Senate passes legislation to ensure schools respect do-not-resuscitate orders

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sens. Rebekah Warren, D–Ann Arbor, and Rick Jones, R–Grand Ledge, on Tuesday announced the passage of three bills that give parents, guardians and schools guidance on do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders for minor children diagnosed with an advanced illness.

Senate Bill 784 amends the Michigan DNR Procedure Act to clarify the steps parents must follow to execute a DNR order on behalf of their child and the responsibility of the school district to honor their request. Until now, uncertainty and differing policies across districts about how to handle DNR orders for students have led to confusion and costly legal battles.

“Those who face this heartbreaking decision should have the assurance that educators will be allowed to respect the plan of care that their family and medical team have developed, no matter what school their child attends,” Warren said.

The three-bill package includes Senate Bills 827 and 786. SB 827 ensures all school staff who need to know about the DNR order are notified and provides legal protection for personnel who follow the order. SB 786 gives legal guardians the same rights as parents regarding whether a DNR order is appropriate for a child in their care.

“No parent or guardian should have to endure a costly legal battle to preserve their family’s wishes and the dignity of their child,” Jones said. “This legislative package helps schools know how to work with families and give them peace of mind.”

The bills require parents and guardians to provide a copy of the DNR order to the administrator of the school or facility where the child is a student, patient or resident. They also create a procedure to challenge and revoke a DNR order through the probate court system, should the family’s wishes change.

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Jones resolution honors 50th anniversary of district courts

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Tuesday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ resolution to declare June 2018 as the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Michigan district court system.

“The district court is often referred to as ‘The People’s Court’ because the public has more contact with it than with any other court in the state, due to the fact that many people go to district court without an attorney,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “From small civil infractions and traffic violations to misdemeanor criminal cases and civil wedding ceremonies, our district courts handle a wide variety of cases and issues.

“I sponsored this resolution to recognize the important role that our district courts play in our legal system and pay tribute to all the district judges and court officers for their hard work.”

Senate Resolution 173 states that legislation was passed and went into effect on June 17, 1968 to create Michigan’s district court system.

According to the resolution, district courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all civil claims for damages up to $25,000, including small claims, landlord-tenant disputes, land contract disputes and civil infractions. The court’s small claims division handles cases in which the amount in controversy is $5,000 or less, with the most common civil infractions being minor traffic matters, such as speeding or failure to stop.

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Senate approves Jones bill to cut auto insurance rates for seniors

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to reduce auto insurance rates for seniors in Michigan.

“Most seniors live on a fixed income and cannot afford Michigan’s skyrocketing auto insurance rates,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Our seniors have worked hard all their lives, and they deserve to have an option to choose a different auto insurance system they can afford and that works best for them. This legislation will do that without sacrificing necessary medical coverage in the case of an accident.”

In Michigan, when drivers turn age 65 and go on Medicare, their auto insurance rates go up because Medicare does not coordinate with Michigan auto insurance. Michigan’s auto insurance law includes unlimited coverage for catastrophic injuries with no cap. The other 49 states all have a cap.

Senate Bill 787 would allow Michigan residents age 65 or older the option to choose a capped auto-insurance policy. Seniors who opt for the limited coverage would see their catastrophic claims assessment drastically reduced. Medicare would cover remaining medical expenses after the $50,000 limit is reached.

The bill is tie-barred to SB 1014, which would make reforms to Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance law to help reduce costs and better protect customers in the state. It creates a new authority within the attorney general’s office to help investigate and reduce auto insurance fraud and caps benefits for people who have never paid into the no-fault system.

“I have supported auto insurance reform for 13 years for everyone,” Jones said. “As we try to make comprehensive auto insurance reform for everyone, a good place to start is helping reduce costs for our seniors.”

SBs 787 and 1014 now head to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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Jones introduces gun rental reforms

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones on Wednesday introduced a package of legislation strengthening the gun rental process.

Senate Bills 1044-1047 would establish stricter procedures to better ensure that those who are legally prohibited from owning or possessing a gun cannot obtain one.

“These reforms are in response to a tragedy in which an ex-boyfriend with a personal protection order against him rented a firearm from a gun range, walked away with the weapon, and then used that gun to murder his former girlfriend and end his own life,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “I have been working diligently on these bills to ensure we are taking necessary steps to prevent violent people from getting their hands on a firearm.”

Under the bills:
• In order to rent a handgun at a shooting range, an individual must have direct supervision of a range master or an instructor of a safety class. If an individual intends to rent a gun and go on the range alone then they must pass a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check, have a concealed pistol license (CPL), or have a permit to purchase a firearm.
• Federal firearm license (FFL) dealers would be required to notify law enforcement within one hour if someone attempts to purchase a gun and fails an NICS background check.
• CPL holders who have had their license suspended and fail to surrender it to the county clerk within 15 days, would be guilty of failing to do so and would be ineligible to get another CPL for three years.

“These are commonsense reforms that will help prevent senseless tragedies,” Jones said. “I thank the Michigan State Police for their interest and input in making our communities safer.”

SBs 1044-1047 were referred to the Senate Government Operations Committee for consideration.

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Senate committee OKs Jones’ school safety bill

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to help prevent violence in Michigan schools.

