Child Abuse Matters Too.
I know someone that is a Republican who probably received a lot of coal in his stocking on Tuesday.
Every 6 months or so the national GOP does something that always makes me wonder aloud if the leadership was drinking after hours when they came up with a certain idea. I have the same thoughts about the national Dems about every 3 days because I’m sure they do.
However, their counterparts in the State of Michigan really push the envelope of head scratching legislating ESPECIALLY when lame-duck session fever hits.
Latest case in point.
A law was proposed in the Michigan state legislature that would have created a database for CONVICTED persons that had harmed a child through any means. Seems pretty simple right? Who wants to let people who hurt kids to go walking around anonymously.
Well evidently Michigan House Speaker and Republican, Tom Leonard, was not a fan of this common-sense legislation.
The bill addressing this issue goes by the name “Wyatt’s Law” and has been proposed and advocated for by Erica Hammel ( whose son is Wyatt ) for over 4 years.
Back when Wyatt was just a one-year-old baby, he was shaken by his father’s girlfriend who just a week earlier had been sentenced for her SECOND TIME of harming another child and was given probation and fines. Wyatt was the THIRD time she had harmed a child and she almost killed him. The damage done to Wyatt by the violent shaking has given him permanent damage to his brain.
While the woman who has done this is currently in jail, Erica and Wyatt are left to build a new life that involves endless trips to the doctor and 24/7 care.
Erica had no way to find out if the woman who would eventually harm her child had ever been CONVICTED or plead GUILTY to such a charge because there was no database to check. Wyatt’s law only covers incidents of guilt being established, not of being accused.
This is just common sense legislation meant to help protect children.
Now, in all fairness, not all the of the Michigan GOP totally sucked on this. Sen. Majority Leader Arlan Meekhoff met with Erica and her friend Christyne Kadlitz who also has a child that was harmed by the same woman who had harmed Wyatt. Sen. Meekhoff, after an impromptu meeting with these ladies, put the Senate version of this bill out to vote and days later it passed unanimously out of that chamber.
That means that 38 Republicans and Democrats joined together to pass a bill that protected children.
Yet when Erica and Christyne went to visit with Speaker Leonard he kinda blew them off. In fact, he totally blew them off.
According to a post on the facebook site advocating for the bill, Erica wrote at Wyatt’s law
” We stood outside the House Chamber for almost 9 hours. NINE HOURS. All we asked for was 5 minutes with the Speaker of the House Tom Leonard. He knew we were there, passed right by us and acknowledged us when I said: “Hi Mr. Speaker”. We were encouraged by his office to try and pull him out of session and we also told his office we weren’t going to leave till we spoke to him. But Speaker Leonard told us he was too busy for us”
They returned again a week later and Leonard still gave them the brush off.
Now maybe these Moms fighting for their kids and others looked intimidating.
Maybe one of them reminded Leonard of someone that broke his heart a long time ago.
Maybe Speaker Leonard thinks that people shaking and harming kids should be given more than three chances.
Most likely, he just did not give a damn.
Yet, Leonard allowed a bill to be voted on that made sure animal abusers get harsher sentences in the same lame duck session. The animal abuse bill came to a vote AFTER Erica and Christyne waited hours to meet with him on two different occasions.
So the abuse a puppy bill makes the house floor for a vote but the “shine a spotlight on those that would shake a baby”, not so much.
In case my friends in the GOP both nationally and locally have not noticed, you just got your heads handed to you in the 2018 midterms. Your approval ratings with women are right around the current depth of the Titanic.
I know some Republicans will say messaging was key in those elections and you need to work on that. Well, a guy with an R after his name just promoted a “we don’t give a damn” message about kids being harmed in Michigan.
This was an easy slam dunk for the Speaker of the Michigan House. Bring the bill to the floor for a vote like his counterpart in the Senate did. Sen. Meekhoff had the moral courage to bring this to the floor and all 37 of his colleagues voted YES.
Yet Speaker Leonard choked on doing something so simple like allowing a vote. Then, he added insult to injury by not even taking 5 minutes to tell two dedicated mom’s why he was not going to allow a vote.
He waved away Erica, Christyne and ALL parents who want to protect their children. Being Leonard is a parent himself this is even more confusing and quite frankly disgusting.
He simply lacked courage and decency.
He should be the poster boy for why the GOP really has a problem with the lady folk right now. I know some of my friends in the GOP will bristle at that line. Stop making excuses for anyone with an R after their name when they screw up. If you read the bill you would know how truly shameful this is and would have put pressure on him to at least put this to a vote.
Hopefully, the new GOP led Michigan House and Senate will work with Governor-Elect Whitmer after they are all sworn in and get this passed to protect innocent kids. The current Speaker is termed out of office so he can no longer prevent this from passing.
Do the right thing MI-GOP and leave the shameful example of Tom Leonard in the past and show that you actually do care.
We all will be watching.
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