Jones’ bill protects retired state employees and saves state money

LANSING, Mich.—The state Senate on Thursday finalized legislation allowing retired state employees to help aid the attorney general’s office in litigation without hurting their retirement pay and benefits.

“It is important for taxpayers to know that this bill is for specific and temporary situations and does not allow retired state employees to double-dip,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, who sponsored Senate Bill 12. “My bill addresses rare cases where retired state employees with knowledge and details specific to the issue are contracted by the attorney general for a limited amount of time.”

Currently, state law prohibits these retirees from receiving their retirement pay while under contract. SB 12 amends the State Employees’ Retirement Act to allow a state retiree to be an independent contractor of the attorney general as a witness, expert, or consultant for litigation involving the state. The bill requires that a contract must include that the retiree’s service as a witness, expert, or consultant ends at the conclusion of the litigation.

Visit the Michigan Legislature website to read the full text of the bill.

The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for his consideration.

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Jones cracking down on senior exploitation

LANSING—Sen. Rick Jones introduced legislation on Wednesday to protect Michigan seniors from being financially exploited by a family member.

“This is about giving Michigan courts the power to step in and stop someone from taking advantage of our most vulnerable residents – our seniors,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “In my district, an elderly woman was taken by her son to another state, where she was put on drugs she did not need and deemed incompetent. A judge then appointed her son as her guardian, who proceeded to drain her bank accounts.”

Jones said that the woman’s family in Michigan succeeded in getting her back home and off the unnecessary medications. Once off the drugs, it was clear the woman didn’t need a guardian. However, when she asked a Michigan judge to declare her competent to be her own guardian, she was told there was nothing the judge could do.

The Michigan judge said he had no jurisdiction over the woman’s case. An out-of-state judge had taken jurisdiction and, in the eyes of the court, she was a resident of that state.

“This was a woman who had lived in Michigan for 85 years, had a home and family here and was let down by her own state,” Jones said. “That’s unacceptable, and my bill seeks to ensure that Michigan judges have the power to protect Michigan seniors from exploitation.”

Senate Bill 270 would allow Michigan judges to take jurisdiction in guardianship cases if certain criteria are met. The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Jones.

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Jones working to protect children in wake of judge’s ruling on sex offender law

LANSING—A federal judge has ruled that Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act is too vague, including the requirement that offenders stay at least 1,000 feet away from a school.

Sen. Rick Jones said, “As chair of Senate Judiciary Committee, I am aware of this ruling and have been working with the Michigan State Police to rewrite the law and make sure we are protecting our school children from sexual predators.”

The judge ruled that offenders are not provided with enough information from the state to abide by the 1,000-foot school safety zone. He also struck down other reporting requirements in the sex offender law, such as reporting email addresses, telephone numbers and motor vehicles.

“I warn sex offenders to stay away from schools. This is one judge’s ruling, and the law will soon be changed to clarify it,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I’m working to make sure there is no vagueness in the Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry law. Child molesters must stay away from our schools. Law enforcement will be watching.”

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