***PHOTO ADVISORY***Sen. Jones leaps into ‘Polar Vortex’

LANSING—State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, vaults into an ice-cold pool in front of the Capitol on Thursday. Jones and other legislators participated in the Legislative Polar Vortex Plunge in order to raise money for the Special Olympics.  Jones is a board member of the Special Olympics Michigan Committee and has been a volunteer at the summer games for many years.  In total $30,000 was raised for Special Olympics athletes. Jones was the only senator to take the plunge, while others contributed to the fund. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and members of the Michigan House also participated in the event. This was the fourth year in a row, Jones participated in the event.

“This was by far the coldest year, polar vortex has a whole new definition for me as of today” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “The work I do with the Special Olympics is some of the most rewarding work I do all year, and if jumping in a pool in subzero temperatures helps the cause I am more than happy to do it.”

‘R Word’ to be removed from Michigan Government

LANSING– Legislation that removes the “retarded” from any Michigan law is working its way through the Michigan Legislature, said state Sen. Rick Jones who sponsored one of the bills.

“As a board members and advocate for the Special Olympics I am passionate about helping those with special needs,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Retard is an offensive and insensitive word that has no place in our laws or government.”

The seven bill package has been introduced, and is currently in the Senate awaiting a vote.

“It really is horrible this archaic word still exists in our laws today,” Jones said. “This is a common sense bill that I hope receives unanimous support in both chambers.” 

Jones bill brings Michigan into compliance with U.S. Supreme Court ruling

LANSING—Thestate Senate on Wednesday passed legislation that brings Michigan into compliance with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding juveniles who commit murder, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Rick Jones.

“As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was my duty to bring Michigan law into compliance with the Supreme Court ruling,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

Senate Bill 319 requires state courts to follow the Miller v. Alabama factors. These include immaturity, impetuosity and failure to appreciate risks and consequences. This would apply to 14-, 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds tried as adults. Upon a conviction of murder, the judge can set the sentencing hearing at 25 to 60 years.

When signed into law, Jones’ bill will not be retroactive to those already sentenced unless the Michigan Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court makes that ruling in the future.

“I think it’s important to understand that families of the murdered victims are still suffering from these horrible crimes,” Jones said. “Some cases are so heinous that the individual should not ever be back in society.”

Jones cited one case of a juvenile who murdered a man because he wanted to see what it felt like. He then cut off the man’s head and took pictures of it before placing it in his car and driving around with it.

SB 319 now heads to the governor to be signed into law.


Senate approves Jones Resolution to keep the words ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance

LANSING—The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved a resolution, introduced by Sen. Rick Jones, recognizing the 60th anniversary of the words “under God” being added to the Pledge of Allegiance.

“By passing this resolution, we are honoring former Michigan legislators who worked to enshrine these words in our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “We want to ensure that these words remain the decree of our country.”

Senate Resolution 108 asks Congress to keep the words “under God” preserved in the nation’s Pledge. It recognizes that the words “under God” were inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance by a federal Joint Resolution that was introduced by Michigan natives, Congressman Charles Oakman, R-17th District, and U.S. Sen. Homer Ferguson, R-Michigan, before being signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Flag Day, June 14, 1954.  

Michigan Congressman Louis Charles Rabaut, D-14th District, submitted a resolution on April 20, 1953, to amend the Pledge of Allegiance with the words “under God.”  He was the first of many to introduce such similar legislation before it became law in 1954.

“These small yet powerful words, ‘nation, under God,’ were first spoken by President Abraham Lincoln during his Gettysburg Address. They gave our nation strength to persevere back then and are the thread that holds us together still today,” said Jones. “Congress must protect these words in our nation’s Pledge as a testament to our founding ideals.”

Jones worked on the resolution with Rep. Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, who introduced a similar measure in the Michigan House of Representatives