A series of bills spearheaded by a local legislator protecting underage victims of sex crimes have been signed into law.

Distraught by a recent case where a 16 year-old Livingston County student was convicted of criminal sexual conduct charges and attempted to return to the school his victims attended, State Representative Lana Theis of Brighton Township set out to make sure that could never happen again. On Thursday, Governor Rick Snyder signed her 3-bill package into law. The new law now requires permanent expulsion of students who are convicted of criminal sexual conduct against another pupil in the same school district. This is regardless of where the act took place. It also prohibits an expelled student from attending another public school in Michigan unless they go through a reinstatement program. Additionally, if a personal protection order is issued for the victim, the offender would be prohibited from entering the victim’s school. Protections for underage victims also extend to transportation to and from school, such as on school buses.

Theis said she is proud to have worked on this with victims and their families to make sure that this previous loophole in state law is being erased. House Bills 5530, 5531, and 5532 are now Public Acts 144, 145, 146 of 2018. (MK)