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family friendly jury duty legislation for Michigan page 1
(Last updated June 16, 2005)
Michigan Family Friendly Jury Duty Initiative
What this initiative is about:
The Michigan family friendly jury duty initiative began with HB 4455, filed in Jan. 2003 by Michigan Representative Gene DeRossett. The passage of HB 4455 would have relieved the burden of jury service on families who care for their children full-time or part-time in the home during normal business hours.
Click here to see a copy of HB 4455.
History of this legislation:
Representative DeRossett was made aware of this issue by Pam Pilch, a La Leche League Leader, Lamaze instructor, and former practicing attorney in Saline, Michigan. Pam had recently given a presentation at the La Leche League state conference on Breastfeeding and the Law and was subsequently swamped with calls from moms across the state who were being called for jury duty and having difficulty either leaving young, fully breast-fed babies, or obtaining child care for older children. Rep. DeRossett gladly introduced the above bill in January 2003.
To read Rep. DeRossett’s endorsement of this legislation, click here.
Status of Family Friendly Jury Duty in Michigan:
On October 14, 2003, HB 4455 was presented before the House Judiciary Committee. Several people testified in support of this initiative, including representatives from La Leche League, Michigan Association of Lactation Consultants, and the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Although the Committee seemed to support the bill, no action was taken.
Apparently the House Judiciary Committee was waiting for an opinion on the bill from various judges in Michigan.
A hearing was finally scheduled for June 23, 2004, but Rep. Jim Howell,
House Judiciary Committee Chairman, cancelled the hearing after those who had
arrived to speak had waited more than three hours! While waiting for the
hearing to start, Rep. Gene DeRossett received a fax from a lobbyist
representing a few Michigan judges who opposed this compassionate, family
friendly bill. Their uncaring attitude for the welfare of babies and small
children was revealed when they wrote, “...we think this bill (HB 4455) would
create an unneeded exemption to jury service.”
Unfortunately, House Bill 4455 has died, since it was not passed by December 31, 2004, and was not reintroduced.
In the summer of 2004, the Michigan Breastfeeding Network offered to make a new Michigan Committee for Family-Friendly Jury Duty a standing committee under their auspices. Plans include collecting information about parents who have been denied postponements, through the dissemination of surveys. Once enough data has been assembled, it will be presented to legislators to demonstrate that there is in fact a problem for parents and breastfeeding mothers obtaining adequate postponement for jury duty in the state. The committee will then proceed to seek a new legislator to introduce a revised ‘family friendly jury duty’ bill.
If anyone would like to serve on the Michigan Committee for Family
Contact Pam Pilch at: PILCHJOHN6@aol.com if you have any further questions.
Help enact Family Friendly Jury Duty in Michigan