Bipartisan bills would hold child abusers accountable

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Bizon, M.D. on Tuesday introduced Senate Bill 291 as part of a package of bills known as Wyatt’s Law, which would create and maintain a registry for those convicted of child abuse.

“I sponsored a bill in this package last legislative session and am pleased to sponsor it again this term because the story of Wyatt, the bill’s namesake, strikes you to your core,” said Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “I’m looking forward to seeing these bills passed so that we have another layer of protection for our children who depend on responsible adults to take care of them.”

Inspiration for the bills came when the mother of Wyatt approached the Legislature following the abuse of her one-year-old son at the hands of his father’s girlfriend. The mother had petitioned for sole custody due to unease about the girlfriend, but there was no way for her to check to see if the woman was a danger to her son.

Wyatt suffered shaken baby syndrome when the woman abused him. The mother didn’t learn until it was too late that the woman had two prior convictions for child abuse.

“A critical aspect of this legislation is the searchable database, which will provide parents with access to vital information they need to protect their children,” Bizon said. “This will help prevent future tragedies.”

In addition to SB 291, the bills in the package include SBs 289 and 290. The bills match legislation introduced in the House last session.

The package has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety.