A local lawmaker has put forward separate plans to protect health care workers from assault and update court reporter fees.

State Representative Hank Vaupel recently introduced a plan to better protect medical personnel from violence. The Fowlerville Republican said Michigan hospitals have reported a significant increase in the number of violent encounters with patients and visitors, creating a need for stronger protections. His plan would stiffen penalties for people who assault health care workers, who put their safety on the line to save lives. Vaupel says the assaults on health care workers are becoming much more prevalent and more must be done to ensure violence against medical personnel is taken seriously. House Bills 4327 and 4328 would add health care professionals and medical volunteers to a protected group of workers that already includes police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel. Assaulting one of the protected professionals could result in a felony with enhanced penalties.

Meanwhile, Vaupel also introduced separate legislation to update the transcript fees circuit court reporters collect for their services. Vaupel said the fees, which are set in statute, have not been updated since 1986 and we’re overdue for an update. Vaupel said 33 years is a long time to go without an increase and if they don’t periodically update the fees, it’s going to become increasingly difficult to find people who are willing to do the job. Current law sets transcript fees at $1.75 per original page and 30 cents per page for each copy, unless a lower rate is agreed upon. House Bill 4329 would increase the rate to $3.50 per original page and 75 cents per page for each copy, unless a lower rate is agreed upon.

Both plans have since been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration. (JM)