FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2022
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Governor Whitmer Signs Bipartisan Bills to Protect Adopted Children, Strengthen Election Access and Other Laws
LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed several bipartisan bills aimed at increasing protections for young people in foster care and removing barriers for families wishing to adopt or foster a child. She also signed legislation to expand voting access for troops and allow local clerks to pre-process mail-in ballots two days before Election Day. This brings the total number of bipartisan bills Governor Whitmer has signed since taking office to 959.
“These bipartisan bills address a range of kitchen table issues and are proof of what is possible when we work across the aisle to put Michiganders first,” said Governor Whitmer. “Together, we are taking action to protect Michigan’s young adoptees by providing them with more forever homes and improving the training of the professionals who work with them. We are increasing the capacity of high-quality residential facilities and conducting thorough assessments to ensure the needs of foster children are met. Finally, we’re also expanding voting access for Michiganders who serve our nation in uniform and allowing local clerks to pre-process mail-in ballots two days before Election Day. Let’s continue to work together to protect children and help more people exercise their constitutional right to vote. »
Protect young people in foster care
“Our child welfare system took a big step forward today with the signing of these bills. Several of these bills expand the definition of parent,” said Rep. Mary Whiteford (R-Casco Township). “With this in place, if no blood relatives are available to foster a child, then someone with close emotional ties can be considered instead of the child going to a stranger. I so appreciate the work my colleagues on the Adoption and Fostering Task Force have done to help our state’s children, as well as Governor Whitmer’s support.”
“I am grateful that my bill requiring LGALs to participate in trauma-informed training will now be law,” said Rep. Laurie Pohutsky (D-Livonia). “It’s important that those tasked with advocating for our young adoptees understand their experiences and needs as best they can.”
“Today marks an important step in the right direction to better support Michigan’s foster care and adoption systems,” said Rep. Sarah Anthony (D Lansing). “These substantial, effective and long overdue changes will directly benefit young adoptees across the state. As a member of the bipartisan task force that helped craft these bills, I am confident and proud that this legislation puts the needs of this particularly vulnerable population and those who serve them first.
“It’s great to see this bipartisan legislative package updating Michigan’s enacted foster care laws, including my bill SB 1166,” said Senator Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington). “The enactment of this legislative package is a step in the right direction to help children in the care of the foster care system and we must continue to work to find further improvements.”
HB5975: Requires trauma-informed training for the lawyer appointed to act on behalf of a child in court.
HB 5975 was sponsored by Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, D-Livonia, and a copy can be found here.
HB5974: Revise the definition of parent in the youth code.
HB 5974 was sponsored by Rep. Mary Whiteford, Township of R-Casco, and a copy can be found here.
HB 5977: Requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to conduct an annual needs assessment regarding the use of residential treatment and the needs of youth who are referred for clinical interventions.
HB 5977 was sponsored by Rep. Phil Green, R-Millington, and a copy can be found here.
HB 5978: Requires MDHHS to use a family tracing and engagement company to help connect adoptive children to family members and friends.
HB 5978 was sponsored by Rep. Rodney Wakeman, R-Frankenmuth, and a copy can be found here.
HB5980: Provides extended license for certain foster homes.
HB 5980 was sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Young, D-Detroit, and a copy can be found here.
HB 5976: Requires an annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services to be submitted to the Legislature.
HB 5976 was sponsored by Rep. Tyrone Carter, D-Detroit, and a copy may be founD here.
HB5981: Increases capacity for foster youth in state-licensed residential facilities.
HB 5981 was sponsored by Rep. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, and a copy can be found here.
HB 6073: Revises the definition of parent in child care organizations. The bill will expand Michigan’s legal definition of parent to include fictitious parents.
HB 6073 was sponsored by Rep. Mary Whiteford, Township of R-Casco, and a copy can be found here.
HB 6074: Revises the definition of parent in the 1939 approval code.
HB 6074 was sponsored by Rep. Mary Whiteford, R-Casco Township, and a copy can be found here.
