Schuitmaker to host press conference on new legislation protecting victims of sexual assault

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker announced on Wednesday that she will be hosting a press conference to announce and discuss legislation that would increase protections for victims of sexual assault, specifically instances where a child is conceived.

Who:

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton;

Ed Rivet, Right to Life of Michigan;

Genevieve Marnon, Right to Life of Michigan; and

Rebecca Kiessling, pro-life attorney/activist

What:

A press conference announcing upcoming Senate legislation to protect sexual assault survivors who are mothers of children conceived through rape.

When:

Thursday, Oct. 26 at 2:30 p.m.

Where:

Michigan Capitol

Room 402/403

Lansing, MI

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Senate legislation would protect victims of domestic violence, rape and human trafficking

LANSING, Mich. — Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault would be able to hide their physical addresses from their offenders under legislation being introduced by Sens. Margaret O’Brien, Tonya Schuitmaker and Rick Jones.

“It is time for the state to step up to help victims safely get a fresh start away from their offenders,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “This Senate legislation would help protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking by keeping their locations hidden from their offenders. For many women and children, this is a matter of life and death.”

The Senate legislation would create an address confidentiality program in Michigan. The program would enable victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking to obtain a confidential address to protect themselves from their past offenders.

The confidential address would be used on official documentations as well as mailing addresses.

“Keeping victims safe is the number one priority in this legislation,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “These individuals have already been through the most difficult of times, and I certainly think these bills can provide both closure and a bit of assistance.”

Under the bills, if a child is at risk of being threatened or physically harmed or they or their parents are victims of domestic violence, stalking, human trafficking, rape or sexual battery, they too would be eligible to apply as a program participant and receive an identification number. A school would not be allowed to disclose the address of a pupil or a pupil’s parent if they are program participants.

“With this legislation, Michigan would join 37 other states in offering address confidentiality programs for victims of abuse or assault,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “There are cases of victims who have been forced to leave the state or even the country to escape their attackers. By providing a confidential address under this legislation, the state can decrease the risk of victims being threatened or harmed again by offenders.”

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Schuitmaker welcomes Medal of Honor recipient to state Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker welcomed Vietnam veteran and recent Medal of Honor recipient SPC James McCloughan to the Michigan Capitol on Wednesday.

“McCloughan served as a medic and his actions directly resulted in 10 American lives being saved,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “On behalf of every member who sits in this chamber, I would like to salute SPC McCloughan for his bravery and heroism and honor his time in the armed forces. He is the true embodiment of courage and many men owe their lives to his actions from nearly a half-century ago.”

McCloughan is a resident of Casco Township and joined Schuitmaker on the Senate floor as members paid tribute to his courageous display of heroism during the Vietnam War and honored him as a Medal of Honor recipient.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality photograph of Schuitmaker welcoming Wednesday’s guests is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorTonyaSchuitmaker.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

PHOTO CAPTION: State Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, places a pin on SPC James McCloughan during a Senate ceremony recognizing his service and honoring him as a Medal of Honor recipient.

House committee approves Schuitmaker legislation to combat opioid epidemic

LANSING, Mich. — The House Committee on Health Policy on Tuesday advanced a package of bills that would further the state’s efforts against the growing prescription drug and opioid epidemic in Michigan.

“Every community across our state has experienced the devastating effects of prescription drug and opioid abuse,” said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, who has been the lead in the Senate on several opioid-related issues. “This is not something that we can simply legislate away. It takes diligence and cooperation on every level.”

Because of their direct involvement with the process, Schuitmaker concentrated her legislative efforts on what have come to be known as “doctor shopping” and “pill mills.” As a result, she introduced Senate Bills 166 and 167 to hinder this process and crack down on any collusion between pharmacies and physicians.

“To get to the root of the problem, we need to weed out the bad actors,” she said. “Doctors and pharmacies working together to illegally prescribe medications for a quick buck is a recipe for disaster. These so-called medical professionals clearly do not have the patient’s best interest in mind. They are not only violating the law, but the ethics of the oath they took to become a physician as well.”

These bills would make sure doctors who prescribe Schedule 2 through Schedule 5 controlled substances consult the Michigan Automated Prescription System, or MAPS, prior to doing so. The bills also outline punishment guidelines for those who fail to do so or are negligent.

MAPS was designed to prevent drug diversion by collecting prescription data and loading it into a database made available to all Michigan prescribers. This allows health care professionals to see a full picture of the controlled substances that a patient has received and from which prescriber. A MAPS report could indicate to the physician or health care provider that abuse or doctor shopping may be occurring.

“I, and many others, find it troubling that the number of controlled substances prescribed in Michigan has nearly quadrupled over the past eight years,” Schuitmaker said. “My goal with these bills is to simply make sure doctors have all relevant information regarding a patient’s prescription history and to put an end to the illegal operations that allow opioids to get into the hands of those who do not truly need them.”

SBs 166 and 167 now go before the full House for a vote.

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Hunters hunting outside of Michigan must follow new cervid rules

Michigan has a rich hunting heritage. New cervid importation regulations will help protect the state’s deer population to ensure our hunting tradition stays strong.

To help keep potential cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from unintentionally being brought into Michigan, hunters who harvest a cervid (deer, moose or elk) in any other state or province can only import certain parts, such as hides, deboned meat, quarters, finished taxidermy products, cleaned teeth and antlers.

CWD is a fatal, contagious neurological disease. In 2015, a free ranging deer in mid-Michigan tested positive for CWD. Since that discovery, nine animals have tested positive for the disease. The state has taken aggressive steps, including these new regulations, to help contain this threat. Those hunting in Michigan within areas where CWD has been found must follow specific regulations as well. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.