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Nassar Response Bills Continue to Raise Concerns at State Capitol

Michigan Legislature

State Rep. Martin Howrylak (R-Troy)

Lawmakers continue to focus on bills aimed at sexual assault prevention in response to Larry Nassar. Nassar is the former doctor who told patients he was treating them, when he was actually sexually assaulting them.

But the new policy proposals have led to heated debate among lawmakers during a committee hearing.

One lawmaker had harsh words for a bill to increase documentation and record retention requirements for doctors for certain medical procedures, and make failure to do so a crime.

Lawmakers in favor say a tighter rein on medical documentation would prevent a Nassar situation from happening again. But others say this isn’t the way to go about it.

This whole criminalization, I’m opposed to the criminalization of your record keeping,” said state Rep. Rose Mary Robinson (D-Detroit).

I think it’s inane. I think it’s stupid.”

Medical professionals also expressed their concerns about the bills during a committee hearing Tuesday. They say doctors are reluctant to perform exams on sensitive parts of patients’ bodies.

Glenn Dregansky is a doctor in Kalamazoo who specializes in family medicine. He said some of the bills introduced could have a chilling effect on the medical profession.

First we do no harm,” he said. “That’s that fundamental tenant of what we do, and a physician did harm under the guise of treatment. So I don’t know how to prevent that. I do know that I am scared to create an atmosphere where physicians are afraid to examine patients.”

Lawmakers also argued about sex education in schools during the Tuesday committee meeting.

A bill would require sex education for 11th and 12th graders to include instruction on sexual assault and healthy relationships.   

State Rep. Martin Howrylak (R-Troy) said the bill makes a moral judgement that should be up to parents about what is okay in a dating relationship.

Bill sponsor Kim LaSata (R-Bainbridge Twp.) disagrees. She said kids aren’t always being taught healthy relationships at home, and this would help the students understand abuse.

The two had a heated exchange during the committee hearing.

I am telling you that you are adding something in here with my tax dollars that could potentially be in violation of what I believe is morally right,” said Howrylak.

LaSata responded, “Then opt out.”

Well then don’t take my tax dollars,” said Howrylak. “Or maybe you could fix your bill and stop arguing with me.”

Maybe you could send your kids to a parochial school, and then you would be safe,” said LaSata.

The House committee is scheduled to meet for several more weeks before finalizing the legislation for the House floor. Committee chair Klint Kesto said he welcomes all the criticism and is open to making changes to the bills.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

About the Author

Cheyna Roth

Reporter

Cheyna has interned with Michigan Radio and freelanced for WKAR public radio in Lansing. She’s also done some online freelancing and worked on documentary films.

CRoth@MPRN.org   Follow @Cheyna_R

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