**Photo Advisory** Sen. Jones welcomes Eaton County high school insurance class students to Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, welcomed to the Capitol on Thursday a group of Eaton County high school students who are participating in insurance and risk management classes at the Farm Bureau Insurance headquarters in Delta Township.

The class is an effort by Eaton Regional Education Services Agency, Olivet College and Farm Bureau Insurance and is designed to help students learn about the insurance industry while possibly earning college credit or insurance industry certification.

The students were in Lansing to tour the Capitol, the Accident Fund and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photo of Jones and the students is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorRickJones.com. Click the Photowire link.

 

Jones, Glardon working with Wheeler Trucking to bring jobs to Shiawassee County

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones announced on Thursday that he is working with Rep. Ben Glardon, R-Owosso, and Wheeler Trucking to bring hundreds of jobs to Shiawassee County.

Rex Wheeler, owner of Wheeler Trucking, contacted Jones and Glardon for help. He wants to build a new truck center in Shiawassee County and employ 300 or more truckers.

“This is an excellent chance to help a local job provider invest and create jobs here in Michigan,” said Jones. R-Grand Ledge. “I’m happy to fight for new business investment and well-paying jobs for Shiawassee County families. Mr. Wheeler wants to employ at least 300 truckers, and his top driver makes more than $100,000. These are good American jobs, and they are ready to hire right now. The biggest obstacle is a few feet in state law.”

Wheeler Trucking delivers new semitrucks all over the country using saddle mounts. Years ago, Michigan artificially changed its length requirement for truck hauling, making it shorter than the requirement for hauling cars. Wheeler said his truckers get tickets for being over the limit, and without a change, he might have to move his operation to another state.

Senate Bill 274 would make Michigan’s artificially short length on truck hauling more in line with federal regulations. Jones is working with Glardon to get bill to the governor’s desk.

Jones said Wheeler would prefer to bring the jobs to New Lothrop in Shiawassee County, and the company is planning a grand announcement in June.

The Michigan State Police and Department of Transportation support the legislation, which is currently before the Senate Transportation Committee.

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Bills to protect active-duty military parents headed to the governor

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones, Rep. Tom Barrett and Rep. Klint Kesto to protect the custody rights of America’s servicemen and women is on its way to the governor’s desk to be signed.

“Members of our armed forces, who risk their lives to protect our freedoms, deserve to fulfill their service without fear of losing custody of a child while they are on duty,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I am proud to be teaming up with Representatives Barrett and Kesto to stand up for active-duty military parents by filling in a loophole in state law that was exposed last year in an unfortunate and well-publicized case.”

Senate Bill 9 and House Bills 4071 and 4482 would ensure active-duty military parents are not punished for not appearing in court over custody disputes while serving overseas and that they would retain custody as long as the child is in a safe environment.

Specifically, the bills would mandate that — unless the best interests of the child are being violated — the court shall not modify the current parenting time order if one of the parties has filed a motion of stay under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The measures were inspired after a Michigan judge in 2014 held a U.S. Navy petty officer in contempt of court and ordered his arrest after he failed to appear in court for a custody hearing, despite the fact that he was on duty aboard a submarine in the Pacific Ocean.

After lifting those orders under public pressure, the judge ordered the officer’s six-year-old daughter be temporarily removed from his custody while he remained on deployment, even though Michigan child protective services had removed the child from the mother’s home in 2010 due to neglect and reports of abuse.

“This is about protecting the rights of every man and woman in uniform, so that no service member will have to go through this ordeal again,” Jones said. “It is also about respecting military families and ensuring the best interest of the children. In the Michigan case, by placing the child in the mother’s care before the state had re-examined her fitness as a parent, the judge implied that someone serving his country was worse for a child than someone with a history of neglect.”

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Jones welcomes local servicewoman to Senate Memorial Day Service

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, proudly welcomed Army National Guard Lt. Michelle McCormick (right) to the state Capitol for the Michigan Senate’s 21st Annual Memorial Day Service, which honored Michigan’s fallen soldiers and paid respect to all past and current service members. Michelle is the sister of Jones’ Chief of Staff Sandra McCormick (left).

“It was my honor to have Michelle as my guest for the Senate’s solemn ceremony in tribute to the servicemen and women who gave their lives defending liberty and to celebrate everything they fought and died to protect,” Jones said. “Michelle is an example of the brave Americans who are willing to put their lives on the line for our freedoms. Unfortunately, many never return home.”

Lawmakers honored soldiers from their districts who died within the past year. Families who lost loved ones were also recognized by the Senate.

The Michigan Senate held its first Memorial Day Service at the initiative of former U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers, who was then a state senator.

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A print-quality photograph of Jones welcoming McCormick is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorRickJones.com. Click on “Photowire.”

 

Jones’ bills to ban powdered alcohol, e-cigarettes for minors approved by Senate

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved two pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to protect children from alcohol and nicotine abuse.

Senate Bill 240 would prohibit the sale, distribution and possession of powdered alcohol.

“During my time as a sheriff, I saw many young people tragically die due to alcohol poisoning, and I am deeply concerned that powdered alcohol will be easily abused by minors — leading to an increase in loss of life,” Jones said. “With the Senate’s action to stop this dangerous product from coming to Michigan, we are being proactive in protecting the safety of our children and all Michigan residents.”

Jones said that many states have already banned powdered alcohol and other states are considering bans, including New York and Ohio.

SB 231 would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes and nicotine cartridges to minors as well as ban minors from possessing these objects.

