LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A group of Republican state representatives introduced a bill on Tuesday with the goal of making sure Michigan farmers won’t have to neglect their work for jury duty.
Under House Bill 4550, a person who is called for jury service between April 1st and November 30th could have that duty postponed if they own and operate a farm. What constitutes a “farm” is defined in the Michigan Right to Farm Act of 1981.
For most crops, and in most areas of Michigan, that eight-month time period would cover the whole growing season, ensuring that jury duty does not interfere with the bulk of a farmer’s time-sensitive work.
This special consideration is similar to how people attending college or vocational school can have their jury service postponed if it would interfere with their class schedule.
Michigan would not be the only state to give special consideration to farmers when it comes to jury service. For example, back in 1997, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that farmers could be excused from jury duty during the planting and harvesting seasons, pointing out “a farmer’s livelihood depends upon timing.”
Click here to read the text of House Bill 4550 for yourself. The bill has been referred to the State House Committee on Agriculture.