Predatory teachers

Last December a 28-year-old male Ionia High School teacher took a student to a Kalamazoo hotel for sex the day after her 18th birthday. Despite being 18, the student was not set to graduate until June 2011.

Although an investigation was conducted by the Michigan State Police, the Ionia County prosecutor is unable to prosecute because the victim was one day past her 18th birthday, even though she was a student.

Parents send their children to school to learn, not to be preyed upon by their teachers. That is why I am proud to report that the Michigan Senate is working on legislation designed to protect our children from teachers and other individuals who would use their position of authority to take advantage of them.

Senate Bills 596 and 755 would make it a crime for a teacher or other school employee to have sex with a student, regardless of being 18 years of age or older, if the student attends a school where they work. Individuals convicted of engaging in this behavior would be guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree, which is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

I sponsored SB 755 after a local area prosecutor approached me about a loophole in the law that allows a teacher to have sex with an 18-year-old student without it being a crime. These Senate measures will close this loophole in state law.

During a public hearing on these measures, the Saginaw County prosecutor testified that a teacher in his jurisdiction gave higher grades to students who participated in sex acts and lower grades to students who did not.

People who would take advantage of the teacher-student relationship are sexual predators and should be treated as such. Teachers and other school officials are in positions of authority over students.

Students, regardless of whether or not they are legal adults, are not in a position to consent to a sexual relationship with authority figures. I hope these measures quickly advance to the governor’s desk and are signed into law. School is a place for learning, not a place for sexual predators to find their next victim.
 

Sen. Jones sponsors bill to outlaw dangerous drugs faster

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, introduced Senate Bill 789 Thursday to establish a system to ban dangerous new synthetic drugs in Michigan faster.

“We continue to have the problem of synthetic drugs being manufactured and sold in Michigan,” said Jones, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

To protect Michigan residents, Jones has been working with the Michigan Department of Community Health to develop a better system to identify new synthetic drugs and make them illegal. A recent example would be the synthetic drugs nicknamed “bath salts.” The drugs are now illegal, but during the time it took the Legislature to act, the products were openly sold to people all over the state.

Another problem is chemists who slightly alter the molecular make-up of a synthetic drug so they can continue to profit from a dangerous chemical drug. There are currently several versions of “K-2.”

“There are rogue chemists who create drugs to get people high for a profit,” Jones said. “Greedy people sell these drugs for a profit and couldn’t care less if people end up in the hospital in critical condition or die. I hope this legislation will make the process faster, make Michigan a safer place, and save taxpayers money by keeping people out of the emergency room.”

If SB 789 becomes law, the DCH director would contact the Michigan Board of Pharmacy if a substance was causing imminent danger. The board would then be required to hold a public hearing within 10 days to determine if the substance should be listed as a controlled substance.

The police would be able to stop sales immediately. The board could then give the Legislature up to a year, if necessary, to codify its decision into law.

Sen. Jones named MASSWs ‘Legislator of the Year’

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones recently received the Michigan Association of School Social Workers (MASSW) “Legislator of the Year” award.

“It is a distinct honor to be selected for this award from the Michigan Association of School Social Workers,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “As a state senator, I believe it is my duty to do everything in my power to help protect our children. School should be a safe place for children.”

Jones was selected for the award for his work to ensure every school has bullying rules, and for changes to the Adam Walsh Act Law that are tougher on child molesters and took “Romeo and Juliet” cases like a 17-year-old boy involved with a 15-year-old girl off the sex offender registry.

A letter from the MASSW said Jones has been “a consistent and rational voice in support of public education and the students and families of Michigan have certainly benefitted” from the senator’s commitment to them.

 

Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s photowire at:
http://www.MISenateGOP.com/senators/photowire.asp?District=24

Sen. Jones: Babies shouldnt be thrown away in dumpsters

LANSING — Legislation to revise the way abortion clinics dispose of baby remains was approved by the Michigan Senate Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“Babies should not be tossed out with the trash,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Every human life is sacred. I am appalled that some people are callous enough to throw a baby into a dumpster like they are medical waste.”

Senate Bill 25 establishes requirements for the proper disposal of fetal remains. Under SB 54, physicians would be required to inform parents that state law mandates them to authorize the final disposition of their baby.

Violators of the proposed laws would face a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for improperly disposing of fetal remains.

Jones sponsored both bills after the remains of 17 babies were found in the dumpster of an abortion clinic in Delta Township. The incident has been under investigation by the proper authorities. Based on current state law, however, no charges have been brought against the clinic.

“Throwing babies into dumpsters shows a total lack of respect for human life,” Jones said. “Anyone who does so should be punished and that’s just what my bills will do.”

SBs 25 and 54 now go to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Senate panel votes to protect students from predatory teacher

LANSING — Students across Michigan will be safer under legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, said sponsors Sens. Rick Jones and Roger Kahn.

Senate Bills 596 and 755, sponsored by Kahn and Jones respectively, would make it a crime for a teacher or other school employee to have sex with a student, regardless of being 18 years of age or older, if the student attends a school where they work. A person convicted of engaging in this behavior would be guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree, which is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“Individuals who would take advantage of the teacher-student relationship are sexual predators and should be treated as such,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “These bills will close this loophole in state law.”