“I am proud the Senate is standing up to keep electronic cigarettes out of the hands of our children,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I believe it is irresponsible and dangerous to introduce young children to a culture of smoking. If an adult wants to smoke, that is their decision. This bill is an effort to help protect children across Michigan from e-cigarettes, which can be just as addictive as traditional cigarettes.”

Jones’ legislation would treat stores that sell electronic cigarettes or nicotine cartridges to minors the same way as if they sold them tobacco. Minors who possess these items would be treated the same as if they were in possession of tobacco.

SBs 231 and 240 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Senate approves Jones bill cracking down on senior exploitation

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to protect Michigan seniors from being financially exploited by a family member was unanimously approved on Thursday by the Michigan Senate.

“Michigan courts should have the power to stop someone from taking advantage of our most vulnerable residents — our seniors,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Unfortunately, this bill was inspired by a real case here in Michigan. An elderly woman from mid-Michigan was taken by her son to another state, where she was put on drugs that 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 did not need a guardian.

“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,” Jones said. “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.

“It was unacceptable, and I thank my Senate colleagues for standing with our seniors and ensuring that Michigan judges have the power to protect Michigan residents.”

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.

Senate Bill 270 would allow Michigan judges to take jurisdiction in guardianship cases if certain criteria are met. The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Jones are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorRickJones.com. Click on “Audio.”

Senate panel approves Jones’ bills to ban powdered alcohol, e-cigarettes for minors

LANSING, Mich. — Two pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to protect children from alcohol and nicotine abuse were approved on Wednesday by the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee.

Senate Bill 231 would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes and nicotine cartridges to minors as well as ban minors from possessing these objects.

“This is an effort to help protect children across Michigan from electronic cigarettes, which can be just as addictive as traditional cigarettes,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Introducing young children to a smoking culture before they turn 18 is both irresponsible and dangerous. If an adult wants to smoke, that is their decision. But I firmly believe we need to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of our children.”

The legislation would treat stores that sell electronic cigarettes or nicotine cartridges to minors the same way as if they sold them tobacco. Minors who possess these items would be treated the same as if they were in possession of tobacco.

SB 240 would prohibit the sale, distribution and possession of powdered alcohol, currently marketed as Palcohol.

“As a sheriff, I saw many young people die due to alcohol poisoning, and I am afraid that such tragic losses of life will dramatically increase if powdered alcohol is allowed in our state,” Jones said. “We have the opportunity with this legislation to be proactive and protect the public by stopping a dangerous product from coming to Michigan before it begins affecting the safety of our children and the public.”

Jones said that many states have already banned powdered alcohol and other states are considering bans, including New York and Ohio.

SBs 231 and 240 have been sent to the full Senate for consideration.

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Senate panel OKs Jones bill to stop expansion of nude bars in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to stop the expansion of alcohol being served in bars with fully nude dancers.

“I don’t believe that America’s Founding Fathers intended a constitutional protection for getting drunk in a nude bar,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This bill will keep the status quo in Michigan and stop the expansion of fully nude entertainment into bars that serve alcohol.

“Without this alcohol restriction, we will have fewer protections for both tourists and dancers than Las Vegas, which has a similar ban for adult nightclubs.”

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2007 that Michigan’s liquor rules banning full nudity were unconstitutional. For 26 years, fully nude dancers in establishments serving alcohol have been banned in Michigan. After the ruling, some Michigan bars chose to expand to have fully nude dancer entertainment.

Jones checked with the attorney general’s office and was advised that both the city of Grand Rapids and the state of North Carolina have laws that have been tested and found to be constitutional.

Senate Bill 302 has been drafted to reflect these laws. SB 302 would prohibit full nudity in an establishment with an on-premises liquor license and ban a licensee from allowing the showing of scenes of nudity.

The bill would not apply to an exhibition or performance in a theater, concert hall, art center, museum or similar establishment that was primarily devoted to the arts or theatrical performances.

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Senate panel approves Jones bill to protect charitable gaming

LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to allow charity poker rooms to continue to operate in Michigan was approved Wednesday by the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee.

“This is not about making huge profits for casinos. Charitable gaming in Michigan is about raising funds to support local charities and organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions clubs; schools; and police, firefighters and veterans groups,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This bill would simply put into law the emergency rules signed by the governor – allowing our local organizations to continue to use charitable gaming to support their causes.”

Last summer, the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the governor filed emergency rules after the current rules were challenged in court because charities said they would drastically limit their fundraising ability. Senate Bill 187 is an attempt to codify those emergency rules into statute.

Rep. Tom Barrett is the sponsor of similar legislation in the House of Representatives.

“I appreciate Senator Jones’ partnership with this issue affecting our community,” said Barrett, R-Potterville. “Charities are important. As the emergency rules are set to expire in July of this year, I am excited to continue working together to help our charities and protect this fundraising mechanism.”

SB 187 now heads to the full Senate for consideration. Barrett’s bill is House Bill 4293 and has been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.

Jones’ measure is supported by numerous groups, including the Michigan Jaycees and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

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Governor signs Jones’ bill to protect retired state employees and save money

LANSING—Legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones was signed by the governor on Tuesday. The new law allows retired state employees to help aid the attorney general’s office in litigation without forfeiting their retirement pay and benefits.

“It is important for taxpayers to know that this is for specific and temporary situations and does not allow retired state employees to double-dip,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This is about addressing 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.

“I want to thank the governor for signing this common sense, cost-effective approach to helping the attorney general’s office do its job on behalf of the people of Michigan.”

Michigan law prohibits these retirees from receiving their retirement pay while under contract. Senate Bill 12, now Public Act 20 of 2015, 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. PA 20 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.

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