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Governor Whitmer Signs Law to Protect Children and Give Parents Peace of Mind


May 5, 2022



Governor Whitmer Signs “Wyatt’s Law” to Protect Children & Give Parents Peace of Mind

LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a package of legislation establishing a statewide child abuse registry. House Bills 5274, 5275, 5276, 5277, 5778, 5279, 5280, 5534, and 5594 establish a statewide electronic case management system to track confirmed cases of those abusing or neglecting children, making the information accessible to parents and guardians of children throughout the state.  Additionally, they would modify the procedure to amend or expunge inaccurate reports of child abuse or neglect, ensuring the list accurately tracks offenders.

“As governor of the great state of Michigan and a mom, there is no greater responsibility than keeping our kids safe,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Today, I am proud to sign Wyatt’s Law, establishing a statewide Child Abuse Registry in Michigan so we can accurately track confirmed cases of those abusing or neglecting children. I was proud to work across the aisle to get this done for our kids, parents, and families. This law will help keep kids safe at home, in school, and everywhere in between. Additionally, I am focused on making investments in our young Michiganders from preschool to postsecondary so they can get a high-quality public education and continue learning and growing right here in Michigan. Let’s keep putting our kids and getting things done that make a real difference in their lives.” 

“Nearly a decade after Erica Hammel started seeking accountability for those convicted of child abuse in Michigan, Wyatt’s Law was signed into effect today,” said State Representative Kevin Hertel. “While Erica and Wyatt will always feel the impacts of child abuse, this law will bring justice for countless other families by helping prevent abuse before it can happen.”

State Rep. Kevin Hertel has led this effort on behalf of his constituents, Erica Hammel and Wyatt Rewoldt. The bill is named after Wyatt, a child abused by his father’s girlfriend who had a previous history of child abuse. Wyatt’s mother, Erica Hammel has been working to get this law passed since 2014.

"I am so grateful and humbled that the Governor, who is also a mother, is signing Wyatt’s Law today. There is no greater power than a mother’s love,” said Erica Hammel, Wyatt’s mother. It’s been a 7 1/2-year journey that hasn’t been easy. But Wyatt’s life hasn’t been easy and that has always continued to push me to get this done. What happened to Wyatt could have been prevented had pertinent information been easily accessible. Starting today, countless children’s lives in Michigan will be saved because that information is NOW easily accessible. I’m so thankful to every legislator who has helped make this happen. There is and never will be ANY excuse for child abuse.”

"Keeping children safe is a top priority for the Warren Police Department," said Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer. "Wyatt's Law will help us keep more children across Warren safe by empowering parents to prevent child abuse. Thank you to Erica and Wyatt for their outstanding courage in sharing their story and thank you Governor Whitmer for signing this important bill into law."

“This legislation will help hundreds of thousands of good parents, and open the door for new, good foster care options to keep kids in our state healthy and safe,” said Rep. David LaGrand, D – Grand Rapids.

“Of the work that we do here in Lansing, there is nothing more important than ensuring the health and safety of Michigan’s children,” said Rep. Brenda Carter, D – Pontiac. “For too long, we have failed our children and allowed abusers to come unnoticed into their lives, unable to keep them away from those who would do them harm. I’m glad we’re saying enough is enough by finally putting the right people on the registry and taking the wrong people off.”

HB 5274 was sponsored by Rep. Luke Meerman, R – Coopersville, and a copy can be found here

HB 5275 was sponsored by Rep. David LaGrand, D – Grand Rapids, and a copy can be found here

HB 5276 was sponsored by Rep. Kevin Hertel, D – St. Clair Shores, and a copy can be found here.

HB 5277 was sponsored by Rep. Michele Hoitenga, R – Manton, and a copy can be found here.

HB 5278 was sponsored by Rep. Brenda Carter, D – Pontiac, and a copy can be found here.

HB 5279 was sponsored by Rep. Darrin Camilleri, D – Brownstown, and a copy can be found here.

HB 5280 was sponsored by Rep. Andrew Fink, R – Hillsdale, and a copy can be found here.

HB 5534 was sponsored by Rep. Steven Johnson, R – Wayland, and a copy can be found here.

HB 5594 was sponsored by Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R – Chesterfield Twp., and a copy can be found here.

Governor Whitmer also signed Senate Bill 871, which would adjust the date by which a written report on the feasibility study and strategic implementation plan on tolling highways in Michigan must be delivered to the Governor and the leaders of the Legislature.   

Senate Bill 871 was sponsored by Senator Wayne Schmidt, R – Traverse City, and a copy can be found here.