Michigan House delays anti-theft bill

\nMICHIGAN - A bill that would have made the theft of free\nnewspapers a punishable offense in Michigan is on hold after failing\nto make it out of a House committee last year.

House Bill 5536 provides that individuals who take 100 or more\ncopies of a free publication could face a maximum jail term of\n90 days and fines of up to $100.

Rep. Elizabeth Brater, D-Ann Arbor, originally introduced the\nbill in 1998 in response to newspaper thefts at University of\nMichigan and Eastern Michigan University campuses.

According to Pat Niemela, Brater's legislative assistant, Brater\nprobably will not reintroduce the bill during the upcoming legislative\nsession due to the current Republican majority in the House.

"It was not a real popular bill with [the Republicans],"\nNiemela said.

If Brater were to reintroduce the bill, Niemela said it would\nnot happen until after the House reconvenes following its summer\nbreak in September.\n

Fall 1999, reports