Zorn supports immediate school safety investments

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday supported a boost in current-year funding to make critical school safety improvements and help prevent school tragedies.

“We owe it to all Michigan children to ensure that they have a safe and productive environment to learn,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I voted for this important school safety funding to make sure our schools and communities have access to the resources they need to keep our children safe.”

The funding is included in Senate Bill 601, a supplemental appropriation bill for the current 2018 fiscal year. Grants would be available to public and nonpublic schools to purchase physical security equipment or a school safety assessment.

“While many schools already have acted to protect students, this measure would provide $15 million for grants for schools to make vital school security enhancements,” Zorn said. “This initiative would also provide $3 million for a statewide school emergency notification system that would be available to all Michigan schools.”

The system app would allow authorized users to call 911 while simultaneously providing alerts to school staff and area first responders via text message, email and push notifications.

SB 601 also features an additional $500,000 to promote Michigan’s OK2SAY hotline and $150,000 for the Michigan State Police to add staff for the program.

“OK2SAY is an effective, 24-hour hotline that gives students an easy and confidential way to speak up about threats or concerns,” Zorn said. “The program is working to protect our children and save lives, and I am proud to help raise student awareness of OK2SAY by doubling the promotion of the initiative.”

The bill is part of a comprehensive Senate school safety effort that includes Zorn’s bill to ensure law enforcement officers in Michigan have the training needed to effectively manage an active-shooter situation at a school.

Senate Bill 959 would require the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) to develop statewide training standards for active-shooter situations in schools.

“Training and preparation can save lives,” Zorn said. “When it comes to protecting our schools, it is critical that students, school staff and law enforcement all know what to do to prevent a tragedy and how to respond if a situation occurs.”

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Sen. Zorn welcomes Miss Monroe County Outstanding Teen to Michigan Capitol

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, welcomed Miss Monroe County Outstanding Teen 2017 Elizabeth Wirth of Ida to the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday. Wirth is autistic and her competition platform was “M.A.K.E. a Difference — Making Autism Known to Everyone.” She was at the Capitol to meet with Zorn and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley during National Autism Awareness Month.

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

Supporting federal Great Lakes restoration funding

The Great Lakes are the world’s largest surface freshwater system and provide clean drinking water to nearly 40 million people. It is our responsibility to protect this great natural resource, and the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is a critical part of that effort.

I was pleased the president signed a bipartisan budget agreement that includes vital funding to protect and improve the Great Lakes.

The GLRI supports important efforts to clean up toxic sites and restore natural habitat. It is also an essential resource for preventing the introduction of Asian carp into the Great Lakes and eliminating harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

Prior to passage of the budget agreement, I joined 63 members of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus (GLLC) in expressing support for the GLRI and urging Congress to continue fully funding the initiative.

In our letter, we noted that Congress passed legislation in 2016 authorizing the GLRI for five years at $300 million per year and urged the current Congress to follow through on that commitment.

The GLLC is a nonpartisan, binational organization of state and provincial legislators from eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces. The bipartisan group co‑signing the letter represented all eight states in the Great Lakes region.

Senate approves online voter registration bills

The Michigan Senate recently approved legislation to allow residents to register to vote online. This reform would help more people participate in the democratic process while maintaining safeguards against fraud.

Using technology to improve the voter registration options is good for everyone. It would save time for people registering to vote, and other states that have enacted similar reforms have seen reduced administrative costs and increased accuracy in the voter rolls.

Senate Bills 425-429 would direct the secretary of state (SOS) to develop and maintain an electronic voter registration interface that would allow residents to submit voter registrations on the SOS website.

To register to vote online, residents would need to have a valid driver’s license or a state personal identification card.

The electronic system would be required to transmit the application to the qualified voter file and be able to interact with the state personal identification card and driver’s license files for authentication.

At least 37 states have enacted some form of electronic voter registration law. Online voter registration would basically follow the same process as the current paper-based system. With proper verification measures in place, it can be a safe and secure way for residents to register to vote.

