The Michigan Senate gave final approval to legislation known as "Dominick's Law" Thursday that will strengthen penalties for child abuse in Michigan and create penalties for abuse in front of other people.
The bill has already been bassed by the House and now heads to the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder for final approval as early as next week.
The legislation, sponsored by state Reps. Matt Lori and Joseph Graves, are in memory of Dominick Calhoun, a 4-year old from Argentine Township who was beaten to death in 2010, in the presence of his older brother.
"Passing this legislation is a big victory for ensuring the safety of Michigan's children as it demonstrates that child abuse will not be tolerated in our state," said Graves, R-Argentine Township. "I hope that sending these bills to Gov. Snyder will also allow some closure for the Calhoun family as we honor the memory of little Dominick."
House Bills 5562 and 5563 establish penalties for committing child abuse in the presence of another child, which is not currently considered a component of the crime. Passage of the bills would make Michigan's child abuse laws some of the toughest in the nation.
"Updating these laws gives the courts the tools to properly punish criminals who commit child abuse and sends the message that what happened to Dominick Calhoun will not be tolerated in Michigan," said Lori, R-Constantine. "We are determined to better protect our children from child abuse and I believe this has been accomplished under this legislation."
The legislation also strengthens penalties for first- and second-degree child abuse, creating additional penalties for additional offenses of child abuse.
The Dominick's Law! Facebook page, created by Donna M. Hasman to promote getting the law passed, made several posts Thursday celebrating the news.
"I am just in tears... Today the promise I made to Dominick was fulfilled... Today we re-wrote Michigan History. Today we set a standard for an entire Nation to follow. Today his Flame burns high. Today he carry's a HUGE legacy [...]Cheers to you, my friend's and supporters. I personally feel like this IS the hugest achievements I have ever had in my life. I am sooo honored to have been a part of this," she said.
Some of the information above was provided by the Michigan House Republicans.