Jones bill to block a rapist’s paternity action sent to governor

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — A rape victim may soon be able to stop her rapist from being legally acknowledged as the father of a child resulting of the rape under a Sen. Rick Jones bill on its way to the governor’s desk.

“Rape is usually not about sex; it’s about control and power. That is part of the reason why it’s so sickening that a rapist would seek access to a child conceived in his rape of the mother,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I sponsored this bill to ensure that a rapist will not be recognized as the father of a child resulting from his criminal act and that he will have no say in the child’s upbringing.”

Legislation enacted in 2012 to give biological fathers more rights to their children included a reform to provide certain people, such as an alleged biological father of a child born to a married woman, a chance to be acknowledged as the child’s father.

The Michigan Senate on Tuesday enrolled Senate Bill 858, which would make an exception in the law for a situation where a child was conceived as a result of rape or criminal sexual conduct and the biological father then seeks to be acknowledged as the father.

Under the bill, a mother who provides clear and convincing evidence that a child was conceived as a result of a rape can bring an action to revoke an acknowledgement of parentage of an alleged father.

“While parental rights can already be terminated after conviction of rape, women often don’t press charges against their assailants,” Jones said. “This measure would enable a victim to block her rapist’s parental claims using a similar standard to those already used for domestic abuse. I am proud that the Legislature has stood up for survivors of rape, and I look forward to seeing this legislation signed into law.”

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Jones welcomes Iraq war veteran to Senate Memorial Day Service

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, proudly welcomed Chief Master Sgt. Alan VanPate to the state Capitol on Thursday as his honored guest for the Michigan Senate’s 22nd Annual Memorial Day Service, which paid tribute to the state’s fallen soldiers.

VanPate was recently appointed as the senior enlisted advisor for the Michigan National Guard and is the first member of the Michigan Air Guard selected for that position.

VanPate deployed in 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he coordinated more than 200 air missions in support of combat operations. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Navy Achievement Medal.

Editor’s note: The above photograph of Jones and VanPate is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorRickJones.com/Photowire.

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Jones’ good behavior bill approved by Senate committee

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Competitiveness Committee on Wednesday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to the allow judges to shorten an individual’s probation term as a result of good behavior.

“I was proud to be a part of a bipartisan criminal justice reform effort because we need a smarter system that is more cost-effective and achieves better outcomes for everyone,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Michigan has roughly 42,000 people in our prison system right now, and about 90 percent of them will return to our communities. It is a good illustration of the need to efficiently and effectively rehabilitate prisoners to give them the best shot at a successful and productive life after prison.”

Senate Bill 934 would allow a judge to reduce an individual’s remaining probation term by up to 100 percent if the individual has already served half of his or her probation term, the judge determines that the individual’s conduct while on probation would warrant a reduction and the reduction is recommended by the probation officer.

“My bill would provide a way for probationers who do everything right and are good citizens to have their probation cut by up to half,” Jones said. “Putting an incentive on good behavior is critical to achieving a goal of having a criminal justice system that costs less, keeps Michigan communities safe and breaks the cycle of crime.”

Jones’ legislation was one of five bills dealing with probation to be approved by the committee on Wednesday. They are the first set of the Senate’s recently introduced criminal justice reforms to be reported to the full Senate for consideration.

SB 933 would limit the revocation time that a probation violator would serve for technical violations, and SB 935 would provide an incentive to probation agents and supervisors to keep probationers out of prison.

SBs 948 and 949 would update the state’s swift and sure probation sanctioning program, allowing a circuit court to institute a swift and sure sanctions court and accept eligible participants from other jurisdictions.

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Senate committee passes Jones bill to block a rapist’s paternity action

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to allow a mother to prevent her rapist from being legally acknowledged as the father of a child who is a result of the rape.

“It turns my stomach just to think that a rapist who conceives a child in a rape would seek access to that child,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “The goal of this legislation is to ensure that a rapist will not be recognized as the father of a child resulting from his criminal act and will have no say concerning the child’s upbringing.”

