O’Brien: Let’s end child marriage in Michigan

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. — State Senator Margaret O’Brien said on Wednesday that she has requested legislation to prohibit children under the age of 16 from getting married.

O’Brien said the idea stems from a recent WOOD-TV story about a woman who was married at the age of 14 in west Michigan. The report highlighted Michigan law currently permits children younger than 16 to get married with parental consent and judicial approval.

“I was shocked to learn that Michigan law somehow permits the marriage of young girls and boys under the age of 16,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “While we have made great progress to protect minors from sexual assault, from predators like Larry Nassar and from human traffickers, it is clear that more must be done to ensure the health and safety of our children.”

According to the news report, the latest state data from 2014 indicated there were 116 recorded marriages involving children under 16 in Michigan that year.

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“Great Water, Great Lands” bond would dedicate $2B for Michigan water infrastructure, clean-up

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich.—Legislation introduced in the state Senate on Wednesday would establish the Great Water, Great Lands bond, a $2 billion fund for water infrastructure, contaminant cleanup and lead abatement throughout the state, announced Senator Margaret O’Brien.

“It’s important to establish a long-term plan to clean contaminated sites and to protect our drinking water,” said Senator O’Brien, R-Portage. “We must ensure these funds are protected and are not diverted for other uses. Michigan citizens have supported previous bonds.”

Specifically, Senate Bill 1109 would create the bond and allow the state to borrow $2 billion. The bill also sets spending categories including financing infrastructure projects for drinking water systems, sewage systems, stormwater systems and drainage systems, and financing the cleanup of environmental contamination and the abatement of lead hazards.

According to Senator O’Brien, total proceeds of the bond would be allocated as follows:

  • $100 million to the state drinking water revolving fund;
  • $825 million into the Stormwater, Asset Management, and Wastewater Program;
  • $150 million to address drain infrastructure needs;
  • $900 million for the clean-up of environmental contamination, and
  • $25 million for the abatement of lead hazards.

Senator O’Brien said additional bills would be needed to determine where and how the bonded money would be allocated and if any new programs would be required once the bond passed.

To enact bonding legislation, a ballot question would need to be approved by voters in the next General Election in November 2020.

SB 1109 was referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee for consideration.

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Senate adopts O’Brien resolution honoring U.S. Senator John McCain

Senator Margaret O'Brien

Senator Margaret O’Brien

LANSING, Mich. — The State Senate on Wednesday adopted a resolution recognizing the life and achievements of U.S. Senator John McCain.

“America lost a national treasure with the passing of Senator John McCain,” said Senator Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, who sponsored Senate Resolution 176. “Throughout his life and careers in the military and Congress, Senator McCain served with dignity — personifying the honor, courage and commitment that we should all strive to uphold. While he will be greatly missed, his legacy will endure as an example for us all to follow.”

The resolution may be read in its entirety online.

Video of Senator O’Brien’s remarks on the resolution are available here: https://youtu.be/iROno0a-c3c.

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