Sen. Zorn introduces school safety bill

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday introduced legislation to ensure law enforcement officers in Michigan have the training needed to effectively manage an active-shooter situation at a school.

“Our students deserve a safe place that enables them to learn and succeed,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “My legislation is about ensuring that every Michigan school and community takes the necessary steps to protect our students from senseless tragedy.”

The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) has a mandated Active Duty Firearm Standard for all law enforcement agencies in the state. Currently, that standard does not include responses to active-shooter situations in schools.

Senate Bill 959 would require MCOLES to develop statewide training standards for active-shooter situations in schools. The training would be required to at least include scenario-based instruction involving 360-degree security, formation training, building entry and coordination of rescue and first responder teams.

“Training and preparation can save lives,” Zorn said. “When it comes to protecting our schools, it is critical that students, school staff and law enforcement all know what to do to prevent a tragedy and how to respond if a situation occurs.

“This bill is part of a comprehensive Senate effort to enact commonsense, effective solutions to keep our students safe.”

SB 959 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

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Zorn, Gregory sponsor bills to expand jurisdiction for drug cases causing death

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn and Sen. Vincent Gregory have introduced bipartisan legislation to allow a county prosecutor to bring charges in the drug-overdose death of a resident in the county, even if the illegal drugs were purchased in another county.

“This legislation is the result of a case involving the death of a Monroe County resident and would give prosecutors more tools to punish drug dealers,” said Zorn, R-Ida.

“As we continue to combat the opioid epidemic facing our state and local communities, we must crack down on the access to highly addictive illegal drugs,” said Gregory, D-Lathrup Village. “Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of death for Americans under 50 and will continue to be until we adopt aggressive and comprehensive policies.”

In a recent case titled, People v. McBurrows, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that charges of delivery of a controlled substance causing death can only be prosecuted in the county where the drugs were delivered.

The case arose from a heroin-overdose death of a man in Monroe County in 2016. An autopsy determined the cause of death was fentanyl toxicity. Fentanyl is sometimes used by heroin dealers as a cutting agent to make the heroin more potent.

The dealer was charged in Monroe County with one count of delivery of fentanyl causing death. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the Monroe Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction because the delivery of the drug occurred in Wayne County.

Senate Bills 951 and 952 would expand the law to broaden the potential for prosecution of delivery of a controlled substance causing death to three possible venues: The county where the drugs are delivered, the county where the drugs are consumed by the victim, or the county where the victim died from using the drugs.

“I have worked with the Monroe County prosecutor’s office on this commonsense legislation,” Zorn said. “If someone in Monroe County is killed by drugs bought someplace else, the county prosecutor should be able to seek justice in Monroe County.”

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**PHOTO & VIDEO ADVISORY** Zorn welcomes Pastor Ellis to Capitol for Senate invocation

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, welcomed the Rev. Josh Ellis to the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday. Ellis serves as senior pastor at New Life Church in Petersburg and delivered the invocation before Senate session.

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

Video of Ellis’ invocation is available by clicking here or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Video.

Zorn announces April office hours in Adrian and Monroe

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn has announced that he will conduct district office hours in Adrian and Monroe this month.

Office hours are open to residents to express their opinions or concerns about state government or to request assistance with a state issue. No appointment is necessary.

The Adrian office hour will be held on Monday, April 23 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Adrian District Library, 143 E. Maumee St., in Adrian.

The Monroe office hour will be held on Monday, April 30 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Ellis Library & Reference Center, 3700 S. Custer Road in Monroe.

“I am holding these local office hours in order to help provide residents a convenient opportunity to meet with me in person,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “My aim is to provide the best service possible for the hardworking people of the 17th District. I look forward to continuing a regular series of meetings throughout the district and hearing directly from constituents in one-on-one discussions.”

Residents who are unable to attend the office hours may contact Zorn’s office at (517) 373-3543 or via e-mail at SenDZorn@senate.michigan.gov.

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