State Rep. Matt Hall (R-Marshall) this week saw the advancement of three plans he is spearheading to increase cybersecurity, protect children and crack down on people willingly falsifying the need for an emotional support animal.
“I am fighting for meaningful legislation to improve the lives of the people of Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties, and across Michigan,” Hall said. “As chair of the House Oversight Committee, I’ve been working hard to better protect our children, hold state government accountable and improve Michigan’s cybersecurity. I will continue to fight for these important reforms as they move through the legislative process.”
The House Ways and Means Committee unanimously advanced Hall’s proposal enhancing Michigan’s cybersecurity capabilities. The legislation, now awaiting a full House vote, came in wake of a 2019 performance audit of the Michigan Cyber Civilian Corps (MiC3) that revealed deficiencies in the agency’s effectiveness in assisting local governments and critical infrastructure in cybersecurity emergencies.
Hall said after gaining more insight on the MiC3 program, he authored legislation fine-tuning the MiC3 program by developing a stronger framework and a more efficient process to head off cyber-attacks threatening critical state infrastructure.
The House Families, Children and Seniors Committee unanimously approved Hall’s legislation to protect Michigan’s most vulnerable children and shine a light on the state’s child welfare agencies.
A 2019 performance audit conducted by state auditors revealed the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) did not properly fulfill its obligation of investigating both child death reports and the child welfare complaints it receives.
In response, Hall introduced legislation that would revamp the OCO’s ability to investigate child deaths in Michigan and require its findings be made public. Hall said greater transparency and public awareness of the OCO’s investigation findings will lead to more accountability from state government and better protect children from abuse, neglect and death.
The House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approved Hall’s bipartisan measure cracking down on people who falsify the need for an emotional support animal with stricter penalties, while also protecting those who have a legitimate need for these companions.
Hall said it has become much like the Wild West when it comes to emotional support animals, adding people are going online and receiving fake doctor notes to bring their pets wherever they want for their own personal convenience. Landlords at apartment and condo complexes statewide have been receiving hundreds of accommodation requests for emotional support animals with no way of knowing if the animals are legitimate.
The legislation now awaits a full House vote.
The legislation: House Bills 4910, 5426, 5248