Sexual assault reforms clear Senate committee

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce legislation Tuesday aimed at further curbing sexual assaults in the state of Michigan.

The bills were announced at a press conference Monday afternoon with victims of the convicted Michigan State University Doctor, Dr. Larry Nassar.

“There are so many victims who are fighting a daily battle known only to them,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “This is about supporting and protecting victims, but also giving them the ability to come forward when they are ready.”

The 10-bill package would expand numerous existing laws and also create new protections in statute. The bills would update current law to allow prosecutors to bring charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) against a minor at any time after the act occurs, while also allowing charges of third-degree CSC against a minor up to the survivor’s 48th birthday, or within 30 years of an accuser being identified by DNA evidence.

The bills would also allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to remain publicly anonymous when bringing a claim in the Michigan Court of Claims and eliminate the current time limit for filing a claim.

“People heal differently,” Horn said. “Not everyone is able to immediately come forward to assist in bringing their perpetrator to justice. By expanding the tools available to prosecutors, while also allowing victims more time to come forward, and the ability to come forward anonymously, I hope we can prevent something like the Nassar case from ever happening again.”

Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, the package’s lead sponsor, added that adjusting the statute of limitations will allow prosecutors to crack down on abusers and prevent them from hiding behind an expired clock.

“This package of bills should put fear into the heart of any possible perpetrator,” O’Brien said. “It’s my hope that these bills will prevent someone from offending. But if they don’t, justice will be served.”

The bills also increase reporting requirements for certain education employees and youth sports coaches. If passed, assistant coaches, athletic trainers and volunteers involved in youth athletic activities would all become mandatory reporters of child abuse. If an individual fails to report such crimes, they could face a felony of up to two years imprisonment, up to a $5,000 fine, or both

“Recent events have cast a dark shadow over the state of Michigan,” Horn said. “It’s a disappointment on a number of levels — there are so many adults who failed these young women. While my heart hurts for all of the victims, I applaud the strength and courage it took to face their abuser in court and work with lawmakers to make sure these horrific events never happen again.”

The bills received approval from the Senate Committee on Judiciary Tuesday afternoon and will now go before the full Senate for consideration.

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Sen. Horn offers free tax guides to assist with tax preparation

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn announced on Thursday that residents of his district who are getting ready to file their taxes and would like up-to-date information can contact his office for a free copy of the Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide 2018 or visit his website for a digital copy.

“These booklets provide a great deal of information and can assist you and your family in preparing your taxes,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “I am happy to provide these to residents of the 32nd District at no cost. Please contact my office or visit my website if you or someone you know would like a copy.”

The guide, which is a reference for the 2017 tax year, is designed to help residents prepare their state tax returns. The booklet contains information on Michigan’s income tax, property taxes and tax credits. Included is a year-long listing of important property tax dates and deadlines as well as copies of the most commonly used tax forms. The guide also features addresses, phone numbers and email information for obtaining state agency tax assistance.

It is important to note that while the guide is meant to be a helpful resource, it should not be used as a substitution for Michigan Department of Treasury tax instruction booklets.

Free copies of the Michigan Taxpayer’s Guide 2018 may be downloaded by visiting www.SenatorKenHorn.com/publications or clicking here.

You may also call Horn’s office at 517-373-1760 or send an email to SenKHorn@senate.michigan.gov to request a printed copy of the guide.

Horn also wants to make residents aware of the AARP’s free tax preparation services. The AARP offers free tax preparation assistance for low to moderate income taxpayers. You don’t have to be a member and there’s no age requirement to get tax help from IRS-certified volunteers. The organization also pairs with other volunteers to provide free tax preparation assistance to those 60 and older.

Check the Tax Aide Site Locator for locations or call 888-227-7669 toll-free for more information or to find a location near you. All you need to do is enter your ZIP code.

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Horn welcomes Reese pastor to Capitol for Senate invocation

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, welcomed the Rev. Alberto Vargas to the Michigan Capitol on Thursday. Vargas serves as pastor at St. Elizabeth Parish in Reese and delivered the invocation before Senate session.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality photograph of Horn welcoming Thursday’s guest is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorKenHorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

Video of Thursday’s invocation is available under the “Video” tab, or by clicking here.

 

Tax relief receives final approval from Legislature

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn that will ensure Michigan residents are able to claim personal exemptions on their state taxes received final approval from the Legislature Wednesday afternoon.

“Passing these bills is a major step for our state,” Horn said. “People are already starting to see the effects of the recent federal reforms in their paychecks and I think we need to keep that relief coming for Michigan residents.”

Some confusion has surrounded the recently approved Tax Cuts and Jobs Act because of language that sets the federal personal exemption to zero. Though the exemption is not explicitly eliminated by the new law, Michigan’s current state income tax law ties the state’s personal exemptions to the federal number of exemptions. Without a revision to state law, Michigan taxpayers would no longer be able to claim the personal exemptions on their state taxes.

Senate Bills 748 and 750 will ensure all personal exemptions remain. SB 748 will guarantee Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming the personal exemption on their state income taxes and SB 750 will make the same assurance for city income tax exemptions.

“Our budget has stabilized and our state’s comeback is more apparent now than ever.” Horn said. “These bills, coupled with the recent federal changes, will provide much-deserved relief to families throughout my district.”

Both bills will now move to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for consideration.

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