The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)



STATE OF MICHIGAN

FRANK J. KELLEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL



CONSTITUTIONAL LAW:

NATURAL RESOURCES,
DEPARTMENT OF:

Validity of section 606 of 1997 PA 112 under Const 1963, art 4,  25


Section 606 of 1997 PA 112, the Department of Natural Resources 1997-1998 fiscal year appropriations act, violates Const 1963, art 4, 25, which prohibits the Legislature from altering or amending a law unless the law is reenacted and published at length.


Opinion No. 6980

April 20, 1998


K. L. Cool, Director
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
P. O. Box 30028
Lansing, MI 48909


You have asked whether section 606 of 1997 PA 112, the Department of Natural Resources 1997-1998 fiscal year appropriations act, violates Const 1963, art 4, 25, which prohibits the Legislature from altering or amending a law unless the law is reenacted and published at length.

Section 606 of 1997 PA 112, which requires the department to offer reduced state park admission fees to certain classes of persons, provides as follows:

The department shall offer reduced fee permits to veterans of the United States armed forces and of the Michigan national guard. The discounted veteran state park admission fees shall not exceed the cost of the fees charged by the department for senior citizen admissions.

(emphasis added).

Part 741 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA), 1994 PA 451, MCL 324.74101 et seq; MSA 13A.74101 et seq, governs the operation and administration of the state park system. Section 74117(2) of the NREPA, which establishes the admission fees for motor vehicles entering state parks, provides as follows:

Except as otherwise provided in this section, an annual park permit shall be issued and shall authorize the entry of the motor vehicle to which it is originally attached within the confines of any state park or recreation area during the calendar year in which issued. The fee for the annual park permit is $18.00 in 1994, and $20.00 in 1995 and thereafter, except that an owner of a resident motor vehicle who is 65 years of age or older shall be issued a special annual park permit for 1/4 the amount of the annual park permit.

(emphasis added).

Section 606 of 1997 PA 112 clearly attempts to alter or amend section 74117(2) of the NREPA by reducing the state park admission fee charged to veterans of the armed forces and the Michigan national guard. 1997 PA 112 fails, however, to re-enact and publish the affected section of the NREPA.

Const 1963, art 4, 25, prohibits the Legislature from altering or amending a law unless the affected law is reenacted and published at length.

No law shall be revised, altered or amended by reference to its title only. The section or sections of the act altered or amended shall be re-enacted and published at length.

(Emphasis added.)

This constitutional provision has been interpreted on several occasions by the Michigan Supreme Court. In Alan v Wayne County, 388 Mich 210, 281; 200 NW2d 628 (1972), the court reaffirmed its prior holding in Mok v Detroit Building & Savings Assoc No 4, 30 Mich 511 (1875), which interpreted Const 1850, art 4, 25, the identical constitutional antecedent of Const 1963, art 4, 25, stating:

Mok stands for the rule that you cannot amend statute C even by putting in statute B specific words to amend statute C, unless you republish statute C as well as statute B under Const 1963, art 4, 25.

***


We adopt the rule of Mok . . . .

(emphasis in original).

In Alan, the court held that any legislation that revises, alters or amends, either directly or indirectly, a previously enacted law, necessarily invokes the constitutional requirement that the affected law be reenacted.

There is nothing complicated, burdensome, unreasonable or obscure about what we say here today. If a bill under consideration is intended whether directly or indirectly to revise, alter, or amend the operation of previous statutes, then the constitution, unless and until appropriately amended, requires that the Legislature do in fact what it intends to do by operation.

388 Mich at 285 (emphasis in original).

See also, Midland Twp v State Boundary Comm, 401 Mich 641, 658-660; 259 NW2d 326 (1977), app dis 435 US 1004 (1978) (reaffirming rule of Mok and Alan).

Legislative passage of state department appropriation acts which purport to revise, alter or amend prior substantive laws, without reenacting such laws, have been consistently determined to violate Const 1963, art 4, 25. See, OAG, 1997-1998, No 6968, p ___ (January 27, 1998); OAG, 1995-1996, No 6871, pp 96-99 (September 18, 1995); OAG, 1985-1986, No 6325, pp 177-179 (December 11, 1995); OAG, 1981-1982, No 5951, p 304 (August 10, 1981); and OAG, 1975-1976, No 4896, p 132 (September 9, 1975) [appropriation bill attempting to amend statutory filing fee]. Accordingly, in applying Const 1963, art 4, 25, to section 606 of 1997 PA 112, it must be concluded that section 606 revises, alters or amends section 74117(2) of the NREPA, by enlarging the class of persons entitled to a reduced state park vehicular admission fee. The Legislature is, of course, free to amend Part 741 of the NREPA to provide reduced park entry fees for veterans, provided that such amendment complies with Const 1963, art 4,  25.

It is my opinion, therefore, that section 606 of 1997 PA 112, the Department of Natural Resources 1997-1998 fiscal year appropriations act, violates Const 1963, art 4,  25, which prohibits the Legislature from altering or amending a law unless the law is reenacted and published at length.


In MCL 8.5; MSA 2.216, the Legislature has mandated that a statute be construed so that any unconstitutional portion be severed from the rest of the statute with the remaining portions being given effect unless doing so would be inconsistent with the manifest intent of the Legislature. Avis Rent-A-Car System v City of Romulus, 400 Mich 337, 348; 254 NW2d 555 (1977). There is no language in 1997 PA 112 suggesting that the Legislature intended its provisions to be nonseverable. The remaining provisions of 1997 PA 112 are independent and capable of being given effect without reference to section 606. Thus, the remaining provisions of 1997 PA 112 are severable and may be implemented independently of section 606. OAG, 1991-1992, No 6724, p 161 (June 30, 1992).



FRANK J. KELLEY
Attorney General