Step Up and Get This Done’, Lawmakers Told
Reforms Will Increase Public Safety, Reduce Taxpayer Costs
Washington, D.C. – Today, State Senator Steve Bieda (D-9) and former Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema (R) joined FreedomWorks and the U.S. Justice Action Network in calling for immediate action on justice reform legislation, including the legislative package sponsored by Sen. John Proos, currently under consideration in the Michigan legislature.
The group praised the passage of HB 5273, which eliminated the successor judge parole hearing veto, this week, and used this example to stress there is no need for lawmakers to give up on further reforms.
“There are a lot of strong proposals on offer on both sides of the aisle that we really need to focus on before we end this session,” said State Senator Steve Bieda (D-9). “We have to be smart about how we deal with justice reform, how we deal with reintegration and how we get people back into society in a meaningful and responsible way.”
Polling commissioned by the U.S. Justice Action Network in Michigan has found that justice reform issues have between 80 and 90 percent support from the public.
“We have to get smarter about criminal justice nationally and here in Michigan. Research is now clearly showing that keeping people in prison longer does not add to public safety and this is driving our desire to get smarter on justice reform,” said Ken Sikkema, Former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow, Public Sector Consultants. “At a time when politics has become so polarized, justice reform is uniting the right and the left in a way that other issues have not. This is a critical point. We have a golden opportunity to improve public safety and save taxpayers money, let’s get it done.”
By allowing politics to get in the way of good policy, both Jason Pye from FreedomWorks and Holly Harris from U.S. Justice Action Network warned Michigan lawmakers that, to voters, they are starting to resemble their counterparts in Washington.
“We have seen the positive effects of justice reform at the state level and Michigan has the chance to join them. Right now, lawmakers in Lansing look a lot like lawmakers in Washington – they can’t get anything done,” said Jason Pye, Director of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs, FreedomWorks. “This is one of the few areas where the left and right agree on, uniting conservatives, progressives, libertarians and anything in between. We call on Michigan legislators to enhance public safety, save taxpayers money and get this done.”
“We really appreciate Sen. Bieda and former Senate Majority Leader Sikkema’s leadership on this issue,” said Holly Harris, Executive Director, U.S. Justice Action Network. “Hearing from leaders on the right and left underscores the strong bipartisan support for justice reform in Michigan. We are approaching the end of session, and the state is starting to get a reputation like Washington, D.C. A lot of good bills have died this year in Michigan. We’re calling on lawmakers to buck this trend and pass smart, sensible reforms to our justice system.”