Legislation taking effect keeps survivors safe and kids on the right path
LANSING, Mich., Feb. 12, 2024 — For the first time in 40 years, Democrats gained control of the Legislature and the governor’s office last year — with a majority, they led a remarkably productive year, passing and signing into law a historic number of bills. A significant number of those laws go into effect on Feb. 13. In order to celebrate with and inform Michiganders, Dems are rolling out the Countdown to a Better Michigan project — each day leading up to Feb. 13, we will share about a different set of legislation soon becoming law. Included are laws to increase public safety and reform the criminal justice system. We heard from residents about how they wanted a safer Michigan, and we delivered with action.
“The matters of justice we’ve passed in the House this legislative term were about improving accountability and fairness. We’ve invested more in EMS, fire and policing this term to empower communities to become safer by creating the Public Safety and Violence Prevention Fund. We’ve created policies for more accountability in the process of seeking justice; when the rights of survivors are stronger in our state, we are all safer. We’re on the right track to make Michigan safer for everyone,” said state Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit), a former Wayne County Sheriff’s Department officer.
With the passage of the new gun reform laws, Michigan has moved up four spots in the nation’s ranking for gun reform strength. The bill banning convicted domestic abusers from owning firearms is one of 10 gun reform laws that will go into effect on Feb. 13. Other foundational gun reform legislation making Michigan communities safer include universal background checks, safe storage and extreme risk protection orders.
“The work we’ve done at the Capitol strikes a balance between boosting community safety and finding ways to reform our criminal justice system,” said state Rep. Amos O’Neal (D- Saginaw), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Corrections. “We’re continuing to put all people first to make sure Michigan is a safe place, by lowering the risk of gun violence for our families and kids, while also making necessary changes to decrease recidivism and promote healthier integration into our society with the Justice for Kids and Communities bill package.”
The 11-bill package called Justice for Kids and Communities, reforms multiple areas of the youth justice system, including support for evidence-based programs that reduce incarceration, adopting data-driven tools to guide diversion, court and detention decisions and incentivizing the use of research-based practices.
“The Justice for Kids and Communities bill package goes into effect tomorrow. These new laws were designed from the bipartisan task force, with data-driven recommendations. I am happy I could sponsor a bill in this package as we continue to shape a more supportive and functional criminal justice system. These bills were long past due,” said state Rep. Jimmie Wilson, Jr. (D-Ypsilanti), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Judiciary.
House Dems are taking systematic steps to change systemic problems. These laws will help continue to root out unsafe gun practices and tackle concerns that Michigan’s juvenile justice system faces.
“The implementation of ‘red flag laws,’ universal background checks, and safe-storage requirements will prevent gun violence before it happens. These laws will mean fewer funerals; fewer grieving families; less senseless loss of life. At long last, our state is taking a proactive approach to eliminating gun violence, and communities across the state will benefit,” Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit said. “At the same time, the juvenile-justice reforms create a standardized, evidence-based, and better resourced youth justice system. Young people and their families will have increased access to rehabilitative resources that can help them thrive. A standardized approach also means that residential beds across the state will no longer be occupied by children who don’t need to be there. That, in turn, will free up these spots for young people who need more significant, residential interventions.”
The Countdown to a Better Michigan project marks the implementation of numerous laws going into effect on Feb. 13. House Dems are reinvesting in Michigan’s public safety and passing common-sense legislation to prevent gun violence and cultivate safer communities. For detailed information on these transformative policies, please go to this page. Together, let’s celebrate a healthier, more resilient Michigan.