New bills introduced Thursday would prohibit price gouging during a state of emergency in Michigan.
Emergencies include severe weather events, terrorist attacks and acts of war. The term of the emergency includes the alert issued in the National Terrorism Advisory System or the state of emergency declared by the governor.
Businesses would not be allowed to increase the price of essential goods or services, such as gas, medicine food and lodging, from exceeding their highest price in the 180-day period before the a declaration of a state of emergency.
An exception would be made for businesses raising prices directly related to additional costs imposed by a supplier, labor or the cost of materials used to provide service, or if the item was on sale. Hotels would be allowed to follow their regularly scheduled seasonal rate adjustments and previously contracted rates.
State Rep. Jeremy Moss introduced House Bills 5714 and 5715 on the one-year anniversary of a wind storm that caused more than 1 million people to lose power.
“My office fielded reports of price gouging following that storm, including a motel that jacked up its rates from $59 a night to nearly $400 a night for families who sought emergency shelter away from homes that had lost power or were damaged by downed trees,” Moss said.