House Bills 4674-4675 – Key Pieces of the Bipartisan Safer Michigan Act – Pass the Senate, Head to Governor Whitmer’s Desk
New Laws Will Increase Support for Crime Victims, Improve Access to the State’s Victim Compensation Program
LANSING, Mich. – In a major win for crime survivors and advocates, the Michigan Senate today passed critical reforms to the state’s victim compensation program. House Bills 4674-4675, sponsored by State Rep. Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian) and Rep. Bradley Slagh (R-Zeeland), passed the Michigan Senate with bipartisan support and now head to Governor Whitmer for signature.
Together, the new laws increase support for Michigan crime victims by allowing all victims in need to access victim compensation, expanding victim compensation coverage to account for actual costs resulting from victimization, and increasing how much time crime victims have to apply for help. The legislation, which is part of the Safer Michigan Act package, is supported by members of the business and faith communities, and has been championed by crime survivors across the state.
“Today, Michigan lawmakers have reaffirmed their commitment to helping crime victims recover and ending cycles of violence in our communities,” said Aswad Thomas, vice president at Alliance for Safety and Justice and national director of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “We thank the Crime Victim Service Commission for its support and partnership in achieving a safer Michigan for all. And thanks to leaders like Rep. Kahle and Rep. Slagh, crime survivors will now have the resources that they need to heal and feel safe, while strengthening communities throughout the state.”
“Crime survivors like me know how important victim compensation can be as we try to recover from traumatic and violent incidents,” said Qiana Wimbley, gun violence survivor and member of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice. “With House Bills 4674-4675, Michigan crime victims finally have the resources that they need to heal and end cycles of trauma.”
“Michigan crime survivors stood up as one and demanded change. Today’s victory was made possible because of their courage and persistence,” said Representative Bronna Kahle (R-Adrian). “The Safer Michigan Act brings much needed resources and support to those who need it most. With these reforms, we are proving to the nation that Michigan can adopt proven solutions to stop cycles of victimization. There is still more work to do to improve safety and support victims, but today’s bill passage is a groundbreaking step in the right direction.”
“Today’s vote is further evidence that when survivors speak, change happens. The legislature has affirmed that the Safer Michigan Act is a common sense approach to lifting up crime victims and improving public safety. We look forward to the Governor’s support as we work to remove roadblocks that keep victims of crime from getting the help they need,” said Representative Bradley Slagh (R-Zeeland).
About Michigan’s Victim Compensation Bills (HB 4674-4675)
The Safer Michigan Act increases support for crime victims by allowing all victims of violent crime who need to access victim compensation. This will expand victim compensation coverage to account for actual costs resulting from violent crime victimization, and increase how much time crime victims have to apply for help. Data from ASJ shows that 25 percent of Michiganders were the victim of a crime in a 10-year period, but less than 1 in 5 reported receiving information about services and fewer received any services (i.e., medical assistance, mental health support, financial assistance for medical costs or monetary losses, emergency or temporary housing).
Michigan currently has the lowest application rate for victim compensation, in the nation. Survivors have just 48 hours to report a crime if they intend to apply for victim compensation – the shortest reporting limit in the country. Michigan statute also requires applicants to file claims in person or by mail, and compensation only covers a maximum of $25,000 for any application, which is below the national average, and well below actual costs in the most catastrophic cases.
ABOUT ALLIANCE FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) is a multi-state organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. It brings together diverse local crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of its Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice network that has thousands of members in Michigan. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.