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Senate committee plans to move remaining Nassar bills

Larry Nassar
Jodi Westrick
Michigan Radio

State lawmakers expect to hold a key vote on the remaining bills in response to Larry Nassar this week. Nassar is the former Michigan State University sports doctor in prison for sexually assaulting his patients.

The legislature has introduced dozens of bills lawmakers say would improve the state’s sexual assault laws. Two of those bills are on their way to the governor.

The rest of the bills will likely be voted out of a Senate committee this week.

One of the bills in front of the committee would add physical therapists and their assistants to the list of professions required to report suspected child abuse. The legislation originally included more professions, but those were taken out in a House committee.

But now the Senate has the bills. And state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said he’s going to make at least one change.

“I think it is senseless to not have paid coaches be mandated reporters.”

Jones says he plans to make the change during a committee hearing this week. Jones is chair of the committee the bills are in front of. He said he also plans to hold a vote on the bills this week.

Republican Representative Klint Kesto worked on the bills in the House. He said after hearing hours of testimony, the House decided to not include paid coaches as mandated reporters.

“So we have to be very focused when we’re actually changing laws that could have a lot of unintended consequences," Kesto said. "So I hope he reviews that and looks at it."

Kesto said experts told him that expanding the list of mandated reporters can lead to more incorrect reports of child abuse. He said that takes the investigator’s time away from more serious reports and can cause more harm to children.

Jones said he will hear two hours of testimony on Tuesday and then the committee will vote on the bills on Wednesday.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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