Baby Cooper bills need House vote before end of year

An undated courtesy photo of Cooper Fales.

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The parents of a little boy who was found dead in his car seat are making a plea to lawmakers to take action before going on Christmas break.

Cooper Fales was found dead two years ago after coming home from his Kentwood daycare. No one was ever charged in his death. A set of bills that would hold providers accountable if they knowingly put a child in danger passed the state senate, but if the house doesn’t pass it before the end of the year the process would have to start over.

“I think about Cooper. I think about the memory of him and how avoidable all of this was. It hits a place inside of you that doesn’t fade away,” said Zach Fales, Cooper’s dad.

Zach and his wife Mary say they will not stop fighting until the law is changed. It won’t bring back their son, but it could save another child’s life.

If Senate Bill 746 and Senate Bill 747 become law, child care providers would face a felony charge if a child dies in their care because state codes were violated.

“This is not additional rules, this is not additional equipment, this is not additional cost to anybody. All these bills are to be able to tie an act to death or extreme harm and be able to charge them with that crime,” said Zach.

The bills are on the House floor and are expected to be discussed next week, but there is no schedule for when or if they will be voted on.

Rep. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, supports the bills in the House and is hopeful they will be voted on before the end of the year. She says the law needs to change.

“Right now, the penalties for that situation are simply inadequate,” said Brinks.

She says if they go up for a vote, the bills appear to have enough support to pass.

Under the new law daycare providers could face up to 10 years in prison for a first offense and up to 20 years for a second offense. 24 Hour News 8 will continue to watch the bills progress.