Senate Passes Sexual Assault Legislation

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would combat sexual assault and allow survivors to receive important protections in the state of Michigan.

“Our laws must protect those who are most vulnerable, our children” said Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage. “This legislation should put fear in to the heart of any possible pedophile. Justice will be served.”

Senate Bills 871-880 would expand numerous existing laws and also create new protections in statute. The bills would update current law to allow prosecutors to bring charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) against a minor at any time after the act occurs, while also allowing charges of third-degree CSC against a minor up to the survivor’s 48th birthday, or within 30 years of the accused being identified by DNA evidence.

The bills would also allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to remain publicly anonymous when bringing a claim in the Michigan Court of Claims.

“We must do everything in our power to ensure Michigan’s children are protected,” Sen. O’Brien said. “This legislation ensures we have the necessary legal tools to strike back against those who would threaten our children. I thank the sister survivors who came forward to fight for justice.”

The bills also expanded mandated reporting requirements to include sports coaches, athletic trainers and college professors. If an employee fails to report such crimes, they could face a felony of up to two years imprisonment, up to a $5,000 fine, or both. A volunteer would face a misdemeanor of up to one year in jail, or a $1,000 fine, or both.

The legislation now heads to the House for further consideration.

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Photo caption: Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, speaks in support of the Protecting Michigan’s Children legislation at the Michigan Senate.

Sen. O’Brien Praises Passage Of Critical Supplemental Funding Bill

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. — State Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, praised the passage of a supplemental appropriations bill on Thursday that could help provide much-needed funding for flooding recovery in Kalamazoo.

“Kalamazoo, along with many other Michigan communities, has been hit hard by recent flooding,” Sen. O’Brien said. “Roads and houses in low-lying areas have been significantly impacted with high water, and people have been displaced from their homes.”

House Bill 4321 would deliver critical additional funding in the amount of $2 million to the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund. These funds could help communities dealing with recent flooding begin to recover. In addition to the funding for the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund, $175 million in increased funding for roads was included in the legislation.

“In Kalamazoo, we are just beginning to assess the damage, but I can tell you it will be significant,” Sen. O’Brien said. “As Kalamazoo begins to recover from the receding flood waters, this funding increase could not have been authorized at a better time.”

HB 4321 now heads to the House for further consideration.

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