Legislation could help domestic abuse victims get out of cell phone contract

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – State representatives introduced a bi-partisan bill to help domestic abuse victims by releasing them from a joint cell phone plan. Now, the victim’s abuser would need to sign off on such separation. The Women’s Center of Greater Lansing says the legislation could even be a big help during an escape since many phones are GPS enabled.

“They can track them, find out where they are, what they’re doing, who they’re with. All that sort of thing and you know… if you’re trying to get away from somebody… that’s … you don’t want that. You want them not to know where you are,” explained the center’s executive director, Cindie Alwood.

The proposal comes after AT&T brought the idea to State Representative Tom Barrett’s attention.

“What they were stuck doing was making case by case analysis of whether or not this was a justified reason to separate somebody from a cell phone contract. So the intent behind this language and these bills is to allow a victim of domestic violence to be able to terminate their contract with another individual, to just split that up and allow them to each go their separate ways,” he said.

Barrett is working to make Michigan just the fourth state with such a law.

“It was a surprise to me that there wasn’t already a mechanism in place to protect people who are victims of domestic violence in this particular instance,” Barrett added.

“As technology and innovation expands and grows… and these plans become more sophisticated… and the sharing plans become more involved… these are the kind of things that we need to stay on the front lines of to make sure that we’re thinking through potential problems,” explained AT&T Michigan’s director of public affairs, Matt Resch.

A solution both sides of the aisle can agree on.

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