LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation Monday that adds new services to support crime victims, expands the definition of existing laws and provides more safeguards to protect the identity of witnesses.
One of the bills signed by Whitmer Monday gives a more streamlined option to provide victims with different mental health services.
House Bill 4420, sponsored by State Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), allows police officers or prosecuting attorneys to share victims’ contact information with counselors who work with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, to offer them support services.
Other parts of the legislation package give witnesses a guarantee that if their image is included as part of the investigation in a case, it will be blurred once it is presented in court.
House Bill 4421, sponsored by State Rep. Stephanie Young (D-Detroit), ensures that a crime victim’s image can be blurred in videos, photos, sketches and other court proceedings that are streamed online.
The package signed Monday by Whitmer also expands the definition of existing laws to include other offenses.
House Bill 4422, sponsored by State Rep. Graham Filler (R-Clinton County), amends the William Van Regenmorter Crime Victim’s Rights Act to expand the definition of serious misdemeanor to include additional misdemeanor offenses, including threatening state health officials with physical harm, embezzlement from a vulnerable adult and causing serious injury or death while driving.
Finally, House Bill 4423, sponsored by State Rep. Greg VanWoerkom (R-Norton Shores), allows victims to make their impact statement virtually at a disposition or sentencing.
“As a former prosecutor, I am committed to supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Whitmer in a press release on Monday. “These commonsense bills will protect people’s privacy and safety while ensuring swift prosecutions for those who commit these crimes. I am proud of our record, and bipartisan investments in public safety. Let’s keep working together to build a safer, stronger Michigan.”