Lawmakers in Lansing are focused on giving some crime victims more rights and protections.
Governor Rick Snyder will have to decide if convicted criminals should be required to listen to their victims in court. The legislation, on its way to his desk, is in response to a defendant who was convicted of killing a woman – but who left the courtroom during the family’s statements.
“For me, it’s a matter of putting victims first,” said bill sponsor Holly Hughes, R-Montague. “Putting humanity first is the principal of all this and making sure you do the right thing.”
And a package of bills that passed in the Senate Tuesday is aimed at confidentiality. The legislation would let victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking keep their home addresses private. That legislation was inspired by Nicole Beverly, whose ex-husband stalked and threatened her.
Bill sponsor Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, said this is about saving lives.
“They cannot be safe when they try to restart their life over,” she said. “So we wanted to offer a reasonable path that could help them stay in Michigan but start over and be able to be safe.”
A victim’s driver’s license and other forms of public identification would have a state address instead of their actual home address. Dozens of other states offer a similar confidentiality program. The bills now head to the state House for consideration.