Jones bill would ban fish farming in the Great Lakes

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones has introduced legislation to ban commercial fish farming in the Great Lakes.

“Concentrated fish poo is just not Pure Michigan,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “A typical 200,000-fish operation creates as much waste as a city of 65,000 people, which would make the Great Lakes a giant toilet bowl. By allowing commercial fish farming we can say goodbye to our Pure Michigan status and hello to an undrinkable Toledo water supply.”

Fish waste contains phosphorous, which is beneficial for ecosystems in minimal amounts. However, a concentrated amount of phosphorous, found in fish farms, can cause widespread algae blooms like the one that devastated Lake Erie. Algae blooms are steadily becoming more common throughout the Lakes. An algae bloom led to the undrinkable water supply in Toledo.

“The waste in a commercial fish farm would stay where Michigan families enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and paddling,” Jones said, “Unlike ocean fish farms, where tides flush away the waste, it will stay in the coastal region of the Great Lakes.”

Caged fish culture was developed to produce thousands of fish with the purpose to sell as food. These factory fish farms are floating nets placed in waterways and are huge threats to the existing ecosystem.

“Legislators have a constitutional duty to protect our Great Lakes,” Jones said. “Commercial fish farms in the Great Lakes are all risk and no reward. These are proven sources of pollution, invasive species, disease, and fugitive fish escaping to wreak havoc on our fisheries. My bill is about codifying the opinion of Attorney General Schuette and protecting our lakes and fisheries.”

Sport fishing in Michigan supports 15,000 jobs, and the Great Lakes fishing industry contributes $7 billion a year to the economy. The Great Lakes has some of the world’s greatest steelhead fishing, a type of rainbow trout.

“A proposed fish farm growing rainbow trout would put our sport fishing industry, as well as the species, in grave peril,” Jones said. “This risk is too great to only create a handful of jobs and allow fish farming into the Great Lakes. When that rainbow trout inevitably escapes it will jeopardize the entire steelhead population.”

Jones said that there is a right way to do aquaculture. Closed-loop aquaculture operations can help meet the demand of the proponent’s contribution to feed the world’s growing population, without damaging the Great Lakes. These are systems on land that use a separate water supply to allow more control over fish waste, which can actually be harvested for fertilizer.

“Detroit and other cities with vacant buildings are prime candidates to support the creation of these contained systems and bring a thriving industry to our economy,” Jones said.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Trout Unlimited and Michigan Environmental Council are all supportive of Jones’ bill.

“It is inevitable that these farmed fish will escape,” Jones said. “These fugitive fish would then compete with wild fish for food, disrupt their natural reproduction and interfere with their genetic diversity, ultimately making it very difficult for the wild fish to survive.”

Senate Bill 423 would ban commercial fish farming in the Great Lakes and inland Michigan lakes larger than five acres in size. The bill has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee for consideration.

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Jones introduces student eye exam legislation

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones has introduced legislation that would provide a clear path for school-aged children who fail a vision screening to receive a comprehensive eye and vision examination.

“If we could catch children’s vision problems sooner, there is a chance to prevent a misdiagnosis of a learning disability,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “These comprehensive eye and vision exams will help get children the proper help they need, and as a result, help them read, learn and be successful.

“We owe it to our children to give them the best care for a successful future, and if something as simple as a comprehensive eye exam is part of the answer, then we should be doing this.”

Senate Bill 411 would create the next step for a child who fails their already required grade school vision screening or is identified as a struggling reader by a qualified individual to receive a comprehensive eye and vision exam.

The local health department would receive a written request that a child needs a comprehensive eye and vision exam and would notify the parent or guardian that the child is required to get the examination. The parent would then have to ensure that the child has the exam, which emphasizes visual functioning. The recommendation from the eye care professional would then be submitted to the local health department and parent of the child.

“Early treatment for certain vision conditions could prevent lifelong behavioral health problems,” Jones said “Students who do not read well by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out. This would help reduce the chances of children dropping out of school and also lead to a costs savings in treatment and medical costs for the future.”

Jones’ bill has been referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee for consideration.

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Sens. O’Brien and Jones introduce ‘safe care’ plan bills

LANSING, Mich. — Senator Margaret O’Brien and Sen. Rick Jones have introduced legislation to require a “Plan of Safe Care” for babies born with substance abuse.

“I was upset when I learned of the correlation found connecting babies born with illegal drugs in their system and infant mortality,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “We must make sure that babies and their mothers with substance abuse disorders get the help they need, which would include evidence-based home visiting program and be tailored to each baby’s needs.”

Jones’ bill, Senate Bill 397, would define a “Plan of Safe Care” as a plan developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), a medical professional or another provider that addresses the health and safety needs of the newborn infant affected by substance abuse.

The plan would also address the substance use disorder treatment needs of the mother and the service needs of another caregiver or family members.

“Sadly, far too many Michigan babies are born addicted to illegal drugs,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “This is about protecting all Michigan newborns and ensuring that every infant affected by drug or alcohol disorders receives effective treatment. Home visits under a safe care plan would not be invasive and can be used as a tool to help teach new mothers to address their needs and provide a safe place for their new babies to live and thrive.”

Sen. O’Brien’s bill, SB 398, would require that a newborn infant identified as being affected by substance use disorder, withdrawal symptoms or fetal alcohol disorder will have a Plan of Safe Care developed for them.

The bills have been referred to the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee for consideration.

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Senate panel OKs Jones’ FRIB funding resolution

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Energy and Technology Committee on Thursday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ resolution urging Congress to continue funding for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University.

