Governor signs Jones bill to deter theft

Governor signs Jones bill to deter theft

LANSING— State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, announced on Thursday that Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Act 186 into law.

“Currently, anyone can sell plastic shipping containers to be melted down,” said Jones. “This lack of oversight costs store owners’ money and forces them to raise prices. I am hopeful that the result of this legislation will be lower prices at the checkout counter for everyone.”

PA 186, sponsored by Jones, mandates 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. However, this legislation will impact any entity that uses plastic shipping crates including bakers and dairy producers.

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. 

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Jones bill to get synthetic drugs off the shelves signed into law

***PHOTO ADVISORY***

Jones bill to get synthetic drugs off the shelves signed into law

Lansing— State Sen. Rick Jones (right) and Jerry Narsh, Lake Orion chief of police,  joined Gov. Rick Snyder for a press conference as he signed Public Act 182 of 2012.

PA 182 allows the Department of Community Health director to contact the Michigan Board of Pharmacy if a substance is causing imminent danger. The board is then required to hold a public hearing within 10 days to determine if the substance should be listed as a controlled substance.

“Synthetic drugs are a growing epidemic with serious long-term negative effects and consequences,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This poison has already taken the lives of Michigan citizens. It must be taken off the shelves, and it needs to be done immediately.”

Bills aimed at protecting seniors signed by governor

Bills aimed at protecting seniors signed by governor

LANSING —Gov. Snyder signed legislation into law on Tuesday designed to help increase the reporting of elder abuse in Michigan and strengthen penalties for those convicted of the offense, said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. 

“The fact that our seniors are not being properly cared for is infuriating,” Jones said. “I’m proud to have worked with Sen. Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, to help pass this vital package of bills, and I look forward to their positive impact.”

Elder abuse is a problem affecting nearly 80,000 senior citizens in Michigan, with many enduring unspeakable acts of physical, emotional and financial abuse. According to Jones, the measures seek to better protect the elderly and enforce stricter penalties for abusers.

Measures in the package would:
• Improve coordination between state and local authorities;
• Allow victims of alleged vulnerable adult abuse to give testimony via closed circuit television or a pre-recorded video;
• Create a senior medical alert for missing seniors, similar to an Amber Alert;
• Increase penalties for financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult; and
• Further protect those who are at risk of being exploited without placing an unmanageable burden on their guardians.

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Bill to help get synthetic drugs off shelves signed by governor

Bill to help get synthetic drugs off shelves signed by governor

LANSING— Legislation that establishes a system to ban dangerous new synthetic drugs in Michigan faster was signed into law on Tuesday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“This poison has been on store shelves for far too long, and it is time everyone realizes the immediate dangers of synthetic drugs,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. Many people who use synthetic drugs view them as a legal alternative to marijuana and other drugs.  However, these drugs are far more toxic and have already taken the  lives of Michigan citizens. I urge anyone with children or grandchildren to talk with them about the long term negative consequences and side effects of synthetic drugs.”

The Jones legislation signed by the governor on Tuesday allows the DCH director to contact the Michigan Board of Pharmacy if a substance is 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.

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Leo’s Law signed by governor

Leo’s Law signed by governor

LANSING— State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, announced on Wednesday that Gov. Rick Snyder signed Leo’s Law which establishes new standards for removing children from their parents.

Public Act 163 of 2012 sponsored by Jones, would ensure that Michigan law meets the constitutional standards as defined by several of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. The new law 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.

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.

“If the child is not in a safe environment, they absolutely need to be removed from their home and placed in foster care,” said Jones. “This was not the case with Leo Ratte, and a child went through a traumatic experience that could have been avoided.”

Sen. Jones: No bridge cards in casinos on my watch

Sen. Jones: No bridge cards in casinos on my watch

LANSING¬–Legislation that would prohibit bridge card users from making cash withdrawals at casinos had cleared the Legislature and is on the way to the governor, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

Jones’ measure, Senate Bill 109, complements the pledge made by Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan to stop Bridge Card abuse in the state.

“Cash assistance should be temporary and only for basic needs- not blackjack and booze,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “My measure is one of many that have been passed by the Legislature that will ensure assistance goes only to those who truly need it, not those who want to gamble away taxpayers’ hard earned money.”

