Jones, Schuitmaker introduce bills to protect children and water

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones on Wednesday introduced legislation that would require adequate testing of the drinking water in Michigan schools and other public places.

“Being the Great Lake State comes with great responsibility, and the health and welfare of Michigan residents is a top priority,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “We must all come together to ensure that all Michigan families are protected from drinking water contamination.”

Senate Bills 724-726 would allow the state to perform ample testing for drinking water in schools and enable a specialized task force to provide accountability through reviews of this testing.

“The crisis in Flint has brought to light concern that schools are not testing water that is brought in through municipal water systems,” Jones said. “These bills would require copper and lead testing at least once a year to make sure the drinking water does not exceed certain levels.”

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker is a co-sponsor of the three-bill package.

“This is about ensuring clean and healthy drinking water for our children — especially at school,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “It is time to act to ensure that Michigan residents can be confident that their drinking water is safe. These bills are one way to ensure proper oversight and accountability to make sure that nothing like the Flint water emergency happens again.”

SB 724 would require water suppliers of public and nonpublic schools to collect and test drinking water samples once a year for the presence of lead and copper. The Safe Schools Drinking Water Task Force would be created to review the Department of Environmental Quality’s water sampling and analysis protocols and also to recommend changes that would be productive to public health.

SB 725 would amend the Strategic Water Quality Initiatives Fund to allow funding for the sampling and analysis of water samples of public water suppliers under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

SB 726 would instruct a water supplier, prior to changing to a new water source to be used for the public water supply, to conduct a water analysis to ensure its safety.


Senate approves Jones’ bill to crack down on drivers under the influence of drugs

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday voted in support of legislation sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones to create a pilot program enabling certain law enforcement officers to conduct roadside saliva tests on motorists suspected of being under the influence of controlled substances.

“Drugged driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This legislation is about helping keep Michigan roads as safe as possible by making it easier for law enforcement to crack down on driving under the influence of a controlled substance.”

Under Senate Bill 207, a pilot program would run for a year in five counties that would be determined by the Michigan State Police (MSP). To be eligible for consideration in the program, counties must have at least one certified drug enforcement officer on duty.

Drivers in the participating counties who are stopped under reasonable cause would have their mouths swabbed to test saliva for the presence of a cannabis, opiates, cocaine and methamphetamine.

“The procedure is similar to that of a breathalyzer test for alcohol,” Jones said. “Most importantly, it can help get dangerous drivers off the road.”

After the pilot program concludes, MSP would be required to produce a report for the Legislature that indicates what counties were selected and why; the types of law enforcement agencies involved; and relevant data including the number of arrests and resulting convictions for driving under the influence of controlled substances as determined by the roadside tests.

Jones’ bill and SB 434, sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson, stem from an incident in the Upper Peninsula in which an apparently intoxicated driver high on marijuana caused a tragic accident.

The measures now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.


**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Jones welcomes Pastor Marc Livingston to Capitol for State of the State address

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, proudly welcomed Pastor Marc Livingston to the Capitol on Tuesday. Livingston serves as pastor at Chester Gospel Church in Charlotte and accompanied the senator for Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2016 State of the State address.

Jones represents the 24th Senate District, which includes Clinton, Eaton and Shiawassee counties and the northeastern quarter of Ingham County.

Editor’s note: The above photograph of Jones with Livingston is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at Click on “Photowire.”


***Media Advisory*** Sen. Rick Jones available for comments following State of the State address

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, will be available for comments following the governor’s State of the State address on Tuesday.

Sen. Rick Jones, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

Immediately following the address, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

By phone or at House Appropriations Room
Third Floor
State Capitol
Lansing, MI

Jones will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor during his presentation.

Please call Jones’s office at (517) 373-3447 prior to 5 p.m. on Jan. 19 to schedule an interview time with the senator.

For those contacting the office after hours and who would like comments from Jones after the address, please leave a phone number for the senator to call.


Senate approves Jones bill to create African American Affairs Commission

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to establish an African American Affairs Commission in the state.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has several commissions under its purview, including a Hispanic/Latino Commission, an Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, and a Council on Arab Chaldean American Affairs.

“Although African Americans account for nearly 15 percent of our state population, there is no commission in our state that is dedicated to protecting their rights and improving their lives,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I am proud that this initiative received overwhelming support by my Senate colleagues, and I will continue to work with the House and the governor to make this commission a reality.”

Senate Bill 90 would establish an African American Affairs Commission within the Department of Civil Rights.

“With a united, bipartisan voice, the Senate said that it is time that Michigan has a commission that would monitor, evaluate, investigate and advocate for the betterment of African Americans throughout our state,” Jones said.

SB 90 would also establish the Office of African American Affairs, which would include an Interagency Council on African American Affairs consisting of various state departmental directors and executives.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.


**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Jones welcomes Pastor Byrens to lead the year’s first Senate invocation

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, (left) proudly welcomed Pastor Stephen Byrens to the Michigan Senate on Wednesday. Byrens serves as pastor at the City on a Hill Community Church in Olivet and delivered the invocation before the start of the first Senate session day of 2016.


Editor’s note: The above photograph of Jones with Byrens is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at Click on “Photowire.”

Jones, Liberati form bipartisan Disabilities Awareness Caucus

Lt. Gov. Calley praises legislative efforts to address concerns

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones and Rep. Frank Liberati announced on Wednesday the formation of the Disabilities Awareness Caucus, a bipartisan, bicameral effort that will focus its attention on policy issues facing those with a disability.

“I serve as a board member of the Special Olympics Michigan. Many concerns of special needs children and adults have been brought to my attention over the years, and I hope to work on some of these concerns with this caucus,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge, a co-chair of the caucus.

“We have brought together a great group of legislators who will bring disability issues to the forefront of policy discussions in Lansing,” said Liberati, D-Allen Park, who will also serve as co-chair of the legislative caucus. “It is time we put words into action.”

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said, “People with disabilities deserve a chance to live self-determined, independent lives, but are often judged based on what they can’t do, instead of what they can. I’m pleased that Senator Jones and Representative Liberati are making opportunities for people with disabilities a priority by forming this caucus.”

Also named to the effort were: Sen. Margaret O’Brien, R-Portage; Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-Meridian Township; Rep. Hank Vaupel, R-Handy Township; and Rep. Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills.