Sen. Jones named PMAM’s “Legislator of the Year”

LANSING —State Sen. Rick Jones recently received the Property Management Association of Michigan “Legislator of the Year” award.

“It is a distinct honor to be selected for this award from the Property Management Association of Michigan,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “People have a right to feel safe in their homes, and I am confident that my legislation will protect and strengthen this right.”

Jones was selected for the award for his work to make it easier to remove tenants who deal drugs or threaten or cause physical injury to other tenants or anyone else on the premises. 

Anti-bullying bill passes the Senate; sent to governor

LANSING—Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, announced Tuesday that the anti-bullying bill he worked on has now passed the House and the Senate. The legislation now awaits the governor’s signature.

Earlier this year, Jones and state Rep. Phil Potivin agreed to work together on a proposal requiring all Michigan schools to implement an anti-bullying policy. The lawmakers each had students in their districts commit suicide due to bullying, and they were committed to passing an anti-bullying measure.

“A terrible tragedy occurred in my district,” Jones said. “Chrystal Eaton, a student from Charlotte, was bullied, went to her grandfather’s house and used one of his guns to end her life.”
Jones had a personal connection to Chrystal.  Her grandfather was Sgt. Arlo Eaton of the Eaton County Sheriff Department.  Sgt. Eaton trained Jones when he was a 21-year-old deputy.
The issue of bullying has affected Jones in an even more personal way. Jones’ son, now 31, was injured at birth and grew up mentally challenged. 

“Due to the fact the he was a special education student, the other kids picked on him,” Jones said. “As a parent and as a friend of a family that lost a child, I feel very strongly that every school should have a bullying policy.

Jones’ bill passed unanimously in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  When it reached the Senate floor, a caucus attorney sought to clarify that nothing in the bill would stop a student’s first amendment rights to make a non-bullying statement.

In Howell, a student was removed from class when he made a statement that in his religion he did not believe in homosexual relations. He words were not threatening or directed at anyone; he was simply stating his opinion on the topic of the class discussion.

Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer described this legislation as a “license to bully.” This comment drew national media attention.

According the Michigan Messenger, Doug Laycock, a professor of law at University of Virginia and a first amendment specialist, disagrees with Whitmer that the legislation will allow students to bully.

“It is not reasonably interpreted to mean that one student can bully another,” Laycock was quoted as saying in the Michigan Messenger.

Jones added: “If the Senate minority leader had simply walked across the aisle and said she had 12 Democrat votes for the bill if the one line was removed, I would have worked to make it happen. Instead she twisted the legal meaning, manipulated the media, and got her 15 minutes of fame. She chose to be a politician and not a statesman and a parent. The national media bought it hook, line and sinker.  In the end we accomplished our goal and I am happy to see years of hard work pay off.”
 

Senate Bill 235

As an elected official, I swore to uphold the constitutions of Michigan and of the United States. Each day, while I am in the district or on the Senate floor I am reminded of the trust that has been placed in me to serve honorably.

In order to practice medicine, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals must vow to act ethically.

Unfortunately, there are instances in which these promises are broken.

Recently, I sponsored Senate Bill 235, which was signed into law as Public Act 222 on November 15. Under this measure health care professionals convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) 1, 2 or 3 can have their licenses or registration permanently revoked. Additionally, licenses permanently revoked for any of those crimes cannot be reinstated.

I sponsored this legislation after I was contacted by a woman who had been assaulted by her dentist. She does not live in my district but contacted me due to my law enforcement experience.  

As a former sheriff, I investigated multiple CSC cases and fought for strict penalties against the perpetrator and justice for the victim. People who commit such acts should not be providing medical care to potentially vulnerable patients. 
    
As citizens, we put a massive amount of trust in physicians and other medical professionals to care for us and those who we care about. Someone who is ill or caring for someone who is ill has enough to worry about; sexual assault should not be one of their worries.

Sen. Rick Jones is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and vice chair of the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee. He represents the 24th state Senate District, which includes Allegan, Barry and Eaton counties.

Jones: Doctors convicted of rape should have licenses revoked

LANSING – Legislation to help protect patients from doctors convicted of felonies for certain violent crimes was signed into law Tuesday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

"Doctors and other health care professionals are supposed to take care of their patients, not sexually assault them," said Jones, R-Grand Ledge, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Under Public Act 222 of 2011 (Senate Bill 235), health care professionals convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) 1, 2 or 3 can have their licenses or registration permanently revoked. Additionally, licenses permanently revoked for any of those crimes cannot be reinstated.

Jones sponsored the new law after he was contacted by a woman who was assaulted by her dentist, Donald Quinn. The Farmington Hills dentist had his license renewed following a conviction of rape and other CSC violations.          

"Individuals convicted of rape and other sex crimes should not be practicing medicine. As a former sheriff, I'm glad that this new law to help protect people across Michigan is on the books now," Jones said.

Senate approves ‘Leo’s Law’

LANSING — To help prevent future cases of children being wrongfully removed from their parents, the Michigan Senate approved “Leo’s Law” Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“The state should not be able to take a child away from their parents if there is no just cause,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Some proof of abuse or neglect should be necessary for a child to be removed from their parents.”

