As my time in the Legislature is coming to a close, I have had a chance to reflect on the past 14 years. There is much I have had the opportunity to accomplish on behalf of my constituents, and we achieved many reforms that will make Michigan a better place.
My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic, and I demonstrated that during my time in Lansing. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I am proud of the work that was done in the busiest committee in town. I did not shy away from hard work, because I knew it was the job — the job the people of my district sent me to do. As a testament to that hard work, I will be leaving the Legislature having sponsored 170 public acts.
Protecting the rights of the brave men and women who have served our country was a great priority of mine. After an Iraq veteran returned home from active duty and found all his parental rights were taken away by the Ingham County Friend of the Court and then another judge threatened an arrest warrant for a sailor serving in a nuclear submarine for not appearing in court for a custody hearing, I pushed legislation into law to ensure parental rights are not threatened because someone was serving on active duty. I ensured members of veteran and fraternal organizations could visit other posts after the overbearing Liquor Control Commission threatened to change the decades-old practice.
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As a senator, I have strived to give a voice to some of our most vulnerable citizens, particularly victims and children. Michigan became a world leader by passing a law prohibiting female genital mutilation from being performed on a child and making the action punishable by a 15-year felony. Having a connection to foster care, I understood the importance of creating law establishing the rights of siblings to either be placed together or have visitation while in foster care.
Being a former sheriff, I have also worked to help reform our criminal justice system. I discovered the practice of cops leaving agencies because of disciplinary issues and then moving on to another agency without the reason of their departure being known. So I sponsored law to require law enforcement agencies to keep a separation record on file and require it be viewed before an officer is hired by another agency. I hope it will keep bad cops off the streets. I also codified into law the right of Michigan residents to defend themselves from death or rape, coined as the Castle Doctrine.
Working for the people of Michigan’s 71st House District and 24th Senate District over the past 14 years has been an absolute honor and privilege. I have had a chance to collaborate with some of the best public servants this state has to offer. Thank you for your input, support, and kind words over the years.
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02. A Hazzard County Christmas
Josh Strickland talks with Pastor Steve Rau from Shiawassee Harvest Church about the church's holiday concert event featuring the stars of the hit TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, and how it came together.