Here is some information that I hope you will find helpful, including updates and news from your state government.
Bills Would Lead to Safer, Fairer Pretrial Experience
I am proud to be a part of the Pretrial Fairness bill package (House Bills 4655–62), which was introduced last week. This package consists of eight bills to prevent people who are accused of low-level, non-violent offenses — and are presumed innocent — from going to jail because they could not afford bail. These bills are based on recommendations developed by Michigan’s bipartisan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration. They would protect constitutional rights, maintain public safety, keep families together and make it easier for business owners to keep their workers employed.
Uniform Power of Attorney Act Introduced
I also introduced legislation last week (HBs 4644–46) to enact the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) in Michigan. The UPOAA standardizes power of attorney law and improves upon older statutes by offering greater clarity and protections. Currently, Michigan has no general codification of the law of agency concerning powers of attorney. This package would:
- Increase accessibility by incorporating easy-to-understand explanatory material. UPOAA is a stand-alone statute that provides an easy-to-use form with simple cautionary instructions.
- Help prevent elder abuse by imposing clear fiduciary duties on an agent to act in the elderly principal’s best interest.
- Encourage the acceptance of powers of attorney by allowing any third party who in good faith accepts a signed, notarized power of attorney to rely on a legal presumption that the signature is genuine.
Thirty other states have already enacted the UPOAA, and legislators in Massachusetts and Vermont have also introduced bills this term.
Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Package Passes House
Last week, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would strengthen penalties for sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatment. This package was first introduced in 2018 in the aftermath of the Nassar sex-abuse scandal at MSU, and it has been reintroduced every term since.
My bill in the package (HB 4122) would require the permanent revocation of a medical license from a medical licensee who in a disciplinary hearing is convicted of sexual misconduct under the pretext of practicing medicine. Other bills would:
- Require that comprehensive training materials be provided to individuals who are mandated to report child abuse and neglect unless their employer already provides substantially similar training (HB 4120).
- Require a disciplinary hearing for a licensed medical professional when they are convicted of sexual misconduct under the pretext of practicing medicine (HB 4121).
- Prohibit using a position of authority to prevent reporting of certain crimes (HB 4123).
- Prohibit using a position of authority to report an alleged violation of certain crimes to a Title IX coordinator at a post-secondary educational institution (HB 4124).
- Prohibit schools from expelling or suspending a student who reports being a victim of sexual assault (HB 4125).
This package is now awaiting a hearing in the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee.
Nearly 700 New Child Care Centers Opened Through Caring for MI Future Plan
Last Thursday marked the anniversary of Caring for MI Future, a statewide plan to expand child-care access for Michigan families. The state is on track to meet the initiative’s goal of opening 1,000 new child-care programs by the end of 2024. So far, 687 child-care programs have begun operating, and an additional 1,829 center- and home-based services have expanded their practices to allow for more children, lowering costs and increasing access to childcare for families throughout our state.
If you or someone you know is interested in opening or expanding a child-care business, consider visiting the Caring for MI Future website for more information.
Gov. Whitmer Signs Tuition Assistance Bill for National Guard Members’ Families
Gov. Whitmer recently signed a bill (HB 4199) to expand tuition assistance eligibility for National Guard members’ families. Additionally, this bill increases state funding from $10 million to $15 million. I am proud to have voted in support of a bill that recognizes National Guard members for their service and allows their families to pursue a more affordable education.