“We owe it to every Michigan student that we do everything we can to ensure they have a safe place to learn the skills needed to achieve the American dream,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “This legislation is about safer schools and safer kids. When it comes to protecting our students from harm, law enforcement needs to know about any credible threats against a school. This bill would require they get that type of information when possible.”

Senate Bill 1032 would require anyone who is required to report child abuse or child neglect under the child protection law to also report any credible threat against a school to a law enforcement agency.

Under the bill, a credible threat would be a threat that places a person or group in reasonable fear for their safety.

“Receiving critical information and responding accordingly can save lives,” Jones said. “As a result of my time as a sheriff and as a lawmaker, I know that information can prevent tragedy and even help troubled students get the help that they need.”

SB 1032 is supported by the Michigan Sheriffs Association, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and several education groups.

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Senate approves Jones’ bill banning marijuana-infused beer

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to pre-emptively prohibit marijuana-infused beer, wine and spirits.

“The sad truth is that cases of drugged driving are increasing on our roads, and drunk driving kills an average of one person every hour,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Although alcohol impairment remains our most serious road safety problem, we don’t need to be adding the effects of marijuana-infused beer to the situation.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination and reaction time. Marijuana is also the illicit drug most frequently found in the blood of drivers who have been involved in vehicle crashes, including fatal ones.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2016, an average of one death every 50 minutes.

Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia permit the recreational use of marijuana. Michigan is one of 29 states where the medical use of marijuana is permitted, and a new ballot initiative seeks to have voters legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Michigan.

Several states that permit the recreational use of marijuana have seen a rise of marijuana-infused alcohol products, such as Colorado and California.

Senate Bill 969 would ban the use, possession or sale of marijuana-infused beer, wine, mixed wine drink, spirit drink, or spirits in Michigan.

“Bar owners and bartenders already have a hard time judging when someone is intoxicated,” Jones said. “Considering that marijuana-infused foods can take an hour to kick in, allowing marijuana in beer could make that job nearly impossible — leading to dangerous results.”

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

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Jones’ handlebar height bill sent to governor

Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to allow higher handlebars on motorcycles in Michigan has been sent to the governor’s desk to be signed.

“Motorcycles have changed drastically over the years and customization is very popular among riders,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “One area where they are often doing so is with the height of the handlebars to offer a more enjoyable ride.”

Currently, Michigan law prohibits anything with a handlebar height over 15 inches (measured from the lowest point on the saddle to the highest point on the handlebars).

Senate Bill 568 would increase the maximum allowable height of handlebars on motorcycles and mopeds from 15 inches to 30 inches.

“This legislation could increase manufacturing and installation jobs in Michigan by allowing for additional rider customization that does not expose a safety hazard,” Jones said. “This bill would not allow the giant ‘ape hanger’ handlebars commonly seen in movies.

“I look forward to seeing the governor sign this measure and put Michigan on par with some of our neighbors concerning handlebar restrictions.”

In recent years, states like Wisconsin and Ohio have eased their restrictions. Some states have no height restriction at all.

Jones said the bill was brought to him by the group American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) after a member of the riding community proposed the idea.

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Senate panel OKs bill banning marijuana-infused beer

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Regulatory Reform Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved Sen. Rick Jones’ legislation to preemptively prohibit marijuana-infused beer in Michigan.

“Considering that drunk driving, on average, kills at least one person every hour, we have a big enough problem as it is — we don’t need to be adding marijuana-infused beer to the mix,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “Bar owners and bartenders are having enough trouble judging when someone is intoxicated. Adding the impact of marijuana in beer could be dangerous — especially when marijuana-infused foods can take an hour to kick in.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,497 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2016, an average of one death every 50 minutes.

Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia permit the recreational use of marijuana. Michigan is one of 29 states where the medical use of marijuana is permitted, and a new ballot initiative seeks to have voters legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Michigan.

Several states that permit the recreational use of marijuana have seen a rise of marijuana-infused alcohol products, such as Colorado and California.

Senate Bill 969 would ban the use, possession or sale of marijuana-infused beer, wine, mixed wine drink, spirit drink, or spirits in Michigan.

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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**Photo Advisory** Jones, Schuitmaker honored with 2018 legislative awards from Michigan Professional Fire Fighters

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, were honored on Tuesday with 2018 legislative awards by the Michigan Professional Fire Fighters Union (MPFFU) at its 53rd Biennial Convention in Bay City.

MPFFU President Mark Docherty presented the awards to Jones and Schuitmaker in recognition of their support of local firefighters.

“It was an honor to be recognized by men and women who are there for us in our time of need,” Jones said. “They always have our backs, and so we will always have their backs.”

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Editor’s note: The above photograph of Jones is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at www.SenatorRickJones.com/Photowire.

Bill would ban marijuana-infused beer

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones has introduced legislation to prohibit marijuana-infused beer in Michigan.

The products are already available in Colorado.

“Bar owners and bartenders have said that this would be a recipe for disaster,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “They have enough trouble judging intoxication levels now without adding the element of marijuana — especially when you consider that marijuana-infused foods can take an hour to kick in.”

Senate Bill 969 would ban the use, possession or sale of marijuana-infused alcohol in Michigan.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.

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