House committee OKs Zorn hospice drug disposal bill

LANSING, Mich. — The House Healthy Policy Committee on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to help combat opioid abuse by allowing hospices to help patient families safely dispose of excess prescription drugs.

“On a regular basis, we see the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic in our state and our local communities,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “At the heart of this ongoing crisis is the easy access to highly addictive drugs, and my bill targets the issue by allowing unused medications of patients receiving hospice care to be safely destroyed.”

Controlled substances prescribed to a hospice patient are the property of the patient or the patient’s family in the case of the patient’s death. Under current law, a hospice employee may not assist in disposal of the drugs.

Senate Bill 842 would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to implement rules for the disposal of controlled substances in the homes of hospice patients when drugs are not needed by the patient or the patient has died.

The bill also would require a hospice or a provider of hospice services in a patient’s private home to establish and implement a written controlled substance disposal policy.

The policies would need to include procedures for offering assistance in disposing controlled substances and recording the patient or the family’s decision on accepting or declining assistance, as well as requirements for witnessing the disposal and providing a patient or family with information on the safe disposal of prescription drugs.

“I thank the committee for their action and urge the House to pass this important legislation to establish clear guidelines for how hospices can help grieving families safely dispose of unused prescription drugs after a loved one has passed away,” Zorn said.

SB 842 now heads to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

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Zorn bill enhancing ‘move over’ law signed by governor

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Drivers in Michigan must slow down and move over when approaching an emergency vehicle with amber flashing lights after legislation sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn was signed into law by the governor on Thursday.

Senate Bill 477, now Public Act 349 of 2018, requires drivers to slow down by at least 10 miles per hour when approaching and passing a stopped emergency vehicle or a vehicle with flashing amber lights.

Drivers are already required to move over a lane to the left if there is a stationary authorized emergency vehicle with flashing red, blue or white lights on the side of the road. If the road does not have a passing lane, or if moving over is impossible, then a driver shall pass with due care and caution at a reduced and safe speed.

“This is a common sense law that will save lives,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Simply put, if you see a vehicle ahead with flashing lights — whether it’s a police car, fire truck or tow truck — slow down and, if possible, move over.”

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Zorn salutes area schools receiving safety grants

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Thursday congratulated area school districts that were recently awarded funds from the state’s Competitive School Safety Grant Program.

“Michigan children deserve to have safe schools where they can learn the skills they need to succeed and be productive citizens,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “While many schools have already made vital safety improvements, these competitive grants are part of a continuing effort to protect our students. In addition to this funding, the Senate has approved comprehensive, commonsense reforms to keep our students safe.”

The Legislature dedicated $25 million in the state budget to provide grants to improve the safety and security of school buildings through the purchase of technology and equipment and through school building safety assessments.

The funding was part of a $58 million investment in school safety initiatives, which also included support to improve access to mental health programs and enhance the state’s OK2SAY confidential tip-line program.

Schools in the 17th Senate District awarded grants by the Michigan State Police are:
• Clinton Community Schools District — $102,000
• Hudson Area Schools — $140,950
• Ida Public Schools — $55,043
• Monroe Public Schools — $168,583
• Onstead Community Schools — $187,610

A complete list of recipients is available at www.michigan.gov/cjgrants. Click on School Safety.

According to the Michigan State Police (MSP), 407 applications were reviewed by a committee that included representatives from the MSP, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools, school security personnel and the Executive Office of the Governor.

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