A notorious foster care case occurred when 7-year-old Leo Ratte attended a Detroit Tigers baseball game with his father in 2008. Leo was placed in foster care for three days and two nights when his father Christopher Ratte, a classics professor at the University of Michigan, inadvertently gave him a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, not knowing it was an alcoholic drink.

Leo was placed in foster care, even though physicians from Children’s Hospital found no alcohol in his blood and determined he was fine. When his mother Claire Zimmerman tried to get her child, she was denied although there were no charges against her.

Senate Bill 320 would ensure that Michigan law meets constitutional standards as defined by several of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. The proposal has four parts:

  • Standard for emergency police removals;
  • Process for judicial officer review of emergency placement;
  • Standards for ex parte court-ordered emergency removals; and
  • Preliminary hearing pretrial placement standards.

 

“By establishing new standards for removing a child from their parents, I hope that we can avoid similar tragedies in the future,” said Jones, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

SB 320 now advances to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Sen. Jones heralds passage of House anti-bullying bill

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, was proud to see the Michigan House of Representatives approve an anti-bullying measure Thursday.

“I have been working closely with Representative Potvin to get an anti-bullying bill approved by the Legislature,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “We have both had suicides in our districts and I hope this measure can help prevent future tragedies.”

Known as “Matt’s Safe School Law,” House Bill 4163 would require schools to adopt a policy that prohibits bullying at school.

Under the proposed law, all school district boards would have to implement an anti-bullying policy within six months of the proposed law becoming statute.

“I look forward to supporting this bill when it reaches the Senate,” Jones said. “No child should have to endure bullying while at school.”

Sen. Jones to give update on Womans Choice abortion clinic

WHO:             Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Chris Veneklase of 40 Days for Life; and interested parties.

WHAT:           Update on investigation of Womans Choice abortion clinic.

WHEN:          Monday, Nov. 7
                        1 p.m.

WHERE:        Womans Choice
                        6500 Centurion Drive
                        Suite 290
                        Lansing, MI 48917

BRIEF:           In February of 2010, Veneklase found the remains of 17 aborted babies and patient records were found in a dumpster at the Womans Choice abortion clinic in Eaton County’s Delta Township.

In response, Jones has introduced Senate Bill 25, which would establish requirements for the proper disposal of fetal remains. Under SB 54, physicians, institutions and funeral directors 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.

SB 25 has passed the Michigan Senate and is currently before the House Health Policy Committee.

Lawmakers push for schools to have AEDs

LANSING — Life-saving legislation requiring schools to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) was introduced Thursday in the Michigan Senate, said sponsors Sen. Rick Jones and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker.

“Again and again, we keep reading about the tragic and untimely deaths of students in our schools,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Plain and simple, this measure will help save lives. Every school should have one of these life-saving machines. I’m proud to sponsor this important measure.”

If signed into law, Senate Bill 801 would specify that all public schools have an AED device present and accessible to students and staff. Schuitmaker has also sponsored Senate Resolution 74, which urges school districts throughout Michigan to install an AED at all athletic and community-sponsored events.

Both SB 801 and SR 74 were prompted by the tragic events last year in Fennville when star basketball player Wes Leonard suffered cardiac arrest and died after scoring the winning basket at a state tournament playoff game.

“AEDs are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. If having an AED in every public school across the state saves only one life, then it is well worth it,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “I look forward to seeing this bill become state law and help prevent future tragedies.”

Sudden cardiac arrest affects even the most physically fit and active among the population and can happen at any time; its symptoms often go unannounced until it’s too late. Having AED devices on location can help save lives, as immediate medical intervention is often a matter of life and death.

The lawmakers are also working with the Michigan Association of School Administrators to help set up AED training in schools.

Former sheriff and MSP commander team up to end speed traps

LANSING — State Sens. Rick Jones and Mike Nofs, both former law enforcement officials, introduced Senate Bill 795  Wednesday to ensure speed limits posted in Michigan are scientific and safe.

“Studies have shown since 1941 that when speed limits are under-posted, more traffic crashes occur,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “This bill will ensure that the proper safe speeds are posted.”

Jones, R-Grand Ledge, added: “We want the state to be known as ‘Pure Michigan,’ where tourists come to visit, not ‘speed trap’ Michigan. The intent of Public Act 85 in 2006 was to stop under-posting. Some cities have found loopholes. This measure will close those loopholes.”

If enacted, the proposed law would require cities, townships and counties to post speed limits based on scientific standards accepted by the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Department of Transportation.    

Jones: State should seek bids for lease agreements

LANSING — To help save taxpayer money and increase government transparency, Sen. Rick Jones recently introduced a measure to require the state to take bids when leasing property.

Senate Bill 793 would mandate the state take bids when leasing property, as it already does when purchasing property. The bill also establishes that the state department employee responsible for seeking bids shall not meet with a lobbyist outside the workplace unless posted in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.

“When the state buys a building we put it out for bid and get the best price for the taxpayers,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I think we should do the same for leasing buildings.”

According to Jones, the recent Michigan State Police Headquarters is an example of a “single source” no-bid deal because it was originally a lease agreement.

In order to prevent another such “boondoggle,” last session Jones worked on legislation with Rep. Paul Opsommer and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who was serving in the House of Representatives at the time. Those measures would have required future lease agreements to be bid.

“I believe that Michigan taxpayers are paying way too much per square foot when we lease a building,” Jones said. “It’s high time we put a stop to this wasteful spending.”