Zorn reintroduces local public safety and justice bills

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn has reintroduced legislation to help local communities fill first responder and public safety positions and to give county prosecutors greater ability to seek justice on behalf of their residents.

“My first bill of this term would allow more local public servants help save lives in their communities,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “In the 1990s, many small, rural townships in Michigan faced decreasing numbers of candidates for volunteer firefighters or EMTs. The problem was aggravated by the fact that board members — who were trained and willing to serve — could not be considered.

“Although the law was changed in 1992 to provide more flexibility, townships just above the population limit are now having the same issues in finding enough first responders and police officers to protect the public.”

Senate Bill 19 would enable local governments with up to 40,000 residents to have board or council members serve the local government as EMTs, firefighters, police officers or public safety officers. Currently, public servants of a township, city, village or county with a population of 25,000 or more cannot serve in those roles for that community.

Zorn also reintroduced to bills to allow a 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.

“As we continue to battle the growing epidemic of opioid addiction, we need to give prosecutors more tools to punish drug dealers,” Zorn said. “I have worked with the Monroe County prosecutor’s office and law enforcement across the state on this commonsense legislation.”

The bills are the result of a case involving the heroin-overdose death of a man in Monroe County in 2016. The cause of death was toxicity from fentanyl, which is sometimes used by dealers as a cutting agent to make 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.

SBs 20 and 21 would broaden the potential for prosecution of delivery of a controlled substance causing death to three possible venues: The county where the drugs were delivered, the county where the drugs were consumed, or the county where the victim died from using the drugs.

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Zorn introduces Physical Therapy Licensure Compact bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn has introduced legislation to have Michigan join the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact.

“The goals of this initiative are to help better meet the needs of Michigan residents and increase access to physical therapy care — while still protecting patients,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “If Michigan joins the compact, licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in good standing would be able to help patients in other member states without having to go through a lengthy licensure process.”

Senate Bill 22 would enter Michigan into the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact, which gives the option for eligible physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) to obtain a “compact privilege” in other participating states.

To be eligible for the “compact privilege,” the PTs and PTAs must hold a valid, current, and unrestricted license in their home state; have no disciplinary action during the previous two years; and meet any jurisprudence requirements of the other participating states.

“Although 21 states have joined the compact, Michigan would be the first Great Lakes state,” Zorn said. “Ideally, Ohio would need to follow our lead if we join the compact. That would enable Michigan physical therapists to help patients across the border in Ohio and allow physical therapists in Ohio to help patients in Monroe and Lenawee counties.”

Zorn said the compact does not change the scope of practice of PTs and PTAs in any state. Any PT or PTA working in a state under a compact privilege would be required to follow the practice law of that state.

SB 22 has been referred to the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee for consideration.

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Sen. Zorn announces committee assignments

LANSING, Mich. — In his second term, Sen. Dale Zorn will continue to lead the Senate Local Government Committee and add new responsibilities of serving on three Senate Appropriations subcommittees.

“I look forward to continuing to put my more than three decades of local government experience to work to help improve our communities, our economy and the lives of Michigan residents,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We achieved much last term to improve efficiency and effectiveness, and I will continue to work with our local leaders to develop innovative solutions to local challenges.”

Zorn will also serve on the committees on Regulatory Reform and Families, Seniors, and Veterans.

In addition to the policy committees, Zorn will serve on the Appropriations subcommittees for Capital Outlay, Transportation, and Universities and Community Colleges.

“The work of these subcommittees will help us fix the roads, support our community colleges and public universities, and invest in needed infrastructure like the new armory in Dundee,” Zorn said. “The committee assignments will enable me to continue to stand up for our veterans, protect our children and seniors, and support our jobs providers.

“It’s time to work together to keep our eight years of positive momentum on track and build a better future for all Michigan residents.”

A full list of Senate committees and their memberships will be available online later this week at http://www.senate.michigan.gov/committee.html.

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**PHOTO ADVISORY** Zorn sworn in for second term as 17th District state senator

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, was sworn in for a second term as senator for the 17th District on Wednesday during a ceremony at the state Capitol. Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen J. Markman administered the oath of office.

Zorn was joined on the Senate floor by his wife Cindy, son Skylar Lyon, daughter-in-law Dori, and grandchildren Noah, Nathan and Nolan.

“I am deeply honored to continue to serve the great people of Monroe and Lenawee counties as their state senator,” Zorn said. “We have achieved much to improve our state, yet there is still work to do. I look forward to working with new leaders to find common ground and come together to continue Michigan’s comeback.”

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

Video of the ceremony will be available at www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Video.

