LANSING, Mich. — Today the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors and Human Services unanimously approved a bill introduced by Sen. Steve Bieda (D–Warren), that would protect a mother’s freedom from establishing paternity, in cases where the child was conceived because of criminal sexual conduct committed by the biological father.

Under current law, a parent seeking public assistance under The Social Welfare Act must fill out an Assistance Application Form that requires an applicant to reveal the biological father of the child. Senate Bill 650 would repeal this required information.

“Protecting our children, and keeping them safe, should always be a priority, and with this legislation, authorities will be given greater power to accomplish that goal,” Sen. Bieda said. “I’m most appreciative that my colleagues on the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services committee recognized how necessary and important this bill is, and voted in support of it.”

Sen. Bieda’s legislation stems from a case in Sanilac County in which a judge granted joint legal custody of a child to a convicted sex offender, after the child’s mother had filed for child support and was subsequently required to list the biological father. The father, a convicted sex offender, was then added to the child’s birth certificate, which gave the judge legal standing to grant joint custody.

The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote.