***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Jones to honor WWII veteran in Grand Ledge on June 20

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones will present retired U.S. Army Cpl. Fred H. Gehlhaar with a special tribute in recognition of his service to the country in Europe during World War II.

Who:
Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge;
Retired U.S. Army Cpl. Fred H. Gehlhaar;
American Legion Post 48 officials; and
Family members and friends.

When:
Saturday, June 20 at 4 p.m.

Where:
American Legion Post 48
731 N. Clinton St.
Grand Ledge, MI 48837

Brief:
Gehlhaar was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1944 at age 18. By early 1945, he was in Europe assigned to the 87th Division, 346 Regiment, Company E, 1st Platoon, 1st Rifle Squadron. During his service, Gehlhaar was involved in two battles, Rhineland and Central Europe, and spent his 19th birthday in a foxhole at the Rhine River.

After the war, Gehlhaar helped transition Army service personnel until his discharge in July 1946.

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Senate approves Jones bill to protect women in domestic violence situations

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation designed to protect women in domestic violence situations who are seeking a divorce.

Jones’ bill addresses a practice commonly referred to as “trolling” for potential divorce clients.

“This is about preventing greedy attorneys from putting women in danger,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “When a woman is a victim of domestic violence and decides to file for divorce from her abusive husband, she should not have to worry about a trolling attorney tipping off her husband before she has time to protect herself and her children by taking actions like moving into a shelter house and getting a personal protection order.”

Senate Bill 351 would prohibit a lawyer from contacting a party of a divorce action with direct solicitation of legal services before the expiration of 21 days after the proof of service to the other party has been filed. A first violation would be a misdemeanor with up to a $1,000 fine. A second violation would be punishable by up to a year in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

“During my time as a sheriff, I unfortunately saw firsthand the impact of domestic violence on the lives of women and children,” Jones said. “These situations are filled with emotion, and the last thing that is needed is the insertion of a lawyer trolling for clients. The three-week period will give abused women reasonable time to take care of important legal matters that will help ensure their safety.”

Jones noted that the Family Law Section of the Michigan State Bar supports the bill and has argued that the trolling practice is unsafe for women in domestic violence situations by allowing the other party to take measures prior to receiving court orders.

SB 351 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Governor signs bills to protect active-duty military parents

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 was signed on Tuesday by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“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 was proud to team 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.”

House Bills 4071 and 4482 and Senate Bill 9, now Public Acts 50-52 of 2015, 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 new laws 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 acts 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 also is about respecting military families and ensuring the best interest of the children.”

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Senate committee OKs Jones’ bill to make the Minor in Possession offense a civil fine

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to make Minor in Possession (MIP) a civil fine for the first offense was approved on Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“As a former sheriff, I take underage drinking seriously, but the problem now is that a student makes a mistake with a can of beer and ends up with a criminal record that will follow them for the rest of their life,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Currently, some judges are allowing this to be deferred on the first offense and some are not. This change will ensure that every young person has one chance to avoid a criminal record. With the changes to the bill made in committee, Michigan district judges are in support of this legislation.”

Under Senate Bill 332, as approved by the committee, the first MIP violation would be punishable with a civil fine of $100. The amended bill would retain the misdemeanor penalty for a second or subsequent violation. Judges would be allowed to enhance the punishment if the offender had a previous alcohol-related offense.

“The governor recently outlined criminal justice reforms to reduce the cost of our legal and prison systems by being smarter and more efficient with our laws,” Jones said. “The current Minor in Possession law is clogging up our courts, putting kids in jail and giving young people a criminal record that can hurt their ability to get into college or get a job. This reform is an example of smarter justice.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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**MEDIA ADVISORY** Jones to join Wheeler Trucking President Rex Wheeler for major announcement on June 8

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones to join Wheeler Trucking President Rex Wheeler at the company’s Flushing-area headquarters on Monday for an important announcement concerning hundreds of new jobs in Shiawassee County.

Who:
Rex Wheeler, president of Wheeler Trucking;
Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge; and
Local officials and residents.

What:
Wheeler Trucking President Rex Wheeler will announce plans for a major investment in the company’s mid-Michigan operations, which could result in 300 new trucking jobs.

When:
Monday, June 8 at noon.

Where:
Wheeler Trucking, Inc.
7439 Sheridan Road
Flushing, MI 48433
(810) 638-5900

Brief:
Jones is working with Rep. Ben Glardon, R-Owosso, the Michigan State Police and Michigan Department of Transportation to address a problem Wheeler Trucking has in Michigan delivering new semitrucks over the country using saddle mounts. Senate Bill 274 would help Wheeler Trucking compete by making the state’s artificially short length on truck hauling more in line with federal regulations.

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Jones welcomes Pastor Joe Jackson to state Capitol to lead invocation

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, (left) proudly welcomed the Rev. Joe Jackson to the Michigan Senate on Wednesday. Jackson serves as a pastor at Community Baptist Church in Grand Ledge and delivered the invocation before the start of Senate session.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph of Jones with Jackson is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorRickJones.com. Click on “Photowire.”