The Michigan House today unanimously approved legislation known as "" to strengthen penalties for child abuse in Michigan and create penalties for abuse in front of other people.
House Bills 5562 and 5563, sponsored by state Reps. Matt Lori and Joseph Graves, are named in memory of , a 4-year-old who was beaten to death in Argentine Township in 2010.
"This legislation hits very close to home for me as Dominick Calhoun was beaten to death right in my home community," said Graves, R-Argentine Township. "By strengthening penalties for child abuse in Michigan, we are giving the courts the tools to properly punish criminals for committing child abuse."
The bills establish penalties for committing child abuse in the presence of another child, which is not currently considered an element of the crime.
"We cannot change what happened to Dominick Calhoun, but hopefully by updating these laws we can demonstrate our determination to better protect Michigan children from child abusers, said Lori, R-Constantine."
The legislation also strengthens penalties for first- and second-degree child abuse, creating additional penalties for additional offenses of child abuse.
* Information provided by Michigan House Republicans.