Whitmer signs ‘Wyatt’s Law’ to protect children statewide
Mich. (WNEM) - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of House Bills Thursday to establish a statewide registry for child abuse.
House Bills 5274 through 5280, 5534 and 5594 create an electronic management system to track cases of abusing or neglecting children. The system will be available by parents and guardians of children in Michigan.
The system will change the procedure to amend or expunge false reports of child abuse or neglect to have an accurate list of offenders.
“As governor of the great state of Michigan and a mom, there is no greater responsibility than keeping our kids safe,” Whitmer said. “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.”
“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,” State Rep. Kevin Hertel said. “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.”
Hertel has led the effort of these bills with Erica Hammel and Wyatt Rewoldt.
The bill is named after Wyatt who was a child abused by his father’s girlfriend. The woman had a previous history of child abuse.
Erica Hammel, Wyatt’s mother, has been working to get the law passed 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,” Hammel said. “It’s been a 7.5-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.”
“Keeping children safe is a top priority for the Warren Police Department,” Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer said. “Wyatt’s Law will help us keep more children across Warren safe by empowering parents to prevent child abuse. Thank you to Erica and Wyatt for their outstanding courage in sharing their story and thank you Governor Whitmer for signing this important bill into law.”
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