LANSING, Mich., Sept. 19, 2023 — According to a recent report from Human Rights Watch, Michigan got a failing grade when it comes to protecting children’s rights, which is why House Democrats have been diligently working to enact legislation to do just that. Since gaining majority, the Legislature has passed bills to end child marriage, strengthen child labor laws and more.

Today, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a package of bills banning child marriage. The bills signed were House Bill 4294, HB 4295, HB 4296HB 4299HB 4300, HB 4302, Senate Bill 209, SB 212, SB 213, and SB 216.

“Child marriage is an outdated, barbaric practice, and I am delighted that we have finally eradicated it in Michigan,” stated state Rep. Kara Hope (D-Holt), sponsor of HB 4294. “State Sen. Sarah Anthony and I have introduced legislation, year after year, to combat this issue. It was only after Democrats assumed power in Lansing that we were able to accomplish this vital task. I’m glad that Gov. Whitmer swiftly signed these bills into law.”

State Reps. Phil Skaggs (D-East Grand Rapids) and Helena Scott (D-Detroit) recently introduced House Bills 4932 and 4962, which, in conjunction with one another, would significantly enhance penalties for employers who violate child labor laws and add  criminal penalties when a child’s employment results in death or bodily harm.

“By strengthening penalties for violations of our child labor laws, we are sending a clear message that Michigan prioritizes the wellbeing of its youth — and we are taking action,” Skaggs said. “Every child and teen, regardless of their background, deserves an environment that nurtures their growth, protects their rights and ensures their safety.”