Sen. Jones reminds residents of approaching Home Heating Credit deadline

LANSING — Residents who qualify for Michigan’s Home Heating Credit only have a month left to apply for assistance, said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. The deadline to apply for the credit is Friday, Sept. 30.

“Cold weather is right around the corner,” Jones said. “The Home Heating Credit is available to low-income residents who may have difficulty keeping their house warm this winter. If you’re eligible, I encourage you to apply for this vital assistance.”

According to the Michigan Public Service Commission, eligible individuals must maintain their homestead in Michigan, must own or rent the home in which they live, and for the standard allowance, their income must fall with certain limits.

For example, a single person must have an annual income of $11,929 or less to qualify. The income limit increases $4,114 for each additional exemption. Special exemptions are available for individuals who are deaf, blind, disabled or over the age of 65.

Designed to help low-income Michigan families with the cost of heating their homes, the Home Heating Credit is federally funded through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

For the application form, visit the Michigan Department of Treasury website at: www.michigan.gov/taxes, or call (517) 636-4486.

Additional information is available at the Energy Assistance Programs website at: http://www.michigan.gov/heatingassistance.

Sen. Jones bill declares feral swine an invasive species

LANSING — Following news of a feral hog in Michigan testing positive for pseudorabies, state Sen. Rick Jones introduced legislation Wednesday to help combat the devastating statewide spread of feral swine.

Senate Bill 588 would affirm the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ order that bans all recreational shooting of swine behind fences. The proposal completely bans feral hogs, meaning it would prohibit anyone from owning one or importing them from another state.

“Bringing in feral swine for hunting is like someone bringing Asian carp so they can go fishing. It’s insane! We must protect Michigan, our natural resources and our agricultural industry from the real and serious dangers these animals pose,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture recently confirmed that a wild sow trapped near Midland in June was positive for pseudorabies. In 2000, pseudorabies, a viral disease, was successfully eradicated from Michigan’s commercial pork population.

“Michigan’s pork producers applaud Senator Jones for introducing legislation that would codify the DNR order declaring wild hogs an invasive species,” said Sam Hines, executive vice president of the Michigan Pork Producers Association. “Wild hogs pose a tremendous threat to not only the pork industry, but all of Michigan agriculture as well as the state’s environment and natural resources.”
Out of Michigan’s 83 counties, 72 counties have reported sightings, shootings or trappings of feral swine.

More than 35 states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have declared wild hogs an invasive species. Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania have banned the importation, release and captive hunting of wild hogs.

In addition to destroying important crops, feral swine also spread diseases that can devastate Michigan’s livestock, dairy and poultry industries. Scientific research estimates Michigan has more than 2,000 feral swine, descended from escaped Russian boars and razorbacks imported into Michigan by hunt clubs. The USDA estimates that feral swine cause more than $1.5 billion in damages every year nationwide to farms, property, vehicles and natural wildlife resources.

According to state and national experts on feral swine, the invasive species are among the fastest-breeding and most destructive creatures, with no natural predators.
 

National commander of the American Legion to speak in Charlotte

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, announces that the national commander of the American Legion will visit the American Legion Post 42 this weekend.

American Legion National Commander Jimmie Foster will speak at the post, located at 1000 W. Lawrence Ave., in Charlotte, on Sunday, Aug. 21 at 2 p.m.

The commander will be available for a question and answer period. His speech will be on the Legacy Scholarship Fund that provides scholarships for children of American service men and women killed after 9/11.

The American Legion national commander is the executive head of organization, with full power to enforce provisions of the legion’s constitution, bylaws and resolutions of the national convention, which meets annually. Each national commander serves a one-year term.

Sen. Jones supports cutting 49 judgeships

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, chair of Senate Judiciary Committee announced plans to eliminate 49 Michigan judgeships that are unnecessary.

The non-partisan State Court Administrative Office has determined that 45 trial court judgeships and four appeals court judgeships are not needed because of caseload. Each trial court judge cost both state and local taxpayers a combined approximately $460,000 a year.

“We can save the taxpayers a great deal of money by reducing judgeships that are not needed,” Jones said. “Some of these positions may have been created for political reasons and other areas have had population shifts.”

Sen. Jones, colleagues working to close loopholes in Medical Marijuana law

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, joined Attorney General Bill Schuette, medical professionals and law enforcement officials from across the state to launch an effort to close loopholes in Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act. Jones and his legislative colleagues are working on legislation to help clarify state law.

Editor’s note: The above photograph of Sen. Jones is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s photowire at:

http://www.MISenateGOP.com/senators/photowire.asp?District=24