New Michigan Laws for Families in 2021

COVID dominated lawmakers’ thoughts, but there are a few new Michigan laws that might interest families in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor.

While Michigan lawmakers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were understandably focused on battling the coronavirus and helping Michiganders cope with some of the pandemic’s financial impacts with COVID relief in 2020, there are a few laws taking effect this year that families should know about.

The biggest new law is part of the state’s larger effort to reform juvenile justice. Later this year, on Oct. 21, 2021, 17-year-olds will no longer be considered adults in the eyes of the courts and the law. That means they will be treated as a minor and given rehabilitation services to hopefully help stop them from committing another crime.

This has been a long undertaking, with bills associated with raising the age, signed way back in 2019. Michigan is only one of four states that treats 17-year-olds as adults.

The law is not, however, retroactive.

For victims of domestic and sexual violence and their families, a new law helps improve privacy. Victims and their kids can get identification numbers and substitute addresses with post office boxes for state documents and IDs. The ID number will be listed instead of an address in voter files and other public documents available under the Freedom of Information Act, under the change, for example.

In addition, schools cannot provide addresses for parents or their kids.

To apply under the program, the state attorney general’s office will set up an application. The law gives the attorney general two years to create a program to accomplish the enhanced privacy.

The state also has addressed one of the worst decisions parents might have to make, asking doctors not to resuscitate their child.

Effective April 4, 2021, parents are authorized to execute a Do-Not-Resuscitate order for their child. In addition, a DNR must be filed with a child’s school and school officials must train staff and teachers who work with the child how to handle any DNR situations

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