- House Committee Approves Bills to Combat Vulnerable Adult Abuse
- Human Trafficking Hotline Legislation Awaits Action from the Full Senate
- Michigan House Approves Emergency Funding for Detroit Public Schools
- Three New Lawmakers Take Their Seats in Lansing This Week
- MCC Detroit Free Press Article Highlights Need for Juvenile Justice Bills
- The Word from Lansing Column: Practicing Mercy in the State Budget
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House Committee Approves Bills to Combat Vulnerable Adult Abuse
Since 1994, Michigan law has protected against the abuse of vulnerable adults, which refers to an adult who requires supervision or personal care, or lacks the skills to live independently due to age, developmental disability, mental illness, or physical handicap. The law also provided penalties for those who commit vulnerable adult abuse. Currently, vulnerable adult abuse in the fourth degree applies if physical harm is caused to a vulnerable adult by a caregiver or person of authority as a result of a reckless act or failure. House Bill 5420, sponsored by Representative Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township), and House Bill 5422, sponsored by Representative John Chirkun (D-Roseville), expands fourth degree vulnerable adult abuse to include an intentional act by a caregiver or other individuals that poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to the vulnerable adult. Similar legislation was introduced by Representative Derek Miller (D-Warren), who recently left the Michigan Legislature. Michigan Catholic Conference supports the legislation, which was approved by the House Criminal Justice Committee this week. The measures now await further consideration from the full House.
Human Trafficking Hotline Bill Awaits Action from the Full Senate
As mentioned in previous updates, the Michigan Legislature is currently considering a measure that would require the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888) to be posted in places such as state rest stops and welcome centers, public bus or rail stations, adult entertainment establishments, and public airports across Michigan. Michigan Catholic Conference is supportive of this human trafficking hotline bill, which is one step toward increasing awareness of the crime and ways to report it. The Senate Families, Children and Seniors Committee unanimously approved House Bill 5107, sponsored by Representative Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth), which now awaits action from the full Senate. It has already passed the Michigan House.
Michigan House Approves Emergency Funding for Detroit Public Schools
This week, the House approved $48.7 million in emergency funding to allow Detroit Public Schools (DPS) to continue operating through this school year. Projections indicate that without this emergency bill, DPS would run out of operating funds in April. The measure is also attached to a bill that allows the Financial Review Commission approved by the mayor to take control of the district’s finances. Both bills now continue on for further consideration by the Michigan Senate. Discussion about a larger package to address the issues of growing DPS debt is still ongoing in both chambers.
Three New Lawmakers Take Their Seats in Lansing This Week
Special elections last week brought three new individuals to the Michigan Legislature: Representatives Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township), Gary Howell (R-North Branch), and David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids). Ms. Whiteford replaces former Representative Todd Courser, who resigned in September; Mr. Howell replaces former Representative Cindy Gamrat, who was expelled by the House in September; and Mr. LaGrand replaces former Representative Brandon Dillon, who left to take a job as the State Democratic Party Chair. On Tuesday, these legislators were officially sworn in and cast their first votes.
MCC Detroit Free Press Article Highlights Need for Juvenile Justice Bills
Throughout this legislative session, Michigan Catholic Conference has advocated for reforms to the juvenile justice system that are smart-on-crime, promoting rehabilitation while still holding individuals accountable for their crimes. The Detroit Free Press published a guest column from Michigan Catholic Conference staff this week about the need for these bills, which await action in the full House.
The Word from Lansing Column: Practicing Mercy in the State Budget
Each year, lawmakers make tough decisions regarding where the state’s available funding should be directed. This month’s The Word from Lansing column, which runs in Catholic newspapers across the state, highlights the importance of examining budget decisions based on their impact on human life and dignity, those most in need, and the common good. The column also highlights the importance of subsidiarity, or addressing solutions at the appropriate level of society.
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