Abortion bill clears Senate Judiciary committee

Abortion bill clears Senate Judiciary committee

LANSING— Legislation which would increase safety standards at abortion clinics and put measures in place to help prevent coercive abortions was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, said state Sen. Rick Jones, chairman of the committee.

“There has been a lot of misunderstanding surrounding this bill, and I believe that some of it was cleared up today,” said Jones, R- Grand Ledge. “This is common-sense legislation that requires abortion clinics in Michigan to have a license and be safe and clean.  It regulates coercive abortion and requires that the aborted babies be properly cremated. We cannot have any more clinics like the one in Delta Township. that threw 17 babies into a common garbage dumpster. We license tattoo parlors, junk yards, and used car lots – certainly abortion clinics should be licensed and clean.”

House Bill 5711 now advances to the full Senate for consideration.



Jones measure would create ‘do not call list’ specifically for robo calls

Jones measure would create ‘do not call list’ specifically for robo calls

LANSING—Families would be able to say no to political robo calls under legislation soon to be introduced in the Michigan Senate, said sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones.

Senate Bill 1228 would create a “do not call list” for automated telephone calls from politicians. 

“Robo calls are disruptive, and they always seem to come at dinnertime or in the middle of a ball game” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “If a candidate or volunteer wants to contact a voter directly, this measure will not prevent them from doing so. This legislation simply gives citizens a choice whether or not they want to receive automated phone calls.”




Sen. Jones renews call for performance bonds on state technology projects

Sen. Jones renews call for performance bonds on state technology projects

Lansing— In March, state Sen. Rick Jones introduced Senate Bill 1011, which calls for performance bonds on large technology projects proposed by the state of Michigan.

SB 1011 would call for all new contracts $2 million or greater to be subject to performance bonds.

“This measure is intended to restore efficiency and effectiveness to state sponsored computer projects,” said, R-Grand Ledge. “Performance bonds are already common practice for federal, state and local road and building projects. I am simply trying to make sure that results are being met. The bonds are unbiased and will increase accountability.”

An auditor’s report released on Thursday shows the Department of Technology, Management and Budget mismanaged a decade-old computer project for the secretary of state that has cost taxpayers $50 million and still isn’t finished.

“I introduced this legislation in order to prevent waste like this from happening,” Jones said. “A former unnamed official in the secretary of state’s office approved unauthorized payments to the contractor. In my opinion, these unauthorized payments may be criminal in nature, and I will ask the attorney general for an investigation.”

Examples of state of Michigan computer projects from the last eight years:

  • “Bridges”—Department of Human Services
    $58 million over budget and two years behind schedule
  • “Child support Enforcement System”—Department of Human Services
    $459 million dollar final cost (original contract cost 60 million) and $147 million in federal fines
  • “CHAMPS”—Department of Community Health
    $18 million lost during system cut-over
  • “E-Michigan”—The state’s primary web-portal
    $10 million over budget and two years behind schedule
  • “BAM—Department of State Business Applications Modernization $38 million dollars over budget and two years behind schedule, requiring the intervention of the Michigan Attorney General to get performance

 “Unfortunately the past administration’s accounting and contract controls were so out of control that we may never know how much money was wasted,” Jones said.

“Using the Department of Technology and Michigan Auditor General reports, I have found more than $400 million that could have been spent more effectively or was lost to federal fines. This legislation brings a common sense approach to major computer projects and will continue the Legislature’s commitment to accountability.



Governor signs Jones’ fireworks safety bill

LANSING—Fireworks vendors will face tougher sanctions for violating Michigan’s Fireworks Safety Act under legislation recently signed into law, said Sen. Rick Jones, the bill’s sponsor.

“Governor Snyder asked that we make stricter penalties for fireworks vendors not following the law, and I was happy to oblige,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Senate Bill 193, now Public Act 257 of 2012, was signed Monday by Gov. Rick Snyder after receiving bipartisan support in both legislative chambers.

The measure adds further definitions and increases penalties to the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act. Second and third offenses for unlicensed vendors have increased from $5,000 to $20,000 and $40,000, respectively. Selling consumer-grade fireworks to a minor, previously punishable by a fine of not more than $500, is now punishable by a $1,000 fine and a 90-day license suspension for a second offense.

“We need to get tough on unscrupulous fireworks dealers willing to break the law to increase profits,” said Jones. “For the safety of our communities, we are saying that only legitimate, licensed vendors approved by fire inspectors are welcome to sell fireworks.”

Boot camp program continues at MDOC

LANSING—The “boot camp” program will continue at the Michigan Department of Corrections, announced state Sen. Rick Jones, who sponsored legislation extending the program.

The program was scheduled to end on Sept. 30, but Gov. Rick Snyder signed Jones’ measure, Senate Bill 861, into law on Monday. Judges can sentence convicts to the program who can then earn their way out of prison.

The law strictly controls who may go into the program. Sex offenders and other violent criminals are not allowed.

“Some inmates can be turned into productive members of society through a strict ‘boot camp’ program. Continuing this program is estimated to save Michigan taxpayers up to $50 million a year,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “As a former sheriff I have witnessed the success of boot camp programs.”

Church invasion bill signed into law

Church invasion bill signed into law

LANSING— Legislation which increases the penalties for intentionally interrupting any religious service or obstructing individuals from entering any religious building was signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder last week, said Sen. Rick Jones.   

In 2008, approximately 20 people disrupted a worship service at Mount Hope Church in Delta Township. At this time, disrupting a religious service was a low level 90-day misdemeanor with a possibility of jail time and a fine of up to $500.

In light of the incident, Jones teamed up with state Rep. Deb Shaughnessy, R-Charlotte, to help pass House Bill 5560. Under the measure, first-time violators can receive up to 93 days imprisonment, a fine of not more than $1,000 and up to 100 hours of community service. A second offense would carry a penalty of up to 93 days imprisonment, a fine of not more than $5,000 and up to 200 hours of community service. 

"This week we will be celebrating Independence Day, and the freedom to worship is a right that Americans have died to protect,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “In Michigan and across America we must stand firm against any group that attempts to disrupt a religious service. I am hopeful that stricter punishment will deter anyone from interrupting a religious service. However, if it does not, I will go back to work and make it a felony.”