HB 6075: Revises the definition of parent in the Guardianship Assistance Act.
HB 6075 was sponsored by Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, and a copy can be found here.
CS 1166: Requires that placement preference for children be given to the parents of the child if they meet all relevant child protection standards.
SB 1166 was sponsored by Senator Curt Vanderwall, R-Ludington, and a copy can be found here.
Strengthening elections, expanding access to voting
HB 4491: Allows local clerks to pre-process absentee ballots two days before Election Day. It also codifies existing best practices for mail-in ballot boxes.
HB 4491 was sponsored by Representative Andrew Fink, Township of R-Adams, and a copy can be found here.
SB 8 & SB 311: Aenable our overseas militaryher return their ballot eelectronically, which facilitates the participation of servicemen and women in our elections.
SB 8 was sponsored by Senator Paul Wojno, D-Warren, and a copy can be found here.
SB 311 was sponsored by Senator Ruth Johnson, Township of R-Groveland, and a copy can be found here.
Michigan elections are free, fair, secure, and accurate, and the results reflect the will of the voters. The results are certified and audited by Republican, Democratic, and Nonpartisan Election Officials.
The new law allowing clerks to pre-process ballots before Election Day helps Michigan catch up with other states that extend the right to vote by mail to all voters. Although many clerks have already hired staff for the 2022 election and will not be able to use the new provisions, they will be able to take advantage of this law and speed up election results in future election cycles.
The Michigan Bureau of Elections has released its report of 250 post-election audits conducted statewide affirming the accuracy and integrity of Michigan’s November 2020 election. Officials also conducted a statewide audit exercise, manually counting the votes cast for president on more than 18,000 randomly selected ballots across the state, which confirmed the result. of the presidential election as previously determined by the tabulation machines. And Republican- and Democrat-appointed judges have dismissed more than 60 lawsuits challenging the result.
Governor Whitmer’s Executive Directive to Boost Voter Registration
In May, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2022-04, directing all state departments and agencies to identify and evaluate potential opportunities to help eligible Michiganders register to vote and access to reliable voting information.
Under the executive directive, state departments and agencies must seek ways to provide Michiganders with reliable voter registration and voting information, including postings in public areas, printed materials, online information, public announcements and social media posts. They also need to determine which of their offices could help register voters by distributing mail-in ballot applications, helping Michigan residents complete their voter registration forms, and accepting voter registration applications. electoral rolls.
Michigan’s state government interacts with citizens of all walks of life in many ways: from providing fishing and driving licenses to supporting veterans, educating children and administering Medicaid. or food aid. This level of commitment, which extends to all of Michigan’s 83 counties, provides the state with the opportunity and obligation to reach out to the citizens it serves and empower them to fully participate in our democracy.
The executive directive can be viewed here.
Extension of paid leave
HB 6070: Creates a framework of tax incentives for employers to offer up to 12 weeks of paid leave to employees who have adopted a child (pending appropriation).
HB 6070 was sponsored by Rep. Jack O’Malley, R-Lake Ann, and a copy can be found here.
Governor Whitmer’s investments in paid family leave
Since taking office, the governor has extended paid family leave to all Michigan state employees and will continue to work across the aisle to extend this essential pro-family benefit to more Michiganders. Today’s bipartisan bill demonstrates a shared commitment to ensuring that all parents have the benefits and support they need to raise a family.
SB 178: Establishes a process by which bottle distributors near state lines can request a refund from the state for full reimbursement if more is paid in bottle deposits than is taken.
SB 178 was sponsored by Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, and a copy can be found here.
HB5956: Modifies sunset on certain charges that may result in a criminal conviction.
“I look forward to continuing conversations with stakeholders and administration to find a permanent solution to the funding of the trial courts so that we don’t have to keep putting a band aid on this issue,” said declared Representative Sarah Lightner (R-Springport).
HB 5956 was sponsored by Rep. Sarah Lightner, R-Springport, and a copy can be foundD here.