Senate legislation would protect victims of domestic violence, rape and human trafficking

LANSING, Mich. — Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault would be able to hide their physical addresses from their offenders under legislation being introduced by Sens. Margaret O’Brien, Tonya Schuitmaker and Rick Jones.

“It is time for the state to step up to help victims safely get a fresh start away from their offenders,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “This Senate legislation would help protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking by keeping their locations hidden from their offenders. For many women and children, this is a matter of life and death.”

The Senate legislation would create an address confidentiality program in Michigan. The program would enable victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking to obtain a confidential address to protect themselves from their past offenders.

The confidential address would be used on official documentations as well as mailing addresses.

“Keeping victims safe is the number one priority in this legislation,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “These individuals have already been through the most difficult of times, and I certainly think these bills can provide both closure and a bit of assistance.”

Under the bills, if a child is at risk of being threatened or physically harmed or they or their parents are victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape or sexual battery, they too would be eligible to apply as a program participant and receive an identification number. A school would not be allowed to disclose the address of a pupil or a pupil’s parent if they are program participants.

“With this legislation, Michigan would join 37 other states in offering address confidentiality programs for victims of abuse or assault,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “There are cases of victims who have been forced to leave the state or even the country to escape their attackers. By providing a confidential address under this legislation, the state can decrease the risk of victims being threatened or harmed again by offenders.”

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**MEDIA ADVISORY** Sens. O’Brien and Jones to outline legislation to protect victims of domestic violence

LANSING, Mich. — Sens. Margaret O’Brien and Rick Jones on Monday, Oct. 23 will discuss coming legislation designed to protect victims of domestic violence.

Who:
Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, and
Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

What:
A press conference announcing upcoming Senate legislation with Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, to create an address confidentiality program designed to protect victims of domestic violence.

When:
Monday, Oct. 23 at noon.

Where:
Michigan Capitol
Room 402/403
Lansing

Brief:
O’Brien, Jones and Schuitmaker will be introducing legislation to create an address confidentiality program.

The program would allow victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking to receive a confidential address to protect themselves from their past offenders.

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*** Media Advisory *** Sen. O’Brien To Participate In Event Honoring Vietnam Era Veterans

Who:

Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage

 

What:

Ceremony honoring Vietnam era veterans

 

When:

Tuesday, Oct. 17

7 – 8 p.m.

 

Where:

Air Zoo

6151 Portage Road

Portage, MI 49002

 

Brief:

Sen. Margaret O’Brien will join with West Michigan Homebuilders Association for an event honoring Vietnam era veterans. During the event, Sen. O’Brien will assist in presenting Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pins to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

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Senate Panel Hears Testimony On Bill To Name I-94 Corridor After Fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski

 

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday heard testimony regarding Senate Bill 543, which would name a stretch of Interstate 94 after fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski.

“Renaming I-94 after Chief Switalski reminds people of road safety while honoring Chief Switalski for his dedicated service to our community,” said Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage. “Chief Switalski was a true public servant and will not be forgotten.”

Chief Switalski was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday, June 14 when he was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident on I-94 in Kalamazoo County. He was named Michigan Fire Chief of the Year for 2017. The bill would name the span between exits 80 and 86 on I-94 after Switalski.

Sen. O’Brien testified in support of the legislation along with Fire Marshal Michael Kessler and Captain Kevin Thompson of the Charter Township of Comstock Department of Fire & Rescue. Senior Deputy Fire Chief John Podgorski of the city of Portage submitted written testimony. Holly Switalski, Chief Switalski’s wife, was also in attendance.

SB 543 is expected to be voted out of the Senate Transportation Committee next week and sent to the full Senate for further consideration.

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Photo caption (left): Fire Marshal Michael Kessler (left) and Captain Kevin Thompson (right) of the Charter Township of Comstock Department of Fire & Rescue testify in support of a bill to name a section of I-94 after fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski during the Senate Transportation Committee meeting.

Photo caption (right):  Sen. Margaret O’Brien (center-right), R-Portage, welcomed Charter Township of Comstock Department of Fire & Rescue Fire Marshal Michael Kessler, Captain Kevin Thompson and his wife Sarah Thompson, and Holly Switalski to the Michigan Senate. The group attended the Senate Transportation Committee hearing to testify in support of legislation to name a section of I-94 after fallen Comstock Fire Chief Ed Switalski.

Senate Adopts Buy Nearby Weekend Resolution

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday adopted Senate Resolution 102 to name Oct. 7 and 8, 2017 as Buy Nearby Weekend in the state of Michigan.

“Supporting local businesses results in more than 850,000 jobs across the state,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, sponsor of SR 102. “If we commit to supporting local businesses, we could help create 74,000 additional Michigan jobs and $9 billion in additional economic activity when residents ‘Buy Nearby.’”

The Buy Nearby campaign, now in its fifth year, encourages everyone to buy from their locally owned retail businesses. Each year, the Buy Nearby campaign brings recognition to local businesses during the first weekend in October. Supporting local businesses, and job creators in general, plays an integral part in both growing and sustaining Michigan’s recovering economy.

On Oct. 7 and 8, many local businesses across the state will offer special events, sales and merchandise to attract customers to their locally owned and operated places of business. The hope is to teach consumers about the impact they have on Michigan’s economy when they support their local retailers.

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Photo Caption: Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, is joined by Buy Nearby Guy at the Michigan Capitol.