Peter Petallia

There are now two desks on the floor of the state House draped with black ribbon and bedecked with flowers.


Lawmakers returned to the state Capitol Tuesday to the news that state Representative Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, was killed Monday evening in a motorcycle crash. The desk of state Representative Julie Plawecki, D-Dearborn Heights, also remains vacant after she died this summer from a heart attack.


Representative's Home Page

The sponsor of the law to repeal Michigan’s mandatory helmet law was killed Monday night in a motorcycle crash. 

Michigan State Police report that State Representative Peter Pettalia was wearing a helmet when he died.

Pettalia was riding a motorcycle on M-33 in northern Michigan’s Montmorency County.

Pettalia was the sponsor of the 2012 law that repealed the helmet requirement for motorcyclists. A recent study found motorcycle fatalities in Michigan jumped by 23 % between 2014 and 2015 and researchers say the repeal of the helmet law almost certainly played a role.

Some bikers have been riding without helmets since a law requiring them was repealed in April.
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A state House committee has approved a measure that would allow motorcyclists 21 years and older with at least two years of experience to ride without a helmet.

This is the newest compromise that opponents of the helmet law hope will win the support of Governor Rick Snyder.

The measure to repeal the four-decade-old helmet law now goes to the floor of the state House for a vote.

Republican state Representative Peter Petallia (R-Presque Isle)is the sponsor.

He says Michigan is the only state in the Midwest that does not allow motorcycle riders to remove their helmets.

“If Michigan did not have a helmet law, so you think we would enact a helmet law? My answer would be ‘no'," said Petallia.

Governor Snyder has said he will not support a helmet law repeal without assurances the costs of medical care for injured riders won’t be passed along to taxpayers or insurance rate payers.

The Petallia bill requires riders who want to doff their helmets to carry an additional $20,000 in medical coverage.

Opponents of the repeal say that would not cover a week of intensive care.

The state House has approved a measure that would eliminate the age restriction on children who hunt with an adult.

Currently, the state does not allow children under the age of 10 to hunt.

Republican state Representative Peter Petallia sponsored the bill. The measure would allow a child of any age to hunt, fish, or trap with an adult 21 years or older who has a license and has taken a hunter safety course.

"We spend too much time today behind TVs and computer screens and not enough time monitoring what youth are doing," said Petallia. "This gives us some an opportunity to get them out, spend some time with them and introduce them to our sport."

A handful of lawmakers voted against the bill. Some said children under 10 should not handle firearms. A few said hunting seasons with youth spook deer and other game before the regular season begins.

The bill now goes to the state Senate.