Michigan May Repeal Old Law Against Unmarried Living Together

WardMcGinnis/iStock/Thinkstock(LANSING, Mich.) -- A decades-old Michigan law against unmarried couples living together is on the verge of being reversed.

A bill to repeal the 59-year-old law received a 5-0 vote in the state’s Senate judiciary committee Tuesday. The stage is set for what could be a full repeal of the law -- which is rarely cited or enforced in the current state legal system -- when it comes to a vote before the entire Michigan Senate.

"We want to make Michigan a better place to live, and a more welcoming place for families of all kinds," Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, who introduced the bill last month, told ABC News.

"It's something that hasn't really been enforced," he added, "but this archaic law has negative consequences. It came up in the context of a tax issue."

Since 1957, the Michigan Penal Code has stated that unmarried couples living together are, "guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00."

An individual cannot legally claim a common-law spouse as a dependent if the relationship itself is deemed illegal.

"They would run afoul of the IRS," Bieda said.

Mississippi is the only other state that currently has an anti-cohabitation law in place.

"My goal is to beat Mississippi on this," he added.

Law professionals in Michigan such as tax and family law attorneys are watching the Senate Bill 896 closely as it moves on to the full Senate for review.

"In the family law arena I handle a lot of divorce cases, and custody cases," Ann Arbor, MI attorney Wendy S. Alton told ABC News. "In the 13 years since I've been practicing, I've never seen the courts reference this law."

Even so, Alton still supports removing the penalties associated with the bill.

"It’s really kind of getting rid of an outdated law that isn't being enforced at all and should be off the books," he said.

Not everyone is on board with a total wipe-out.

"Although the bill has not been enforced, the law still sets a precedent," former Kalamazoo city commissioner Eric Cunningham told ABC News.

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California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfires

California anticipates much-needed rain this week after catastrophic wildfiresGoogle Earth(NEW YORK) -- Ravaged by a slew of deadly wildfires in recent days, northern California is set to get a bit of relief this week in the form of rain.

A storm system is expected to move over the Pacific Northwest later this week and the trailing cold front will most likely bring some much-needed rain to northern California between Thursday and Friday, according to ABC meteorologists.

"It will rain a bit but not enough to fully douse the blazes," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark said in a statement Tuesday. "The biggest advantage to firefighters will be the increase in humidity and lower temperatures."

Massive wildfires have charred more than 245,000 acres of land statewide in the past week, killing at least 41 people and destroying thousands of homes, according to authorities.

Firefighters were battling about a dozen wildfires as of late Tuesday evening, although most of them were more than halfway contained.

“The weather today will be warm with low humidity, which will continue to challenge firefighters, but only light winds are forecast,” CalFire said in a statement on Tuesday. “A chance of precipitation is expected to arrive later in the week, bringing relief from the dry conditions.”

The northern parts of the Golden State, which has bared the brunt of the fire damage, is forecast to see an influx of cloudy, cooler and wetter weather later in the week, according to AccuWeather.

Spotter from Los Osos was reporting sprinkles from this high level moisture. Dry at lower levels. Rain evaporates. Also called "Virga" #cawx pic.twitter.com/sgxj3bdXZQ

— NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) October 18, 2017

However, a return of dry air, heat and areas of gusty winds could once again raise the wildfire danger early next week, meteorologists said.

Separately, a band of moisture, referred to as Atmospheric River by weather experts, is currently stretching between Asia and North America. It’s expected to bring several storm systems into many parts of the Pacific Northwest through the rest of the week.

The first of these storms have already hit the Pacific Northwest with wind gusts of between 40 and 74 mph.

A number of wind warnings and flood watches are in effect in the western and northern parts of the U.S. ahead of the storm.

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