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New push for state penalties for lasers pointed at aircraft

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Posted at 8:53 AM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 13:06:38-05

Two bills were discussed in Lansing today aimed at creating a state law against pointing lasers at aircraft.

A federal law against the crime already exists, but lawmakers are now pushing for a new state law.

State Rep. Laura Cox, from Livonia, and State Rep. Tom Barrett of Potterville, introduced a package of bills in January.

House Bill 4063 would prohibit people from pointing lasers at aircraft and House Bill 4064 outlines sentencing guidelines that would make the offense a felony under state law.

Over the past 12 months, Michigan State Police have reported several pilots have been targeted by lasers while flying over Michigan.

"This is a public safety issue," said Rep. Cox. "A laser pointer beam width at altitude is much larger and can completely blind the pilot in the cockpit."

A State House hearing on the bills started at 9 a.m.

"Laser pointers pose a very real risk to pilots and passengers," said Rep. Barrett. "It's important we put a stop to this before anyone gets hurt."