LANSING — Senator Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D – Taylor) today announced the reintroduction of the “Children’s Protection Act,” now appreciating extensive bipartisan co-sponsorship. Senate Bill 131 would place important restrictions on parental rights of sex offenders, allowing judges to grant custody only if there is clear and convincing evidence demonstrating that doing so presents no substantial risk to that child, and that there is a preponderance of evidence demonstrating that denying custody or parenting time creates a substantial risk of harm to the child.
“Parents across the state have continually contacted me, desperate for action on this legislation,” said Senator Hopgood. “I’m grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for recognizing the unthinkable situation that these parents face – the possibility of their children being placed in the custody of a known and convicted child sex offender.”
While such protections may seem like common sense, under current Michigan law, children can still be placed in the custody of the most egregious child sex offenders. This legislation would greatly limit the risks these children face. The legislation was spurred by an Allen Park resident and citizen activist who encountered the gap in legislation when her child was in danger of being placed into the custody of her ex-husband, a known and convicted child sex offender.
The 2013 version of the bill was developed with the guidance and assistance from the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (MDEDSV) and the Michigan Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention & Treatment Board (MDVSAPTB). The bill has nine co-sponsors: Senators Steve Bieda (D – Warren), Tom Casperson (R – Escanaba), Judy Emmons (R – Sheridan), Vincent Gregory (D – Detroit), Tupac Hunter (D – Detroit), Bert Johnson (D – Detroit), Rick Jones (R – Grand Ledge) and Coleman Young (D – Detroit).