House panel unanimously passes Leo’s Law

House panel unanimously passes Leo’s Law

LANSING — Legislation establishing new standards for removing a child from their parents was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

Senate Bill 320 would ensure that Michigan law meets the 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.

“The aim of foster care should be to remove children from a dangerous situation,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “If another parent or relative is capable of caring for the child they should be able to do so.”

A notorious foster care case occurred when 7-year-old Leo Ratte attended a Detroit Tigers ball 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.

“I believe that no state has a lower threshold for removal of children into foster care than Michigan,” Jones said. “I want to ensure that a child who is in immediate danger is protected, but also ensure that proper standards for removal are detailed in state law.”

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***Media Advisory*** House panel to consider measures on foster care

 

***Media Advisory***

                                                                                               House panel to consider measures on foster care

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

WHAT:  Committee hearing on Senate Bill 320 testimony by 7-year-old Leo Ratte

WHEN:  Tomorrow, April 26
  10:30 a.m.

WHERE: 
House Office Building
Room 521
124 N. Capitol Ave
Lansing, MI

BRIEF: A notorious foster care case occurred when 7-year-old Leo Ratte attended a Detroit Tigers ball 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.

Editor’s Note: Absolutely no pictures of Leo will be allowed to be taken during the committee hearing. Other photographs will be allowed

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Taser bills will soon be ready for governor’s signature

Taser bills will soon be ready for governor’s signature

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

“I have been working on this legislation for years, and I am thrilled it finally passed,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Due to a small technical change it will have to come back to the Senate for a concurrence vote. After that, it will be ready to be signed into law by Gov. Snyder.”

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 police 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 officers, are only allowed to use one while performing their official duties.

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Bipartisan package would have prevented Allegan County ‘puppy mill’

Bipartisan package would have prevented Allegan County ‘puppy mill’

Lansing— Nearly 350 dogs, 12 cats and two birds were removed from a Cheshire Township home on Monday by animal control and transported to an Allegan County animal shelter.

“This travesty could have been prevented, and similar occurrences will be prevented when my measure, Senate Bill 891 is signed into law,” said state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren.

SB 892 would require “puppy mills” with more than 15 female dogs to be inspected by the Department of Agriculture.  SB 892 along with SB 891 sponsored by Bieda, is a bipartisan package of bills which addresses problem with large scale breeding in Michigan. 

Puppy mills are currently defined as any breeding operation that houses more than 50 animals. Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care; live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction; and are confined inside cramped wire-floored cages for life. There is little regard in puppy mills for the dogs’ health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.

Over the past three years, 16 states have passed new laws to crack down on puppy mills, including Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

“Dogs are a companion animal, not a farm crop raised for food,” said state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.  “If they are abused in ‘Puppy Mills’ then they develop behavior problems.  The family that buys them suffers too.  This legislation is about consumer protection as well as the humane treatment of dogs.

“We would like to commend the Allegan County Animal Shelter and all the volunteers who are helping to clean these animals up,” said Jones and Bieda.  “Anyone who wishes to make donations should contact the Allegan County Animal Shelter.”

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