Kahn added, “We need these laws on the books now to protect our young people. It’s unbelievable that a teacher could have sex with a student and get away with it simply because the student is 18 years old. Teachers are in positions of authority over their students. To think that a young person in that situation can maturely give consent is crazy.”

Jones sponsored SB 755 after a local area prosecutor approached him about the loophole in the law that allows a teacher to have sex with an 18-year-old student without it being a crime.

Last December a 28-year-old male Ionia High School teacher took a student to a Kalamazoo hotel for sex the day after her 18th birthday. Despite being 18, the student was not set to graduate until June 2011.

An investigation was conducted by the Michigan State Police, but the Ionia County prosecutor is unable to prosecute because the victim was one day past her 18th birthday, even though she was a student.

Another measure approved by the committee, SB 726, would increase the statute of limitations for the crimes of kidnapping, attempted murder and manslaughter from 10 years to 20 years.

Jones introduced the measure after Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III informed him about an East Lansing case in which a young man died during a physical altercation 11 years ago. The case went unsolved until earlier this year, when information was brought forth that would have resulted in a manslaughter charge against the perpetrator.

“It is a tragedy that the family of this young man will not see justice served because of the current statute of limitations for manslaughter,” Jones said. “I am proud to sponsor this measure and hope it can help prevent future such injustices.”

SBs 596, 726 and 755 now go to the full Senate for further consideration.

Senate panel to consider measures on sex and murder

WHO: Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; other members of the committee; and interested parties.

WHAT: Committee hearing on Senate Bills 596 and 755 that would make it a crime for a teacher or administrator to have sex with a student at school. The panel will also take up SB 726 that would increase the statute of limitations for the crimes of kidnapping, attempted murder and manslaughter from 10 years to 20 years.

WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 18
2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Farnum Building
Room 110
125 W. Allegan St.

BRIEF: The issue behind SB 755, sponsored by Jones, and SB 596, sponsored by Sen.  Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, was brought to the senators by local area prosecutors. A current loophole in the law allows for a teacher to have sex with a student of or over the age of 18 without it being a crime.

Jones introduced SB 726 after Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III brought to his attention an East Lansing case in which a young man died during a physical altercation 11 years ago. The case went unsolved until earlier this year, when information was brought forth that would have resulted in a manslaughter charge against the perpetrator. However, due to the current statute of limitations for manslaughter the family of the young man will not see justice served.

Jones: Ending lawmakers lifetime health care will save millions

LANSING — Lifetime health care benefits for state lawmakers would end, saving taxpayers more than $5 million a year, under legislation approved by the Michigan Senate Wednesday, said supporter Sen. Rick Jones.

“I have been fighting to end this obscene benefit for more than three years,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I’m happy we are now taking action to repeal this practice.”

Jones sponsored Senate Bill 26 that would have stopped lawmakers from receiving lifetime health care benefits after serving only six years. The measure would have made the health care benefits senators receive similar to what state employees receive.

When the House bill moved first, Jones supported it as an alternative solution.

“Lifetime health care benefits after only six years of service is ludicrous,” Jones said. “This reform will save Michigan taxpayers more than $5 million a year. I look forward to seeing Governor Snyder sign this overdue and key measure into law.”

The bill, which received approval by the state House of Representatives in June, returns there for concurrence. House Bill 4807 would then advance to the governor for his signature.
 

Senate approves letting CPL holders carry Tasers

LANSING – Individuals with Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPL) would be able to legally carry Tasers under measures overwhelmingly approved Tuesday by the Michigan Senate, said sponsors Sen. Rick Jones and Sen. Goeff Hansen.

"As a former sheriff, I fully support these common-sense measures," said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "Individuals who are trained to carry pistols can handle carrying Tasers. I encourage my colleagues in the House to vote for these bills."

Sponsored by Hansen, Senate Bill 29 would allow CPL holders to possess and reasonably use an electro-muscular disruption device, such as a Taser. The legislation would also require authorized dealers to provide training to CPL holders on the use and risks of Tasers and would restrict use of the devices to self-defense.

"People with CPL licenses have proven that they respect the law and the responsibility that comes with the permission to carry weapons," said Hansen, R-Hart.  "Adding a non-lethal option to the ways people can protect themselves is a step in the right direction for Michigan."

Jones' measure, SB 30, would require CPL holders carrying Tasers on their person or in their vehicle to disclose so to peace officers. The proposed law would also prohibit qualified individuals from carrying the devices while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances.

SB 93 amends state law to include sentencing guidelines for violating the other measures.

Dealers who violate SB 29 would be guilty of a misdemeanor and could serve up to 30 days in jail or a fine of up to $500, while individuals convicted of using a Taser for anything other than self-defense would be guilty of a misdemeanor and would face up to two years in prison and a fine of $2,000.

Under current law, individuals who have been trained in the use of a Taser, such as law enforcement peace officers, are only allowed to use one while performing their official duties.

Electro-muscular disruption devices stun people by stimulating the sensory and motor nerves to produce strong involuntary muscle contractions that can temporarily incapacitate people.

SBs 29, 30 and 93 now advance to the House of Representatives for further consideration.