Bills to streamline FOC unanimously approved by Senate panel
LANSING — The Senate Families and Human Services Committee unanimously approved legislation designed to update procedures and improve efficiencies of the Friend of the Court Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township.
According to Jansen, the Senate has been working on these reforms since early 2007.
“These bipartisan measures will help children by streamlining operations of the Friend of the Court,” said Jansen, chair of the Senate Families and Human Services Committee. “I’m glad to see these vital bills move forward.”
Jansen and his Senate colleagues have worked closely on Senate Bills 99 through 107 with Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan, the Michigan Department of Human Services, the FOC Association, and the State Court Administrative Office.
Measures in the legislative package will:
- Simplify payment plan requirements for past due child support to afford judicial discretion on a case-by-case basis;
- Permit law enforcement agencies to “boot” vehicles of individuals behind on child support;
- Allow the court to order a jail alternative program for non-payment of child support. Alternative examples include participation in a parenting program, drug or alcohol counseling, continuing compliance with a current support or parenting time order, or complying with a payment plan;
- Eliminate the automatic application of surcharge assessments on arrearages; and
- Streamline the license suspension process if past due child support is owed.
In October 2006 a comprehensive report with recommendations for improving efficiency and client services was submitted to the governor, the Michigan Supreme Court chief justice and legislative leadership.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House on these important bills and seeing the package signed into law,” Jansen said.
The eight-bill package, which will also benefit the DHS Office of Child Support, now advances to the full Senate for consideration.
Posted: Friday, January 30, 2009
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