Legislation enacted in 2012 to give biological fathers more rights to their children included a reform to provide certain people, such as an alleged biological father of a child born to a married woman, a chance to be acknowledged as the child’s father.

Senate Bill 858 would make an exception in the law for a situation where a child was conceived as a result of rape or criminal sexual conduct and the biological father then seeks to be acknowledged as the father.

Under the bill, a mother who provides clear and convincing evidence that a child was conceived as a result of a rape can bring an action to revoke an acknowledgement of parentage of an alleged father.

“Parental rights can already be terminated after conviction of rape. However, for a variety of reasons, women often don’t press charges,” Jones said. “This bill would ensure that a rapist would not have access to his victim’s child by allowing his parental claims to be blocked using the ‘clear and convincing evidence’ standard — similar to other reasons for losing parental rights, like domestic abuse.”

SB 858 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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Governor signs Jones bill to help stop theft of stolen tires

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to require a person selling used tires to comply with the same standards set for used vehicle parts.

“I was told about a man who came to Michigan for a trip and rented a car, and on one of his days here, he parked in a parking structure and enjoyed visiting the city. When he returned to his car, it was sitting on cinder blocks with its tires gone,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This is not the type of Pure Michigan we want to promote, and this is not the only case. There has been an alarming increase in the number of tire thefts in Michigan over the last couple of years.”

Michigan law currently requires certain record-keeping by dealers who buy or receive used motor vehicle parts, such as any major component part, a dashboard, stereo, radio or seat.

Senate Bill 331, now Public Act 112 of 2016, expands the law to include transactions involving used motor vehicle tires, tire wheels or rims and continuous tire tread. In addition, parts dealers may not purchase these items with cash.

Under the new act, a dealer violating the extending requirements would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. A second or subsequent violation would be a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

“This will help reduce the number of stolen tires and rims by making the process of selling these items more transparent,” Jones said. “The best way to stop people from stealing tires is to cut off their ability to make money off the stolen items, and that is what this does.”

The bill was signed on May 10 and will take effect in 90 days.

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New legislation prohibits unregulated custody transfers of adopted children

Bill package helps ensure the safety of adopted kids

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Legislators have introduced a multi-bill package to prohibit and punish the practice of informal child custody transfers.

“In some cases, parents are using online forums to offer adopted children to strangers, which results in children being ‘rehomed’ into potentially abusive and unsafe environments,” said Rep. McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills. “Parents should not be allowed to permanently place a child under the care of another person without any oversight.”

House Bill 5629, sponsored by McCready, would prohibit a parent from transferring custody of a child for more than 180 days. Current law allows a temporary custody transfer to take place, using a power of attorney, if it does not exceed 180 days.

HB 5628, sponsored by Rep. Hank Vaupel, would criminalizes the transfer of custody with the intent to permanently divest oneself of parental responsibility and prohibit assisting or arranging an unregulated custody transfer.

“This is about what’s best for children’s safety, plain and simple,” said Vaupel, R-Fowlerville. “Every child in Michigan deserves to be raised in a safe and secure home environment. These bills prevent an unregulated custody practice that can put children in danger.”

HB 5626, sponsored by Rep. Tom Hooker, would prohibit a person from advertising for potential adoptive parents without court involvement. HB 5627 would classify soliciting a child for adoption as a Class F felony.

“Children are our most precious treasure, requiring love and nurturing,” said Hooker, R-Byron Center. “Any person who tries to market children as a commodity deserves to be stopped and punished.”

Sen. Rick Jones has introduced similar legislation, Senate Bills 923-926.

“We have a responsibility to all Michigan children to protect their safety,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “We don’t want to see people advertising children on the Internet. Children are not for sale. Plus, we never know who will respond; they could be a child abuser or a child molester. Ensuring proper precautions are taken is the best way to protect these children.”

SBs 923-926 have been referred to the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services for consideration, and HBs 5626-5629 have been sent to the House Judiciary Committee.

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