Bill to protect Michigan residents ready for governor’s signature

LANSING—Legislation that would help protect Michigan law enforcement agencies from violating the Constitution has been approved by the Legislature and is ready for Gov. Snyder’s signature, said sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones.

Senate Bill 94 would prohibit state and local officials from aiding the federal government in the detention of a U.S. citizen if charges are not brought. The National Defense Act allows the federal government to detain people for an unlimited time without charges being brought against them. Many other states are asserting 10th Amendment rights and passing laws to prevent their law enforcement officials from participating in an unconstitutional act.

“Today, the Michigan Legislature stands historically with the senators from 1855,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge

In 1855 Michigan stood against the federal Fugitive Slave Act. The liberty law was passed and gave escaped slaves habeas corpus and trial by jury.

“Today, we are saying that if the federal government grabs a citizen off the street and holds him against his will without charges, we will not assist with that unconstitutional act,” Jones added. “I would like to thank everyone who was involved in passing this bill, especially Representative Tom McMillin who helped move this bill through the house.”

The bill was supported by both the American Civil Liberties Union and Tea Party groups.




Bridge Card reforms bound for governor’s desk

LANSING—A package of legislation that seeks to puts restrictions on how Bridge Cards can be used at liquor stores, horse racing tracks and gentlemen’s clubs has been approved by the Michigan Legislature and is on the way to the governor for his signature, said sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones.

“This is a positive step in the right direction to making sure Bridge Cards are being used for their intended purpose—providing the basic necessities to get by,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Last year, Jones sponsored legislation that banned cash withdrawals from Bridge Cards in casinos. Earlier this year, Jones was alerted that Bridge Cards were being used in gentlemen’s clubs and liquor stores, and he introduced legislation to stop this practice.

The six-bill package will prohibit cash withdrawals at horse racing tracks and place a provision on a liquor store’s liquor license to prohibit the use of a Bridge Card at the point of sale. Under this change a liquor license would be revoked if a liquor store does not comply with the policy. Bridge Cards will still be accepted at grocery stores.

“I challenge anyone to argue that lap dances and trips to the race track are basic necessities,”Jones said.

A bill passed last year by the federal government says that states must comply with new guidelines in order to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grants, including preventing assistance provided under the state program from being used in any EBT

transaction in liquor stores, gaming establishments or any retail establishment that provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe.

If no change is made, a penalty equal to up to 5 percent of the block grants will be deducted beginning in 2014, which could amount to roughly $40 million in funding losses for the state.

“I would like to thank state Representative Margret O’Brien of Portage and Representative Dale Zorn of Ida for all of their hard work on this issue,” Jones said. “They both played major roles in helping to pass this measure.”



Jones bill to end expansion of nude bars in Michigan

LANSING—Legislation was recently introduced in the Michigan Senate that would maintain the status quo in Michigan bars and stop the expansion of alcohol being served in bars with fully nude dancers, said sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones.

“I don’t believe that the founding fathers of this country intended constitutional protection of nude bar entertainment,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This bill will keep the status quo in Michigan and stop expansion into full nude entertainment in bars that serve alcohol. We spend millions of dollars on the ‘Pure Michigan’ image as a good state for family vacations. I do not want Michigan to become like Nevada.”

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court ruled that Michigan’s bar rules banning full nudity were unconstitutional. For many years full nudity and alcohol have been banned in Michigan. After the ruling, a Lansing bar chose to expand to have fully nude dancer entertainment.

Jones checked with the attorney general’s office and was advised that both the city of Grand Rapids and the state of North Carolina have laws that have been tested and found to be constitutional. Jones had the bill drafted to reflect this and today introduced Senate Bill 706.