Jones bill to fight Chronic Wasting Disease headed to the governor

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones’ bill that would allow state officials to take steps to address the ongoing problem of Chronic Wasting Disease has been sent to Gov. Rick Snyder to be signed into law.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) this year has confirmed three cases of CWD found in wild deer in Ingham County and one case in Clinton County.

“This bill will empower the DNR to continue to fight against the spread of this horrible disease devastating our deer,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This is about ensuring that Michigan wildlife officials have the tools necessary to prevent the spread of the disease in our deer population. It is also about supporting our hunting heritage and the health of the herd.”

Senate Bill 446 would extend the current authority of the Natural Resource Commission (NRC) to issue orders concerning the feeding and baiting of deer and elk in the state. The current authority is set to expire on Jan. 1, 2016.

“As an avid hunter, I understand the critical roles our hunters will play in fighting Chronic Wasting Disease,” Jones said. “I encourage mid-Michigan hunters to continue to hunt, and to help control the spread of this disease by having their deer checked and tested.”

###

Senate approves Jones bill to end rapists’ parental rights

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to allow a court to terminate a rapist’s parental rights to a child who is a result of the person’s rape of the mother.

“After 31 years in law enforcement, it sickens me that a perpetrator who conceives a child in a rape would seek access to the child, and I can’t imagine the hell it must put the mother through,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “It is important that we stand up for victims by ensuring that if someone is raped and a child in conceived, the rapist does not get custody rights to the child.”

Senate Bill 629 would allow a court to terminate a person’s parental rights to a child if that child had been conceived as a result of the person’s criminal sexual assault of the mother.

Jones said that the parental rights can already be terminated after conviction of rape, but SB 629 would allow the rights to be terminated upon “clear and convincing evidence,” similar to other reasons for losing parental rights, such as domestic abuse.

“Rape is usually not about sex; it’s about power and rapists often continue to assert their power over their victim when they learn about a pregnancy — sometimes demanding that the woman get an abortion. By passing this bill, the Senate is stating loud and clear that a rapist should have no say concerning the health and well-being of a child resulting from his criminal act.”

SB 629 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

###

Senate approves Jones bill to protect charitable gaming

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to allow charity poker rooms to continue to operate in Michigan.

“Charitable gaming in Michigan is not about making huge profits for casinos; it’s 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. “I recently met with charities in Lansing who asked me for help, saying that they have lost about half of the money they used to get to support their causes and our communities.

“Michigan should learn from the Grinch story and open its heart to the Spirit of Christmas and allow people to support their local charities.”

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 with some changes.

Rep. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, is the sponsor of a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

SB 187 has been sent to the Michigan House 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.

###

Jones introduces zoo animal breeding bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones has introduced legislation to allow five Michigan zoos to breed large carnivores for the protection of the species.

“I want to live in a world where future generations will be able to still say ‘lions and tigers and bears, oh my,’ and know what these beautiful species are because they still exist,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “In the past there were awful roadside animal attractions that were inhumane. Animals were abused and inbreeding led to many problems for the species. Due to this behavior, the state banned the breeding of large carnivores.

“We have come a long way in animal conservation, and it is time to reevaluate this ban and allow creditable zoos and facilities to breed these animals for the protection and permanency of these species.”

Senate Bill 658 would allow the five zoos that are part of the American Association of Zoo and Aquariums in Michigan to breed large carnivores. These are Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square in Saginaw, John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Potter Park Zoo in Lansing and the Detroit Zoo.

“Allowing these highly accredited facilities to help save these animals from the threat of extinction is good for everyone — the animals, the zoos and our society,” Jones said. “This legislation will ensure that appropriate breeding will take place amongst qualified facilities that know how to properly care for these animals and protect these animals from those who seek to make profit on them.”

Large carnivores covered by the bill include such species as lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, polar bears, black bears, brown bears and grizzly bears.

Other institutions may also breed these species if they comply with all the specified criteria such as public safety, animal welfare, veterinary care and conservation.

###

Senate approves Jones bill to keep sex offenders away from schools

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to restore a law prohibiting sex offenders from working or living within 1,000 feet of a school.

