House Judiciary Committee approves Taser bills

House Judiciary Committee approves Taser bills

LANSING — Individuals with Concealed Pistol Licenses (CPLS) would be able to legally carry Tasers under legislation approved Thursday by the House Judiciary Committee, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“My office has been flooded with calls asking when this bill is going to pass,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “If you can use a gun, you can use a Taser plain and simple. This measure simply offers people an alternative to carrying a gun.”

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 restrict use of the devices to self-defense.

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 would amend 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 full House for further consideration.

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Senate Concurrent Resolution 28 moves to Michigan House of Representatives

Senate Concurrent Resolution 28 moves to Michigan House of Representatives

LANSING— The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 28, said sponsor Rick Jones.

SCR 28 memorializes Congress to fully fund the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University.

“Our representatives were sent to Congress to represent the citizens of the United States,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This resolution demands that they uphold their duty to the American people”

The fiscal year 2013 federal budget allocates $22 million to fund the FRIB. This amount is less than half of the agreed-upon $55 million needed to maintain this critically important scientific project on its schedule for completion of construction.

“Michigan State University competed with schools nationwide and was selected as the home of the FRIB, and it must be funded at the appropriate level,” said Jones. “Having the FRIB at MSU will mean 5,000 temporary construction jobs through 2018 and 400 full-time, high-paying jobs. A recent analysis by Anderson Economic Group stated the FRIB will generate $1 billion in economic activity.

“The truly infuriating part is where Congress would rather spend the money. The current proposed federal budget also includes funding for an International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). The U.S. Department of Energy is asking to send $150 million to the ITER fusion project in France for fiscal year 2013. This number is nearly three times the amount needed to fund the FRIB.  Clearly we should fully fund projects here before sending money abroad.”

The FRIB will build on the successes of MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, which submitted the proposal to the Department of Energy.

“The FRIB has the potential to answer medical questions that are currently unknown, allow researchers to address ground breaking questions in the fields of nuclear structure and nuclear astrophysics, and strengthen national security,” said Jones. “It is not only a huge benefit for Michigan, but a benefit for the nation.”

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Sen. Jones welcomes local pastor to deliver invocation

Sen. Jones welcomes local pastor to deliver invocation

LANSING— State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, proudly welcomed Rev. Larry Schrauger to the Capitol on Wednesday. Rev. Schrauger, pastor of Oneida Gospel Church in Grand Ledge, gave the invocation before the start of Senate session.

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.

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Senate approves legislation that would protect children from sexual predators

Senate approves legislation that would protect children from sexual predators

Lansing— Children across Michigan would be safer under legislation approved by the Michigan Senate on Tuesday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

Senate Bills 596, 755, 890 and 934 would help protect children from becoming victims of sexual predators.

SB 596, sponsored by Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Township, and SB 755, Sen. Rick Jones, would make it a crime for a teacher or other school employee to have sex with a student, regardless of age, 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.

“Classrooms should be a place where kids feel safe and where parents know their children will be properly cared for,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Anyone who abuses this relationship should be treated as a sexual predator and this legislation ensures they will be.”

Jones also sponsored SB 890 which would amend the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA) to require that a registered sex offender convicted of certain Tier 1 offences to be listed on the public website.

“Convicted sex offenders are organized into three tiers, with Tier 3 being the most serious and Tier 1 the least serious,” said Jones. “Currently, Tier 1 offenders are registered in the law enforcement database but not the public database. 

Under SB 890, the following Tier 1 crimes would be listed on the public website.

• Possessing child pornography;
• Indecent exposure of one’s self to a minor; 
• Unlawful imprisonment of a minor; and 
• Surveillance of a minor.

“Any parent or grandparent has the right to know if they are living next to someone who has a record of committing sexual crimes against minors,” said Jones. “This legislation allows parents to know if there are areas of the neighborhood they need to teach their children to avoid”

Senate Bill 934, sponsored by Jones, would close a loophole in state law to prevent foster parents from legally having sexual intercourse with their foster children.

Michigan law currently sets the age of sexual consent at 16 years old. Individuals who are considered to have power and authority over potential victims are not protected under the age of consent law and may not lawfully enter into a sexual relationship regardless of age. 

The Prosecutors Association of Michigan made Jones aware of this loophole due to a recent Barry County case.

A foster parent in Barry County was accused of having sex with his 16 and 17-year-old foster children. Some charges against the suspect could not be brought because the victims were scared to say “no” to the subject.

“Each of these bills will help to protect kids who cannot yet protect themselves,” said Jones. “I would like to thank my colleagues in the Senate who supported the bill and urge House members to support each of these measures when it reaches the floor.”

 

Sen. Jones named ‘Legislator of Year’

***PHOTO ADVISORY***
Sen. Jones named ‘Legislator of Year’

LANSING— State Sen. Rick Jones recently received the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals “Legislator of the Year” Award.

Jones supported the creation of the Michigan Drug & Alcohol Court as the sheriff of Eaton County.  As a state representative and as a senator he has written and supported legislation to enhance the effectiveness of the courts.

“Michigan Drug and Alcohol courts seek to place people in diversion and rehab instead of jail,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.  “The goal is to keep families together and make people into contributing members of society. By diverting people from jail and making them productive members of society, it saves the taxpayers a great deal of money.”

“Sen. Rick Jones has been a tireless supporter of Drug Courts going back to his days as the Eaton County Sherriff,” said Judge Brian MacKenzie, President of the Michigan Association of Drug Court Professionals. “He was one of the first Sherriff’s in the state to support these programs.  He has sponsored a number of pieces of Drug Court legislation over the years, and has agreed to back the Veteran’s Court legislation currently in the House.  This package of bills is designed to help our veteran’s returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as older vets, who find themselves in the Criminal Justice System while dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, other psychological problems and substance abuse issues. He is very deserving of this award.”

Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee to consider Senate Concurrent Resolution 28

***Media Advisory***

Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee to consider Senate Concurrent Resolution 28

WHO: Members of the Michigan Senate Energy and Technology Committee; other interested parities

WHAT:  Members of the Senate panel to discuss Senate Concurrent Resolution 28

WHEN:  Today, March 13
  1 p.m.

WHERE:  Boji Tower
       Senate Hearing Room
       124 Allegan St
       Lansing, MI

BRIEF:  SCR 28 memorializes Congress to fully fund the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University.

“The fiscal year 2013 federal budget allocates $22 million to fund the FRIB,” Jones said. “This amount is less than half of the agreed-upon $55 million needed to maintain this critically important scientific project on its schedule for completion of construction and the commencement the nation’s scientific research efforts.”

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Sen. Jones celebrates ‘March is Reading Month’ with area students

Sen. Jones celebrates ‘March is Reading Month’
with area students

LANSING ? State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, reads to students at Lansing Adventist School in Delta Township as part of “March Is Reading Month.” The lawmaker read First Snow in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick. Jones also talked with students about the importance of literacy and how valuable reading is in his duties as a legislator.

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.

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Sen. Jones calls for performance bonds on state technology projects

Sen. Jones calls for performance bonds on state technology projects

Lansing— State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, on Wednesday introduced Senate Bill 1011 which calls for performance bonds on large technology projects proposed by the state of Michigan.

SB 1011 would call for all new contracts $2 million or greater to be subject to performance bonds.

“This measure is designed to restore efficiency and effectiveness to state sponsored computer projects,” Jones said. “Performance bonds are already common practice for federal, state and local road and building projects. I am simply trying to make sure that results are being met. The bonds are unbiased and will increase accountability.”

Examples of state of Michigan computer projects from the last eight years:

• “Bridges”—Department of Human Services
$58 million over budget and two years behind schedule

• “Child support Enforcement System”—Department of Human Services
$459 million dollar final cost (original contract cost 60 million) and $147 million in federal fines

• “CHAMPS”—Department of Community Health
$18 million lost during system cut-over

• “E-Michigan”—The state’s primary web-portal
$10 million over budget and two years behind schedule

• “BAM—Department of State Business Applications Modernization
8 million dollars over budget and two years behind schedule, requiring the intervention of the Michigan Attorney General to get performance

“Unfortunately the past administration’s accounting and contract controls were so out of control that we may never know how much money was wasted,” Jones said.

“Using the Department of Technology and Michigan Auditor General reports, I have found more than $400 million that could have been spent more effectively or was lost to federal fines. This legislation brings a common sense approach to major computer projects and will continue the Legislature’s commitment to accountability.”

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State Sen. Rick Jones issues statement following Gov. Snyder’s special message on public safety

State Sen. Rick Jones issues statement following Gov. Snyder’s special message on public safety

LANSING— Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, on Wednesday issued the statement below following Gov. Rick Snyder’s special message on education.

“As a former sheriff, I could not be more pleased with what Gov. Snyder said in his address. Michigan has four of the most dangerous cities in America, and the governor charted an immediate course of action to help to curb crimes rates in these cities and across Michigan.

“In order to help reduce the crime rate, the fiscal year 2013 executive budget called for $15 million to the Michigan State Police (MSP) for two trooper recruit schools, for a total addition of 180 troopers, to serve as a force multiplier and ensure the MSP has the staffing to partner with local and federal law enforcement to secure these four cities.

“Governor Snyder covered multiple topics and his plan to help improve the crime rate in these areas.

“The governor made it clear that combating domestic violence and sexual assault must become a priority across Michigan. The speech highlighted the dangerous and direct correlation between the two, and called for more training and an updated sexual assault evidence kit to help officers recognize signs of domestic violence and to help convict more offenders.

“Hopefully, these steps, paired with legislation I introduced in the Senate (SBs 845-848)  that gives judges the ability to use prior domestic violence convictions to issue longer jail sentences to repeat offenders, will help reduce domestic violence and sexual assault.  

“Prescription drug trafficking and the many problems that drugs continue to cause in every community were also mentioned by the governor.  The governor addressed the problem of drug seekers, who lie to doctors in order to get prescriptions such as vicodin, in order to re-sell them. Luckily, the Legislature passed PA 44 that allows for greater electronic monitoring by pharmacies of individuals in order to help reduce this problem.

“However, in order to continue to lessen drug abuse among Michigan citizens we must be able to act swiftly as new drugs hit the market. This is why I sponsored Senate Bill 789 which allows the Michigan Board of Pharmacy board to temporarily ban new synthetic drugs until the Legislature has time to act, which ensures that they are rapidly taken off the shelf to protect citizens from dangerous chemicals.

“I look forward to the implementation of polices put forth by Governor Snyder and the positive effect they will have on villages, cities and towns across Michigan.”
 

Jones bill to protect Michigan manufacturing passes committee

Jones bill to protect Michigan manufacturing passes committee

Lansing— Legislation that would amend the Worker’s Disability Compensation Act to specify that an employer would not have to reimburse for medical marijuana regardless of the requirements in Section 315 of that act passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, said sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones.

Under Section 315, an employer must furnish, or cause to be furnished, reasonable medical, surgical or hospital services and medicine, or other attendance or treatment that is legal under state law, to an employee who receives a personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment. 

“This act was never intended to cover the costs of medical marijuana,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.  “We need to ensure that money being spent on worker’s comp is being spent as efficiently as possible to protect all parties involved.”

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