Senate legislation outlaws female genital mutilation in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — Bills that will be introduced in the state Senate would make the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan a felony crime punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.

Senate Bill 337 would establish the crime, while SB 338 would provide the necessary sentencing guidelines. The bills are expected to be formally read in on Thursday.

“Female genital mutilation is a horrible procedure that permanently deforms girls and stands against the rights of girls and women that so many have fought for in our country,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, sponsor of SB 337. “We must put a stop to it.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, female genital mutilation refers to cutting and other procedures that injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

The department states federal law prohibits anyone in the country from knowingly circumcising, excising or infibulating the genitals of any child under 18 years of age. Michigan would join at least 24 other states that have laws prohibiting the procedure.

“There is no place for this type of barbarism in Michigan,” said Senator Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, a co-sponsor. “This legislation will help to ensure that those convicted of this heinous act receive the justice they deserve.”

The bills stem from a recent case in which Michigan-based doctors were arrested and charged for allegedly conspiring to perform female genital mutilation on minors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“FGM is a violation of human rights. It is an extreme form of discrimination against girls and women and we want Michigan to join 24 states that have outlawed FGM,” said Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, sponsor of SB 338. “My bill makes it possible for the person who does this procedure to receive 15 years in prison. Our bills say ‘Never in Michigan.’ This evil, horrific act against little girls is demonic.”

###

Senate approves bill creating World War I Centennial Commission

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to establish a World War I Centennial Commission.

The commission would help commemorate World War I, provide educational opportunities about the significance of the war and America’s and Michigan’s role in it, and plan and coordinate activities throughout the state to mark the war’s centennial. 

“It’s been 100 years since the United States of America entered World War I,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, who is the chairwoman of the Senate’s Veterans, Military Affairs and Homeland Security Committee. “It’s important we establish the World War I Centennial Commission so we honor those who sacrificed their lives and remember the lessons our nation learned.”

Under Senate Bill 248, the World War I Centennial Commission Act would do the following:

  • Create the World War I Centennial Commission and provide for its membership and procedures;
  • Require the commission to plan programs and activities to commemorate the centennial of World War I;
  • Require the commission to encourage private organizations and state and local governments to organize and participate in the activities;
  • Require the commission to report to certain state officials on its recommendations; and
  • Require the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to assist the commission.

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917. According to the United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars, during the conflict, Michigan contributed more than 135,000 service men and women and suffered more than 5,000 casualties.

The foundation indicates Michigan provided several volunteer units, including Base Hospitals 17 and 36, and the 16th Regiment of Engineers. National Guard units included the 125th and 126th Infantry Regiments and the 119th Field Artillery Regiment, plus several company size units assigned to various divisions. In addition, our state lent its manufacturing and engineering expertise to the war effort.

The United States World War I Centennial Commission was created by Congress in 2013. Members of that commission were appointed by the president and the leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the National World War I Museum. All four living former presidents have agreed to serve the commission as honorary chairmen.

More information about the centennial and a schedule of events may be found online at worldwar1centennial.org.

###