“Sex offenders have no business hanging out at the local school playground and leering at young children,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “The problem is that a federal judge recently ruled that parts of Michigan’s sex offender registration law were too vague. As a result, sex offenders of all kinds can once again hang around our schoolyards.

“This bill will clarify the law so that Michigan can protect our children from sexual predators.”

Senate Bill 581 would prohibit a registered sex offender in Michigan from working or living within a student safety zone, which is defined as the school property and the area that lies 1,000 feet or less from the school property line. It also clarifies the law concerning how close an offender can be to a school while walking or driving.

The bill includes exemptions for an offender transporting his child to or from school, attending an event sanctioned by his child’s school and meeting with a school employee regarding his child enrolled at that school.

SB 581 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

###

Senate panel OKs Jones bill to end rapists’ parental rights

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to allow a court to terminate a rapist’s parental rights to a child who is a result of the person’s rape of the mother.

“This is about ensuring that if someone is raped and a child in conceived in that rape, the rapist does not get any custody rights,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Senate Bill 629 would allow a court to terminate a person’s parental rights to a child if that child had been conceived as a result of the person’s criminal sexual conduct.

Under the bill, the court could terminate the parental rights to a child if the parent had been convicted of sexual assault or found by clear and convincing evidence during a fact-finding hearing to have sexually assaulted the mother and that the rape resulted in the child being conceived.

Jones said that the parental rights can already be terminated after conviction of rape, but SB 629 would allow the rights to be terminated upon “clear and convincing evidence,” similar to other reasons for losing parental rights, such as domestic abuse.

“Rape is not about sex; it’s about power,” Jones said. “Rapists often continue to assert their power over their victim when they learn about the pregnancy — sometimes demanding that the woman get an abortion. Whether before or after the child’s birth, a rapist should have no say concerning the health and well-being of a child resulting from his criminal act.”

SB 629 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

###

Senate approves Jones’ foster children bills

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to help ensure the best care and placement for foster children.

“During my time in law enforcement, I saw some of the awful situations many young children endure in Michigan,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “However, as a foster grandparent, I have also seen the strength that children possess to make it through hard times.”

Senate Bills 482 and 483 would put a greater emphasis on sibling placement and visitation with siblings. If siblings could not be placed together, then a priority of sibling visitations and ongoing interaction would be arranged to ensure a sibling bond.

“I have seen the positive impact of placing siblings together,” Jones said. “It is important to keep family units together as much as possible, and a bond between siblings is one of the most cherished parts of a family.”

SB 485 would require frequent visitations between non-custodial, biological parents and their children unless the court determines that the parenting time would be harmful to the child.

“As long as there is no harm to a foster child seeing their biological parent, they should be able to spend time together and preserve their family bond,” Jones said.

Jones said that the University of Michigan Law School Legislation Clinic brought the measures to his attention.

“I have been working with them, the Children’s Law Section Council and the state Department of Human Services to make sure that we are helping our foster children,” Jones said.

SBs 482, 483 and 485 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

###

Jones introducing zoo animal breeding bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones will be introducing legislation to allow five Michigan zoos to breed large carnivores for the protection of the species.

“I want to live in a world where future generations will be able to still say ‘lions and tigers and bears, oh my,’ and know what these beautiful species are because they still exist,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “In the past there were awful roadside animal attractions that were inhumane. Animals were abused and inbreeding led to many problems for the species. Due to this behavior, the state banned the breeding of large carnivores.

“We have come a long way in animal conservation, and it is time to reevaluate this ban and allow creditable zoos and facilities to breed these animals for the protection and permanency of these species.”

Jones’ legislation would allow the five zoos that are part of the American Association of Zoo and Aquariums in Michigan to breed large carnivores. These are Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square in Saginaw, John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Potter Park Zoo in Lansing and the Detroit Zoo.

“Allowing these highly accredited facilities to help save these animals from the threat of extinction is good for everyone — the animals, the zoos and our society,” Jones said. “This legislation will ensure that appropriate breeding will take place amongst qualified facilities that know how to properly care for these animals and protect these animals from those who seek to make profit on them.”

Large carnivores covered by the bill include such species as lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, polar bears, black bears, brown bears and grizzly bears.

Other institutions may also breed these species if they comply with all the specified criteria such as public safety, animal welfare, veterinary care and conservation.

###