Sen. Jones donates 23rd gallon of blood as Red Cross faces critical blood shortage

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones made his 184th blood donation on Monday, eclipsing the 23-gallon mark for total amount donated.

“I am blessed with good health and happy that I am able to donate blood — especially right now as nationwide blood levels are critically low,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “About every two seconds, someone in America needs blood, and there continues to be a critical summer blood shortage. Donating blood is a fast, easy and relatively painless way to help save lives. I strongly encourage all healthy residents to join me in helping to save a life this year by giving blood. An hour of your day could mean the gift of life to someone in need.”

The American Red Cross in early July issued an emergency call for eligible blood and platelet donors of all blood types. Although thousands of people have responded to the call, blood products are still being distributed to hospitals as fast as donations are coming in, so more donations are needed to meet patient needs and replenish the supply.

To make an appointment or for more information, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit www.RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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Editor’s note: The above photograph of Jones donating in March 2013 is available by clicking on the image or at www.SenatorRickJones.com/Photowire.

Jones, Runestad introducing bills to eliminate state benefits to unmarried couples

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones and Rep. Jim Runestad are introducing legislation to ban health insurance benefits for domestic partners of state employees unless the couple is married.

“These benefits are supposed to help state employees provide health care to their families,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Unfortunately since Governor Granholm, unmarried people in Michigan have been allowed to receive state benefits like married couples — opening up the system to the possibility of unintended abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

State law currently allows benefits for domestic partners of state employees and their dependents as long as they live together.

The bills would prohibit the state from providing medical benefits for an individual currently living with a state employee unless the individual is married to the employee or a dependent of the employee.

“Children of state employees would still get health insurance under the bill; it only impacts benefits for the unmarried domestic partner,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “If you are a state employee with a girlfriend or boyfriend and you want them to get state benefits, then make a commitment and get married. If you want it, put a ring on it.”

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Governor signs Jones bill allowing ‘spring-assisted knives’

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to repeal the state’s ban on spring-assisted knives was signed into law on Thursday.

“This reform is not about double-edged stiletto knives commonly portrayed in old Hollywood movies,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This is about updating the law concerning spring-assisted knives, such as utility knives commonly carried by police officers and members of the National Guard.

“I sponsored this repeal to help prevent young people from going to jail for carrying a utility knife.”

Senate Bill 245, now Public Act 96 of 2017, repeals the section of Michigan law that makes the selling or possession of “spring-assisted knives” a misdemeanor in the state.

“Spring-assisted knives are not defined in the law. The section refers to a pocket knife opened by the flick of a button, but there are now many different knives that may or may not fall into this category,” Jones said. “Knives of this type are sold at major retailers throughout the state and are carried by many citizens.”

Jones said that many prosecutors and law enforcement officers in Michigan are not charging individuals with a crime for carrying these common knives, creating a patchwork of enforcement across the state.

The Michigan State Police supported the bill.

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Bills banning female genital mutilation signed

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed legislation to help end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Michigan.

“A strong message has been sent to the world that Michigan will not tolerate this attack on women and little girls,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “A recent case in Southeast Michigan, where little girls as young as 6 years old were mutilated by local doctors, was a disturbing act of barbarism and a violation of human rights.”

Senate Bills 337 and 338, sponsored by Sen. Margaret O’Brien and Jones, ban the practice of FGM in Michigan. SBs 368 and 369, sponsored by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker and Sen. Judy Emmons, ban the transportation of girls for an FGM procedure.

“Michigan will protect all girls and women from this horrific act,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “Female genital mutilation has no place in our state, and I am proud that Michigan stands with two dozen other states in outlawing this oppressive procedure that permanently devastates so many young lives.”

The bills are now Public Acts 70-73 of 2017 and make each crime a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“This barbaric procedure has no accepted health benefits and is only performed to exercise control over young women,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “We owe it to our girls to give law enforcement and prosecutors every available tool to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The new laws stemmed from a 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.

“The impact of the savagery we are fighting is tremendous,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “These traumatic procedures are usually performed without anesthetic, and victims can have ongoing psychological and physical health consequences, including infection, pain and even death.”

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.

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