‘Nassar’ bills finally signed by governor

In the flurry of legislative activity this December, several bills that were proposed in the wake of former Michigan State physician Larry Nassar’s late-January sentencing finally saw approval by the Senate and a signature by the governor.

House Bill 5539 amends the 2013 student safety law that required the Michigan attorney general to create the 24-hour Ok2Say hotline to receive anonymous information on “unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, or criminal activities” including schoolwide threats. Reports of sexual abuse, assault and rape are now explicitly included in the hotline reporting subjects.

It was passed unanimously in the House in May and presented to the Senate on June 7. It passed the Senate unanimously on Dec. 4 and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder on Dec. 17.

More information on the Ok2Say hotline is available at michigan.gov/ok2say or 1-8-555-OK2SAY.

House Bill 5658 includes sexual assaults in a rule that currently only covers domestic assaults that allows evidence of other assaults in the last ten years to be admissible in court. The bill further allows evidence older than ten years if the assault was reported to law enforcement within five years, a sexual assault evidence kit was collected, or if DNA evidence from the prior investigation pointed to the defendant.

The bill passed the House in May and passed the Senate unanimously on Dec. 4, to be signed by Snyder on Dec. 17.

House Bill 5660 was tie-barred with House Bills 5561 and 5794, which means they had to all pass to take any effect.

Together, the bills increase the maximum penalty for aggravated possession of child sexually abusive material to 10 years in prison, and 25 years for anyone caught distributing such material. They also mandate 5-year minimum sentencing requirements for repeat offenders.

House Bill 5794 expands who can make an impact statement on behalf of a victim who was a minor at the time of the crime before a defendant is sentenced. Previously, only a parent or guardian could make a statement, but the law expands the bill to include grandparents, siblings, spouse’s and more.

The bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate and was signed by the governor on Dec. 17.