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      Snyder signs Erin's Law to fight child sexual abuse

      Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed Erin's Law to strengthen protections against the sexual abuse of children.

      The legislation is named in honor of Erin Merryn, a woman from Schaumburg, Ill. who was sexually abused as a child and now campaigns nationally for increased education and protections.

      The bills allow schools to implement a program to educate and provide resources for students, staff and parents about the warning signs of sexual abuse as well as available resources and counseling for children affected.

      They also create a one-time task force to develop recommendations on how schools can best handle this education.

      "Everyone involved in a school - staff, students and parents - needs to recognize the warning signs of sexual abuse," Snyder said. "We educate our children on how to say no to drugs, how to stay safe in a fire or tornado and how to avoid strangers. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is a reality for some children, and we need to provide age-appropriate education to encourage them to speak up and end the abuse."

      Erin's Law was among 30 pieces of legislation getting the Republican Governor's signature yesterday.

      One clarifies that the state's Family Independence program is temporary and not an entitlement. It prevents further cash assitance to families that receive it for at least five years.

      Another bill prohibits prisoners from keeping photos and drawings of, or any item that belonged to their victims.