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Lansing – Legislation advancing in Michigan would prescribe longer sentences for certain repeat child abusers.

Bills approved unanimously by the state Senate on Tuesday would set new maximum prison terms for people convicted of third- or fourth-degree child abuse following a prior conviction.

The max for third-degree child abuse currently is two years. It would rise to five years for a second offense. The max for fourth-degree child abuse is a one-year misdemeanor. The legislation would increase the punishment to two years imprisonment for a second offense.

Sentencing guidelines are advisory, so the tougher sentences would not be compulsory for judges.

The bills head to the House next.

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