As the father of two young daughters, I understand the importance of ensuring our domestic violence laws are aimed at being the strongest in the country. Currently, I am the lead sponsor on a large bill package intended to amend Michigan’s current domestic violence statutes. Our state used to be considered a leader in protecting its women and children against domestic violence, but unfortunately, we have now fallen significantly behind the rest of the country.

According to statistics, Detroit neighborhoods have a domestic violence incident rate as high as 1 in 51 people. That’s 2½ times higher than the statewide average, which is about 1 in 136 people. This is unacceptable. We must work harder at protecting our children and empowering our women in our city.

I recently held a workgroup with lawyers, judges and activists who work to stop domestic violence. We spoke about the legislation and worked together to craft the bills so that everyone can support them. I am committed to working with multiple stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive solution to this scourge on our communities.

Some of the legislation in this bill package will include strengthening our personal protection order laws, allowing for more victim confidentiality throughout domestic violence cases, protecting victims of domestic abuse from housing discrimination, and increasing the penalties for abuse toward pregnant women.

I will be working across the aisle and across the chamber to ensure this domestic violence package moves swiftly through the Legislature. Michigan’s women and children deserve to feel safe and happy in their own homes.