Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed Erin's Law to strengthen protections against sexual abuse of children.
Named in honor of sexual abuse survivor Erin Merryn, the package includes Senate Bills 1112-1114, sponsored by state Sens. John Proos, Rebekah Warren and Judy Emmons.
The bills allow schools to implement a program to educate and provide resources for students, staff and parents about the warning signs of sexual abuse as well as available resources and counseling for children affected. They also create a one-time task force to develop recommendations on how schools can best handle this education.
"Everyone involved in a school - staff, students and parents - needs to recognize the warning signs of sexual abuse," Snyder said. "We educate our children on how to say no to drugs, how to stay safe in a fire or tornado and how to avoid strangers. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is a reality for some children, and we need to provide age-appropriate education to encourage them to speak up and end the abuse."
The bills now are Public Acts 593-595 of 2012.
Snyder also signed 30 other bills.
SB 192, sponsored by state Sen. Bruce Caswell, reduces the probate court administrative fee for handling an estate by the amount of the remaining mortgage. This leaves more money for descendants. The bill now is PA 596.
SB 409, sponsored by state Sen. Goeff Hansen, exempts from taxes retirement benefits for Michigan National Guard retirees as well as a portion for police and fire department employees. The bill now is PA 597.
SB 645, sponsored by state Sen. Roger Kahn, prohibits prisoners from keeping photos and drawings of their victim, or any item that belonged to the victim. The bill now is PA 598.
SB 878, sponsored by Proos, allows the former Baldwin youth correctional facility in Lake County to house adult offenders. It also allows the Michigan Department of Corrections to competitively bid for operations and services as long as the contract results in at least 10 percent annual savings to the state. The bill now is PA 599.
SB 1000, sponsored by state Sen. John Moolenaar, prevents parents sharing custody from taking their children to countries not part of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which seeks to prevent the abduction of children across international boundaries. This would not apply if both parents gave consent for the children to go to one of these countries. The bill now is PA 600.
SB 1006, sponsored by state Sen. Mark Jansen, retroactively amends the Michigan Business Tax to allow small contractors to claim deductions from gross receipts for payments to subcontractors or for materials, rather than claiming the small business credit. This reduces the tax liability for small contractors back to 2007. The bill now is PA 601.
SB 1008, sponsored by Moolenaar, reinstates a dispute resolution process for small-capacity well owners impacted by the pumping of high-capacity wells. The process previously was repealed in 2009 as a budget-cutting mechanism, but numerous such disputes over groundwater have since arisen. The bill now is PA 602.
SBs 1021 and 1022, sponsored by state Sens. Tom Casperson and Darwin Booher, requires the state to make tax payments in full to counties in which the state owns various types of land, including swamps, commercial forestland and tax-reverted properties. Beginning in 2014, it also increases the tax rate paid by the state. The bills now are PAs 603 and 604.
SB 1037, sponsored by state Sen. Jack Brandenburg, makes several small, technical changes to the Michigan Business Tax to allow easier administration and compliance for those businesses that still chose to file under the tax. The bill now is PA 605.
SB 1051, sponsored by state Sen. Joe Hune, prohibits school board members from voting on contracts and financial transactions in which they or their family members have a financial conflict of interest. The bill now is PA 606.
SB 1386, sponsored by Caswell, clarifies that the Family Independence Program is a temporary program and not an entitlement. In keeping with federal law, it prevents further cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program to families who already received 60 months or more of assistance. The bill now is PA 607.
SBs 1115 and 1118, sponsored by Kahn and Hune, clarify both how economic damages in medical malpractice claims are to be calculated and how long personal representatives have to bring medical malpractice claims after an event. The bills now are PAs 608 and 609.
SBs 1126 and 1357, sponsored by state Sen. Rick Jones, require individuals convicted of a felony who are released from a county jail for work or school to wear an electronic monitoring device. It is a felony to remove these devices. Related bills also sponsored by Jones, SBs 1127 and 1307, require the Department of Corrections or the county sheriff to verify the individual is employed or enrolled before allowing the release. The bills now are PAs 610-613.
SB 1132, sponsored by state Sen. John Pappageorge, allows parents who raised a child but have since divorced and remarried to formally adopt the child without their new spouse joining in the adoption. The bill now is PA 614.
SB 1135, sponsored by Caswell, creates the Michigan Energy Assistance Program to provide energy assistance for low-income households. This creates a system to prevent energy crises, complementing the existing State Emergency Relief program, which only provides energy assistance for families who already have received a shut-off or past-due notice. The bill now is PA 615.
SBs 1141 and 1179, sponsored by Proos, creates the Swift and Sure Sanctions Program to ensure immediate sanctions for a probationer who violates a condition of parole. The program was piloted in courts in Isabella, Berrien, Barry and Wayne counties, and has proved effective in reducing recidivism rates in other states. The bills now are PAs 616 and 617 .
SB 1145, sponsored by state Sen. Jim Marleau, fixes an oversight in PA 210 of 2011 to ensure that provisions relating to the allowable authority of physician's assistants apply to all physician's assistants, whether they are working under a medical doctor or osteopathic physician. The bill now is PA 618.
SB 1238, sponsored by Booher, increases some reporting requirements in the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to ensure more detailed information about the program is available. The bill now is PA 619.
SB 1239, sponsored by state Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, allows strict discipline academies to issue bonds for capital purposes, putting them on equal ground with other public school academies. The bill now is PA 620.
SB 1243, sponsored by Pappageorge, redirects $12 million of the Department of Transportation's Budget from the Transportation and Economic Development Fund to the State Trunkline Fund to ensure a full federal highway aid match. The bill now is PA 621.
SB 1280, sponsored by Casperson, increases the Land Exchange Facilitation Fund balance cap from $2.5 million to $25 million to better accommodate large sales and auctions. It also creates a more fair land transaction process by requiring the Department of Natural Resources to take final action on an application before reviewing another application for the same land since these applications require significant private investment in on-site research. The bill now is PA 622.
SB 1315, sponsored by Proos, requires a parolee to provide written consent prior to their release allowing a warrantless search of his or her person and property by parole officers. The bill now is PA 623.
SB 1351, sponsored by Pappageorge, gradually transfers both the city of Berkley and District Judge James Wittenberg from the 45th District Court to the 44th District Court. This puts three judges in the 44th District Court, which is made up of the city of Royal Oak, but it soon will lose two judges by attrition. The bill now is PA 624.
House Bill 5727, sponsored by state Rep. Joe Haveman, allows state departments and agencies to receive upfront funding from an energy service provider for energy efficient improvements. The provider then will be repaid with a portion of the savings from the improvements. The bill now is PA 625.
Visit www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.