Progressive Women’s Caucus introduces bills to support and protect survivors of domestic abuse

Posted at 11:05 AM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 11:05:08-04

LANSING, MI (WXYZ) — Members of the House Progressive Women’s Caucus (PWC) unveiled a package of bills Thursday to support survivors of domestic violence, help protect survivors from further abuse, and to prevent domestic violence overall.

According the PWC, domestic violence rates have soared through the pandemic, leaving shelters overburdened and resources stretched thin.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented rise in reported domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking,” state representative Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township) said. “Survivors deserve to have supports like paid medical leave, privacy rights, and eviction protection. While we may not be able to erase the trauma endured by survivors, we can take common-sense measures to address some of the legal gaps and provide the resources and protections survivors need to begin rebuilding their lives.”

The group introduced six bills and plans introducing two others.

Bills Introduced:

  • HB 5492 (Brabec): Updates the Paid Medical Leave Act of 2019 to include stalking, in addition to domestic violence and sexual assault, as a protected classification for the use of paid sick leave.
  • HB 5493 (Cavanagh): Ensures an individual is not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits for conduct stemming from domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
  • HB 5494 (Clemente): Prevents landlords and realtors from discriminating against individuals based on domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.
  • HB 5495 (Stone): Provides eviction protection for survivors of domestic violence.
  • HB 5496 (Kuppa): Extends privacy rights to adult victims, not just minors.
  • HR 179 (Young): A resolution to declare October 2021 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the state of Michigan.

Bills to be Introduced:

  • (Rogers): Provides an explicit provision in Michigan statute that makes it clear to law enforcement and prosecutors that they are permitted and encouraged to engage and initiate victim-focused outreach with victim service agencies.
  • (Yancey): Alerts identifiable survivors if their abuser’s tether is tampered with and/or the abuser comes within a certain distance of the survivor’s home or workplace.

“Domestic violence impacts nearly every aspect of a survivor’s life, and these bills take real steps to ensure they can protect themselves and rebuild their lives,” state representative Laurie Pohtusky (D-Livonia) said.