Jones domestic violence package clears House

Jones domestic violence package clears House

 

LANSING —The Michigan House of Representatives approved a bipartisan package of legislation on Thursday that would increase penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

Senate Bills 845-847 increase penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders.  Senate Bill 848 amends the Michigan penal code to make assault by strangulation or suffocation a specific felony

Under current law, it is nearly impossible to send an individual who is a habitual offender to prison unless a more serious offense is involved.

“For 31 years I responded to domestic violence calls,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge, former sheriff of Eaton County. “Unfortunately, many of those calls were at the same house with the same offenders and victims. I have seen cases where victims were beaten, burned, run over and shot. Some perpetrators are so violent that we must find safe houses for their victims. It’s time to get tough on these habitual offenders.”

Measures in the “Domestic Violence Awareness Package” would:
• Enhance penalties for conviction of a second or third domestic violence offense by allowing prosecutors to use a prior deferred offense against the perpetrator;
• Increase the penalty for a third conviction of domestic violence from the current two-year felony to a five-year felony; and
• Amend the sentencing guidelines for a third conviction of domestic violence to make prison time more likely for habitual offenders.

“By working together, we can show the cowards who abuse their spouses that their behavior is not tolerated in Michigan,” said Jones. “This legislation targets habitual offenders and will provide further protection for victims of domestic violence.”

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Jones bills would protect children and extend statute of limitations for violent crimes

 

Jones bills would protect children and extend statute of limitations for violent crimes

LANSING— Legislation that would increase protections of foster children against sexual abuse and lengthen the statute of limitations for kidnapping, attempted murder and manslaughter was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives on Thursday and will soon be on the governor’s desk, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“Both of these measures will allow for increased safety and protection while allowing up to two decades for violent crimes to be solved,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Senate Bill 726, also known as D’Annuzio’s Law, mandates that the ten year statute of limitations for kidnapping, attempted murder and manslaughter will not start until a suspect is known.

In 2000, Brandon D’Annunzio was at Buffalo Wild Wings in East Lansing attending a bachelor party. He left the bar alone and was approached by two men and a woman. One of the men allegedly punched D’Annunzio in the face, causing him to fall backward and crack his head on the concrete curb. Ten days later, D’Annunzio was pronounced dead due to blunt force trauma to the head.

In 2011, one year past the current statute of limitations for the crime, a tipster notified police of the identity of the suspect after reading a news article about the anniversary of D’Annunzio’s death.

“The person who committed this crime will never be punished, and the victim’s family will never know all of the facts,” said Jones.  “Extending the statute of limitations for specific crimes will give police officers and witnesses twenty years to discover facts or to come forward.”

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

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

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

“Foster homes need to be a safe environment for children,” said Jones. “This horrific case brought a major loophole to the Legislature’s attention. Once my bill is signed into law, this loophole will be closed.”

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Bills to crack down on dog fighting headed to governor’s desk

Bills to crack down on dog fighting headed to governor’s desk

 

LANSING—A series of bills aimed at cracking down on dog fighting was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives on Tuesday, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

“It is truly unfortunate that this legislation is even necessary,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “However, I will not stand idly by and allow this barbaric practice to continue. Anyone who harms animals for sport is the lowest form of humanity and they should be punished accordingly.”

The legislation is a bipartisan effort between Jones, Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, and Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township.

Jones’ measure, Senate Bill 356, would subject the property of a person convicted of being involved in animal fighting to forfeiture.

House Bill 5789, sponsored by LaFontaine, would allow the place where the illegal conduct took place to be declared a nuisance, allowing local authorities to padlock the property.

Bieda’s bill, SB 358, would subject the groups that engage in animal fighting for material gain to prosecution under the racketeering (RICO) statute, which could result in longer prison sentences and/or greater fines.

All three bills are strongly supported by the Michigan Humane Society, American Humane Society and the Animal Law Section of the Michigan State Bar.

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Mid-Michigan couple pursues the ‘American Dream’

Mid-Michigan couple pursues the
‘American Dream’

 

LANSING— Dewitt residents Chris and Renee Draves are proof that the American Dream of working hard to succeed, building a business and employing others is alive and well, said state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

On Tuesday, the Draves opened the doors of their new McDonald’s store.

“For many, McDonald’s is simply a job, and there is nothing wrong with that,” said Jones. “However, to the Draves and others, it is more than that.  It is an opportunity to learn the inner workings of the fast food industry, to work hard and to become business owners. That is part of the American Dream.”

While in high school, and before they were married, Chris and Renee both worked at McDonald’s. Each would rise among the ranks and would eventually serve as department heads before purchasing their first store together in 2004 in Grand Ledge. Since the purchase of this store, they have purchased two more in Delta Township and one in Potterville.

“I would like to congratulate Chris and Renee on the opening of their new restaurant,” said Jones. “Their hard work and dedication has given them a career to be proud of and provided jobs to members of the community they live in.”

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Jones measure to require private security guards to report crimes clears committee

 

Jones measure to require private security guards to report crimes clears committee

LANSING— Legislation that would require private security guards or private college security forces to notify a law enforcement agency when a crime is committed was approved on Thursday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

Senate Bill 1321 was introduced in response to more than one instance of criminal activity going unreported at Andrews University, a private college, located in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  

Another example of untimely reporting occurred on the campus of the University of Michigan. A resident found several files containing child pornography on a computer in a locked lounge where residents work in the Pediatric Emergency Department. The resident met with their supervisors and hospital security officials, sharing what she had seen and showing them the computer. She also met with the general counsel’s office and told them about it.  The matter was considered closed a few days after the report was made.

However, university officials waited another six months before reporting the incident to university police.

“This crime should have been reported immediately,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “The fact that they turned a blind eye to this for six month is completely unacceptable. I do not want a cover-up like the one that took place at Penn State University, to take place in Michigan.”

Jones’ bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

 

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