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Michigan house bill would increase penalties on bridge trespassers

Tim Burke/Tim Burke
State of Michigan- Department of
Mackinac Bridge at night June 2006

The Michigan House has approved new penalties for trespassers on some of the state’s busiest and most iconic bridges.

Republican Representative John Damoose is sponsoring the bill. He says he decided to introduce it after last summer’s bomb scare on the Mackinac Bridge.

He says when people intrude on the bridges, they deserve more than just a slap on the wrist, and that the infrastructure covered by the bill is key to the region's economy

"On this list of key infrastructures is power lines and pipelines and hazardous waste disposal sites and these types of things," Damoose said. "So, it’s natural that these bridges should be protected the same way these other pieces of infrastructure are."

The bill would list bridges like the Mackinac and Zilwaukee, along with cellphone towers, tunnels, and manufacturing plants, as critical infrastructure. That means it would be a felony to trespass on them, penalties would include a 25-hundred-dollar fine and up to four years in jail.

The bill would need to be approved by the Senate and Governor Gretchen Whitmer to become law.