State Sen. Rick Jones presents check on behalf of Mid-Michigan Future Fund

LANSING – State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, presented a check on behalf of the Mid-Michigan Future Fund to Rev. Bill Amundsen, treasurer of The Michigan Council on Alcohol Problems (MICAP). The mission of MICAP is to educate citizens about the consequences of the abuse of beverage alcohol and other impairing drugs.  It also promotes public policies that eliminate or mitigate those consequences.

Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of this and other Jones photos, click the image or visit www.SenatorRickJones.com and click the Photowire link.

Senate approves Jones bill to deter theft

LANSING— Legislation that would reduce theft and lower costs for milk producers as well as soft drink and beer vendors and distributors was approved by the Senate on Thursday, said sponsor Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

“Currently, anyone can sell plastic shipping containers to be melted down,” said Jones. “This lack of regulation legalizes a system in which people can make a quick buck at the expense of Michigan milk, soft drink and beer vendors.”

Senate Bill 721 would mandate that anyone wishing to sell ten or more plastic shipping containers show proper identification as well as a written statement that they own or are authorized to sell the container. This measure would require these records to be kept for one year.

It is currently estimated that Michigan soft drink distributors are losing more than $3 million a year due to the theft of these shipping containers.

Violating this act would result in the same penalties as those for buying or selling knowingly stolen nonferrous metals, a statutory maximum five-year sentence or fine of more than $5,000.

Jones’ measure closely mirrors legislation recently passed in Texas and Arizona as well as bills introduced in Ohio and Wisconsin. 

Senate approves bipartisan package of bills to help those on probation or in drug treatment

LANSING—A bipartisan package of bills that would grant the courts more freedom to keep the court proceedings for specific first-time offenders off of the offenders’ public records was approved by the Senate on Wednesday said sponsor Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Senate Bills 630-633 requires that individuals participating in treatment programs will have their criminal charges listed so that only law enforcement officers or officials can access them.

Making the deferral treatment program information nonpublic may help prevent offenders from losing their job even though they are doing well in treatment.

First-time offenders found guilty of or who have plead guilty to certain crimes can sometimes get a deferral of their sentence if they enter into court supervised probation, such as a drug treatment court. If the individual successfully completes the court-ordered program, he or she may be discharged from the program and their criminal proceedings against them may be dismissed.

“Not everyone who commits a crime needs to spend time behind bars in order to learn their lesson,” Jones said. “ This package of legislation gives judges more freedom to place first time offenders into treatment programs instead of in jail. The goal of rehabilitation and probation is to help the person learn from mistakes and give them tools not make the same mistakes. These bills allow for records to be kept private, which can help people land a job or get into school. In short, it keeps people out of jail and saves the taxpayers money.” 

Delta Township fire department and Kalamazoo Harbor Authority receive Economic Vitality Incentive Programs grants

LANSING— Gov. Rick Snyder’s office announced Friday the recipients of the final round of Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP) grants.  The purpose of these grants is to facilitate cooperative efforts and sharing of services between local units of government.

The governor’s office received 50 applicants which in total requested $20 million in assistance. A committee reviewed and analyzed each application and selected those that best met the following criteria:

  • Merger of two or more governmental units, occurring on or after October 1, 2011;
  • Consolidation of departments and/or a unified tax system across two or more governmental units;
  • Cost savings/efficiencies/taxpayer benefit;
  • Completion timeframe; and
  • Reimbursement of costs occurring on or after June 21, 2011, for mergers, interlocal agreements, and cooperative efforts that occur on or after October 1, 2011

The committee awarded 31 grants totaling $5 million.

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, was pleased that two governmental units in his district were recipients of the EVIP grants. The Delta Township fire department received $180,000 and the Kalamazoo Harbor Authority received $38,000.

“I would like to congratulate Delta Township and Douglas for being selected from a large pool of applicants and thank the governor for recognizing the importance of consolidation and encouraging local governmental units to do so,” said Jones.

*Editor’s note: More information on the EVIP program can we found by following this link-http://goo.gl/Ofxpt

State Sen. Jones accepts challenge, takes drug test

LANSING- In a recent letter to the editor in the Lansing State Journal, an Eaton Rapids resident voiced his strong opposition to the practice of drug testing welfare recipients.  In the same letter, the writer also suggested that legislators be drug tested before they receive their paychecks.

State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, answered that challenge on Thursday and took a 5-panel drug test, which came back negative for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, PCP and opiates.  Jones paid for the test out of his own pocket.

"I firmly believe that anyone who receives cash assistance and has children should be drug tested," Jones said.  "I personally know of instances where children went hungry because their parents used cash assistance funds to buy drugs."  

State Sen. Rick Jones elected to Special Olympics board of directors

LANSING—State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, has been elected to the Special Olympics board of directors.  The three-year term began January 1, 2012.

In the past, Jones served as a coach/chaperone for athletes at the summer games and helped raise funds to support the organization including taking part in the “Polar Plunge,” an annual fundraiser put on by the Special Olympics.

“Working with many athletes and seeing the joy it bring to them and their families is very rewarding, said Jones.  This program helps more than twenty thousand athletes and should be supported by everyone.  The Special Olympics have changed lives and attitudes for more than 43 years,” stated Jones. “The spirit of the athletes is reflected in their motto: ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”