According to DHS, more than $87,000 was withdrawn from Detroit’s Motor City Casino ATMs using Bridge Cards between July 2009 and July 2010.

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Bill to help get synthetic drugs off the street on the way to the governor’s desk

Bill to help get synthetic drugs off the street on the way to the governor’s desk

LANSING— Legislation that establishes a system to ban dangerous new synthetic drugs in Michigan faster is on the way to the governor’s desk, saidsponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“Synthetic drugs continue to be a problem that plagues Michigan communities,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This legislation gives the Department of Community Health director the ability to work with the Michigan Pharmacy to designate a substance causing imminent danger as a controlled substance.”

If Senate Bill 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.

“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.”

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Governor signs bills to increase paternity rights of fathers

 

Governor signs bills to increase paternity rights of fathers

LANSING — State Sen. Rick Jones announced on Tuesday that Gov. Snyder signed a package of bills into law that update Michigan’s outdated paternity act. This was a bipartisan effort with Sen. Steve Bieda, Rep. Pat Summerville, R-New Boston and Rep. Matt Lori, R-Constantine.

Under the measure, possible biological father to file a petition to determine paternity under certain circumstances. Current state law does not give a possible biological father legal standing to file a paternity action to show he may be the biological father of a child born to a married woman.

According to Jones, the measure was introduced following the tragic story of a Fenton father, Daniel Quinn, who has been fighting to obtain parental rights of his child (after she was used to sell drugs by another man).

“This case shows that the Michigan Paternity Act needs updating,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Quinn was in a relationship with Candace Beckwith while she was still married to another man, since her divorce was not yet legal. A child was born as the result of their relationship and Quinn helped raise the child for two years. Eventually, Beckwith moved back in with her estranged husband, Adam Beckwith, in Ohio.

The little girl was used as a shield in a drug trafficking operation and Adam Beckwith went to prison. Now Quinn, the biological father, has no rights under Michigan law to gain custody of his daughter Maeleigh.

The bills  allow biological fathers to claim parental rights within a year of their child’s birth if the mother is married at any time from conception to the birth of a child and her husband denies paternity, or if a relationship is established between the biological father and the child. The measure also gives judges the ability to rule what is best for the child on a case-by-case basis.

“I have been married for 39 years, and I firmly believe that children should be born in wedlock,” said Jones. “However, it is no longer 1956 and I realize that this is not always the case. Under this measure, judges will be able to rule what is best for the child on a case-by-case basis.”

“Advances in science have made the old system for determining paternity obsolete,” said Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren. “This law will remove legal barriers that are preventing fathers from having a relationship with their children. I think it’s great that this is signed just before Father’s Day. It will be an early gift to some fathers.”

 

 

Jones measure would place habitual offenders behind bars

Jones measure would place habitual offenders behind bars

Lansing— Legislation that would place habitual offenders of serious crimes behind bars for a minimum of 25 years was approved by the Michigan Senate on Thursday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones. 

Senate Bill 1109 would require a sentence of at least 25 years imprisonment if the offender had been convicted of three or more felonies and subsequently convicted of a serious crime such as assault with intent to murder, manslaughter or kidnapping.

“If people have not learned their lesson after three felonies, then they need to be removed from society,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

“This will only send a small number of people to prison–those who have been given chance after chance and have committed felonies time after time. This measure will make sure that repeat offenders are kept behind bars where they belong.

“I look forward to continue to work with Attorney General Bill Schuette who contacted me and asked that this legislation be taken up.”

SB 1109 now advances to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Editor’s Note: For a full list of what is considered a serious crime, please click here.

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***PHOTO ADVISORY*** Special Olympics tax check-off signed into law

***PHOTO ADVISORY***
Special Olympics tax check-off signed into law

LANSING¬- State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, (left) joined Gov.  Rick Snyder at the Capitol on Tuesday as he signed two bills into law.

Public Act 155 of 2012, sponsored by Jones, and PA 154 of 2012, sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Cotter, R- Mt. Pleasant, create a check-off box on state income tax returns that would allow taxpayers to easily donate money to help fund Special Olympics Michigan athletes.

“As a long-time chaperone to Special Olympics Michigan, I know how important this program is to the athletes and their families,” Jones said.  “This legislation will make it easier for people to voluntarily donate to this great organization.”