Legislator loses first appeal of license suspension
By Daniel Pepper
An administrative law hearing has determined that State Rep. Bob Genetski will lose his license beginning April 9.
The Michigan Secretary of State’s office convened the proceedings in February after Genetski’s arrest early Jan. 19.
Genetski was appealing the automatic suspension of his license because police alleged he refused to take a breathalyzer test after he was stopped by a Michigan State University Police officer and ultimately charged with operating while impaired.
The Secretary of State’s office convened the civil hearing, separate from the criminal case, to hear Genetski’s appeal.
“The hearing officer denied the appeal, so Rep. Genetski’s license will be suspended for one year beginning April 9.” spokesman Fred Woodhams said.
Drivers in Michigan give their “implied consent” to be tested for alcohol use, he said.
“The hearing officer found the (police) officer basically followed all the rules in stopping the representative and conducting the sobriety test,” Woodhams said. “Basically, he found the officer acted reasonably in seeking the test and the refusal was not reasonable.”
Genetski’s attorney Michael J. Nichols said his client would seek a hardship exemption that would allow him to drive for work and might appeal the hearing officer’s decision to Ingham County Circuit Court.
Nichols asked at the hearing to be provided with the MSU police’s recording policy to see if the officer met it.
“My position was that the (case was) not proved by a preponderance or in the alternative I should have been afforded time to go get the policy and the recording,” Nichols said.
The hearing officer ruled against Nichol’s request to subpoena the MSU police policy in question.
He said he wanted to know whether the policy would have required the officer to record himself explaining Genetski’s implied consent rights to him.
Nichols said it should not affect Genetski’s ability to represent his district.
If he can get a hardship license, Nichols said, “It would allow him to drive at all times for his job. He loves what he does and plans to keep doing it.”
Genetski, R-Saugatuck, was pulled over by a Michigan State University Police officer near campus on the night of the State of the State address Jan. 19. He was arrested and ticketed that night. Ingham County prosecutors have filed operating while impaired charges, alleging his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.
He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in 54-B District Court in East Lansing Wednesday, March 28. Jury selection for a trial, if necessary, has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 10.
Genetski is serving his second term in the state house. His district currently includes all of Allegan County, minus the City of Otsego and Otsego and Watson townships.
Contact Dan Pepper at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (269) 673-5534 or (269) 685-9571