LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A bipartisan package of bills that aim to curb child abuse has been signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Colloquially known as “Wyatt’s Law,” House Bills 5274, 5275, 5276, 5277, 5778, 5279, 5280, 5534, and 5594 will establish a statewide electronic system that tracks confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect, making the information accessible to parents and guardians of children.
The law also changes the procedure to amend or expunge inaccurate reports of child abuse or neglect, making the list accurate and up to date.
As governor of the great state of Michigan and a mom, there is no greater responsibility than keeping our kids safe. Today, I am proud to sign Wyatt’s Law, establishing a statewide Child Abuse Registry in Michigan so we can accurately track confirmed cases of those abusing or neglecting children. I was proud to work across the aisle to get this done for our kids, parents, and families. This law will help keep kids safe at home, in school, and everywhere in between. Additionally, I am focused on making investments in our young Michiganders from preschool to postsecondary so they can get a high-quality public education and continue learning and growing right here in Michigan. Let’s keep putting our kids and getting things done that make a real difference in their lives.”Governor Gretchen Whitmer
The bills were championed by State Rep. Kevin Hertel and his constituents Erica Hammel and Wyatt Rewold. Wyatt, the legislation’s namesake, was abused by his father’s girlfriend growing up.
Nearly a decade after Erica Hammel started seeking accountability for those convicted of child abuse in Michigan, Wyatt’s Law was signed into effect today. While Erica and Wyatt will always feel the impacts of child abuse, this law will bring justice for countless other families by helping prevent abuse before it can happen.”
State Rep. Kevin Hertel
Hammel has been working to pass this package of bills since 2014.
I am so grateful and humbled that the Governor, who is also a mother, is signing Wyatt’s Law today. There is no greater power than a mother’s love. It’s been a 7 1/2-year journey that hasn’t been easy. But Wyatt’s life hasn’t been easy and that has always continued to push me to get this done. What happened to Wyatt could have been prevented had pertinent information been easily accessible. Starting today, countless children’s lives in Michigan will be saved because that information is NOW easily accessible. I’m so thankful to every legislator who has helped make this happen. There is and never will be ANY excuse for child abuse.”
Erica Hammel, Wyatt’s mother