If you get a warning or a ticket, ask the officer for the exact number of the offense. Please don’t be argumentative: it’s never a good idea to debate with an officer just trying to do their job.




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