Senate approves Jones’ police ‘bad behavior’ bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to ensure that bad behavior by a police officer will not be hidden by that officer’s resignation.

“I served in law enforcement for more than half my life, and I know the importance of having the community trust our officers,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “My focus with this legislation is to help build that trust by ensuring that Michigan has the best police officers on the road. To do that, we must make sure that bad behavior isn’t tolerated or hidden.”

Senate Bill 1022 would require a law enforcement agency to maintain a record regarding the reason for and the circumstances surrounding a separation of service of a police department and would allow a prospective employing law enforcement agency to seek a copy of reasons and circumstances surrounding the separation.

Jones worked with the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) on the legislation after learning that an Eaton County Sheriff deputy, who was accused of making an “abusive and improper arrest” in 2014, resigned and got a job with another sheriff department.

“While I was surprised when I read the ‘Traffic Stop Gone Bad’ article in two Lansing papers and viewed the video in April, I was shocked to learn that the accused deputy went right out and got another law enforcement job,” said Jones, a former Eaton County sheriff.

In the article, the reporter described how he obtained a cell phone video of a June 2014 traffic stop through the Freedom of Information Act. The deputy in the video was not wearing his body camera, but the young man who was stopped recorded the incident with his phone.

The article described how the man was stopped for having a tail light out and then an “abusive and improper arrest” was made. The Eaton County sheriff did not fire the deputy or seek charges against him. After the video surfaced, the man was released from jail and not charged by the prosecutor. While the young man’s attorney was negotiating a settlement with Eaton County, the deputy resigned and got a position with another sheriff’s department.

SB 1022 now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Sen. Jones supports CON Commission vote to deregulate dental CT scanners

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones on Wednesday applauded the state Certificate of Need (CON) Commission’s unanimous vote to remove dental cone beam computer tomography (CT) scanners from CON regulation.

Dental CT is a type of x-ray equipment that is used when regular dental x-rays are not sufficient. The technique provides 3-D images of a section of teeth, tissue and nerves in a single scan, reducing radiation exposure and pain for the patient.

“I fought to have this device more accessible to Michigan dentists because it will provide patients with an option for less pain,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This would also allow dentists to treat patients in their own office instead of creating unnecessary delay in having to direct patients elsewhere to receive the scans.”

Jones introduced Senate Bill 741, which would deregulate dental CT scanners from the CON process, in hopes to cause urgency for the CON Commission to take up this deregulation issue through its committee process.

“It was great to hear that the CON Commission voted unanimously to deregulate these CT scanners,” Jones said. “Now Michigan can join the rest of the nation and more conveniently practice this high standard of care.”

Prior to Wednesday’s vote, Michigan and Rhode Island were the only states in the country that had the restrictive regulation of CON. Dental CT scanners will continue to be regulated by Michigan’s Radiation Safety Section, to ensure safety standards are met for the well-being of the public.

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Jones applauds CMH for first steps; encourages continued measures

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones on Thursday announced that he supports the Community Mental Health’s recently announced guidelines to improve interactions with families and patients who are experiencing psychiatric distress.

The actions are the result of a state review investigating a Charlotte teenager who killed himself just one day after not receiving services from a facility of the Community Mental Health (CMH) Authority of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties.

“Tragedy should not have to happen to open our eyes to the inefficiencies of our state departments and facilities,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I requested the investigation into Ian Hartley’s death after I learned he was turned away from getting the help that could have saved his life — all because of a conversation over private insurance.

“No one should be turned away from a CMH facility if they are having suicidal thoughts; they should be kept in a facility for further evaluation. When it comes to saving someone’s life, insurance paperwork should be that last thing on a CMH employee’s mind.”

At the conclusion of the review, CMH indicated that current procedures focused too much on verification of insurance, and they seek to correct this through the new guidelines.

Other changes coming to CMH facilities are: CMH will now encourage patients to stay for evaluation, regardless of their personal insurance situation; CMH will “strongly recommend” that a patient be transported by ambulance to a hospital or emergency room; and CMH staff will contact the hospital or emergency room before the patient arrives to discuss their case and safety risks.

“These are changes that I asked from the department in our initial meeting,” Jones said. “I applaud these much-needed efforts, but my hope is that the department realizes there is still a long way to go.”

Additionally, Jones has requested legislation that would create immediate equalized per-patient funding for every CMH facility.

“I don’t believe the people of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties should receive less per-patient funding to help their residents in need of mental health issues than the patients in Oakland or Kent counties,” Jones said. “Across the state, every CMH should receive equal per-patient funding. No one deserves less.”

Jones said he will continue to work on future legislation that seeks the best care and attention possible to the state’s underserved mental health population.

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Jones bill supports mom and pop stores

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones on Thursday introduced legislation to protect small business owners against city ordinances that conflict with state law.

The city of Ann Arbor recently passed a local ordinance banning the sale of cigarettes to people under age 21. It is the first city in Michigan to raise the legal purchasing age above 18.

“This local law will do absolutely nothing to stop people from smoking; they will simply drive just outside the city and purchase what they want,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “However, it will really harm the owners of small mom and pop stores and gas stations in the city who are just trying to make a living.”

Jones’ measure, Senate Bill 1066, would prohibit a local unit of government from banning a legal product to supersede state law.

“I think it’s very hypocritical that Ann Arbor, a city that encourages recreational marijuana smoking, would put in this ban,” Jones said. “Ann Arbor allows the ‘Hash Bash’ every year and puts a tiny fine on recreational pot smoking.”

SB 1066 has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.

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**Photo Advisory** Jones’ Red Cross income tax donation bills signed

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, and officials from the American Red Cross in Michigan on Wednesday attended a ceremonial bill signing with Gov. Rick Snyder on Jones’ legislation to allow residents to make voluntary donations on their state tax returns in support of the American Red Cross.

Joining Jones for the bill signing were Kimberly Burton, CEO — American Red Cross Michigan Region; John H. Cauley, Jr., CEO — Mid-Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross; Tiana Gee, CEO — American Red Cross Southwest Michigan; Bill Lukens, American Red Cross State and Community Relations representative; Tony Lasher, CEO — East Central Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross; Mike Mitchell, CEO — American Red Cross of West Michigan; and Jess Averill-Hammond, legislative director for Sen. Jones.

Senate Bills 428 and 429 were signed officially in June. The bills create an individual income tax checkoff in support of the American Red Cross in Michigan, allowing taxpayers to choose to direct $5, $10, or more of their income tax return to the organization.

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Editor’s note: For a print-quality version of the above Jones photo, click on the image or visit www.SenatorRickJones.com/Photowire.