“The FRIB will be the world’s most powerful facility of its kind when it is completed in 2021,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “It will more than double the research opportunities available in the field of nuclear physics and help scientists make discoveries that could lead to important breakthroughs in medicine and help strengthen our national security.

“The FRIB will provide a huge benefit for Michigan and the entire country, but continuation of federal funding is essential to keeping its construction on time and on budget.”

Senate Resolution 29 says that the FRIB will contribute an estimated $4 billion in statewide economic activity over the course of its lifespan. The resolution also notes that the U.S. Department of Energy has committed to fund the FRIB’s annual operation expenses through 2040, totaling about $1.9 billion.

“This resolution is about calling on our federal government to live up to its word and continue the critical funding that will provide for cutting-edge scientific research at the FRIB,” Jones said. “While the FRIB is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs and strengthen Michigan’s economy, it’s about much more than that. It is about investing in our future and putting our best minds at work here in Michigan to improve the world.”

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Senate approves bills to stop female genital mutilation

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation that would help end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the state.

Senate Bills 337 and 338, sponsored by Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage, and Sen. Rick Jones would ban the practice of FGM in Michigan. The bills would make the practice a felony crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“This is about standing up for girls and women in our state against a horrific act of barbarism,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Female genital mutilation is a violation of human rights that cannot be tolerated. I am proud to be working with Senators O’Brien, Emmons and Schuitmaker to have Michigan join 24 other states in outlawing this unnecessary and disturbing act.”

SBs 368 and 369, sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, and Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, would ban the transportation of girls for an FGM procedure. Under the bills, the crime would be a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FGM refers to cutting and other procedures that injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Federal law prohibits anyone in the country from knowingly excising or infibulating the genitals of any girl under 18 years of age.

The bills stem from a recent case in which Michigan-based doctors were arrested and charged for allegedly conspiring to perform FGM on minors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

SBs 337-338 and 368-369 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Senate panel OKs Jones bill to ban e-cigarettes for minors

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee on Wednesday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to protect children from nicotine abuse in Michigan.

“Using electronic cigarettes can be just as addictive as smoking traditional cigarettes, and Michigan currently has a loophole allowing children under age 18 to purchase these addictive products,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “According to a 2016 report by the U.S. surgeon general’s office, e-cigarette use grew an astounding 900 percent among high school students from 2011 to 2015. This measure would close the loophole in Michigan law and protect our children from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.”

Senate Bill 37 would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes and nicotine cartridges to minors as well as ban minors from possessing these objects.

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

“If an adult wants to smoke, that is their decision,” Jones said. “However, I believe that it is our duty to protect our children and that sometimes means stepping in to stop them from making life-changing decisions. We must stop young people from being introduced to a culture of smoking before they can fully understand the gravity of choosing to smoke.

“This is a good balance that allows adults to choose an alternative to traditional cigarettes and also protects our kids. Doing nothing is irresponsible and dangerous.”

SB 37 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Senate committee to take up bills banning the transporting of girls for female genital mutilation

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee TODAY will take up legislation to ban the transportation of girls for a female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure.

Who:
Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge;
Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, sponsor of Senate Bill 368;
Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, sponsor of SB 369;
Committee members; and
Concerned citizens.

When:
TODAY, Tuesday, May 9 at 3 p.m.

Where:
Binsfeld Office Building
Room 1300
201 Townsend St.
Lansing

What:
Senate Judiciary Committee will be taking up Senate Bills 368 and 369, which would ban the transportation of girls for a female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure. The bills would make the crime a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FGM refers to cutting and other procedures that injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The department states federal law prohibits anyone in the country from knowingly circumcising, excising or infibulating the genitals of any child under 18 years of age.

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Senate committee approves bills to outlaw female genital mutilation in Michigan

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would ban the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan.

The measures were sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones and Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage.

“This evil, horrific act against little girls is demonic and a violation of human rights,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “It is an extreme form of discrimination against girls and women, and I am proud to be working with Senators O’Brien and Schuitmaker to have Michigan to join 24 other states in outlawing female genital mutilation.”

Senate Bills 337 and 338 would ban the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan. The bills would make the practice a felony crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FGM refers to cutting and other procedures that injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The department states federal law prohibits anyone in the country from knowingly circumcising, excising or infibulating the genitals of any child under 18 years of age.

“There is no place for this type of barbarism in Michigan,” said Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, a co-sponsor. “This legislation will help to ensure that those convicted of this heinous act receive the justice they deserve.”

The bills stem from a recent case in which Michigan-based doctors were arrested and charged for allegedly conspiring to perform FGM on minors, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Before approving the measures, the committee heard from Dr. Lori Post, Ph.D. Post is an expert on FGM, an associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine and incoming director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at Northwestern University.

“Female genital mutilation cannot be tolerated,” Jones said. “This legislation is about standing up for girls and women in our state and saying, ‘never in Michigan.’”

SBs 337-338 now head to the full Senate for consideration.

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***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Senate committee to take up bills outlawing female genital mutilation

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will be taking up legislation to ban the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan.

Who:
Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge;
Dr. Lori Post, Ph.D., associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine and incoming director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at Northwestern University;
Committee members; and
Concerned citizens.

When:
Tuesday, May 2 at 3 p.m.

Where:
Binsfeld Office Building
Room 1300
201 Townsend St.
Lansing

What:
Senate Judiciary Committee will be taking up Senate Bills 337 and 338, which would ban the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan. The bills would make the practice a felony crime punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, FGM refers to cutting and other procedures that injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The department states federal law prohibits anyone in the country from knowingly circumcising, excising or infibulating the genitals of any child under 18 years of age. Michigan would join at least 24 other states that have laws prohibiting the procedure.

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