Sen. Dale Zorn scores perfect voting record in first term

LANSING, Mich. — During Sen. Dale Zorn’s first term in the Michigan Senate, the Senate recorded 3,112 roll call votes and Zorn made sure to cast a vote on every single one of them.

“The people of Monroe and Lenawee counties sent me to Lansing to be their voice in the state Senate,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “At the foundation of that duty is being at work each day and casting votes on legislation. I take the responsibility that has been entrusted in me seriously, and I am proud to have never missed a vote.”

Zorn did not miss any of 1,043 roll call votes in 2018. He also had perfect voting records all four years of his service in the House of Representatives from 2011 through 2014.

In total, Zorn has not missed a single vote of more than 5,900 roll call votes during his eight years in the Legislature.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve on behalf of the hardworking men and women of Michigan’s 17th Senate District,” Zorn said. “As they go to work each day, I believe they deserve the same dedication from their elected officials.”

According to information on MichiganVotes.org, Michigan’s senators and representatives recorded a total of 2,089 roll call votes in 2018.

Zorn was one of 10 senators and 80 representatives who voted in 2018 and did not miss any votes during the year.

A full recording of missed votes is available at www.MichiganVotes.org/MissedVotes.aspx.

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Zorn’s border community jobs bill headed to the governor

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to help attract new business investment to the state’s border communities is now on its way to the governor’s desk.

“This legislation will give our border communities an equal opportunity to compete for jobs,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “There is one simple goal with this reform: To encourage businesses that want to create jobs — by building new facilities or expanding their operations — to do so here in Michigan instead of across the border.”

Michigan provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to qualified businesses that make investments in Michigan or provide “qualified new jobs” in the state. Currently, a “qualified new job” means a job performed by an individual who is a Michigan resident.

Senate Bill 40 would expand the “qualified new job” definition to include every job at a business project located in Michigan, as long as the business certified in writing at the time of disbursement that at least 75 percent of its employees are Michigan residents.

“Those of us who live and work along state borders know our communities are interconnected with our neighbors to the south, with many people living in Michigan and working in Ohio and vice versa,” Zorn said. “The current law puts interconnected border communities at a disadvantage, because businesses looking to invest here cannot guarantee that they will be able to fulfill the ‘qualified new jobs’ requirement with Michigan residents, and they cannot count the employees they might bring into the state.

“This reform will especially promote Monroe and Lenawee counties with more business and industry investments as well as job opportunities.”

SB 40 now heads to the governor to be signed into law.

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Zorn school safety bill sent to governor

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to help keep students safe is on its way to the governor to be signed into law.

“Michigan children deserve to have safe schools to learn and succeed — and the school safety hotline has done a fantastic job in helping protect students and save lives,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Michigan’s OK2SAY program is a 24-hour-a-day hotline that gives students a safe and confidential way to report suspicious or threatening behavior.”

OK2SAY enables students to report tips by phone, text message, and email, and through a website or an app. In 2017, the program received 4,605 tips, an increase of 37 percent from 2016.

“In real time, OK2SAY connects tip providers to the state police, who assess the situation and then refer the information to the appropriate school officials or law enforcement,” Zorn said. “My legislation will ensure the state police always have an emergency contact at a school who can receive information about threats at any time and take any necessary action to prevent a tragedy.”

Senate Bill 991 would require, at least twice a year, a governing body of a school to provide the state police with the current emergency contact information for a school official who would receive information submitted through the state school safety hotline — and any accompanying analysis of a potential threat — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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

SB 982 would create the Office of School Safety within the state police to update school safety practices, offer staff training and oversee use of school safety grants. SB 983 would require schools to conduct a safety assessment with local law enforcement by the 2019-20 school year and at least every two years thereafter.

Additional measures in the finalized school safety plan include:
• Requiring schools to report attempted acts of violence on school grounds;
• Developing statewide training standards for active-violence situations in schools;
• Ensuring schools work with local law enforcement on new construction or upgrades to school buildings;
• Permanently extending the OK2SAY program;
• Allowing school boards to discuss safety plans in closed-door meetings;
• Creating the School Safety Commission within the state police and requiring the commission to establish school safety metrics and review them regularly; and
• Requiring schools to designate a school safety liaison to work with the commission.

SBs 882, 982-983 and 990-991 and House Bills 5828-5829 and 5850-5852 now head to the governor to be signed.

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Zorn applauds MDOT grant for road work in Tecumseh

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn announced that the city of Tecumseh will receive a $369,234 grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation for work on South Evans Street.

“This transportation economic development grant will help improve safety and the economy in Tecumseh and all of Lenawee County,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “By enhancing and maintaining our roads and bridges, we can better ensure the safety of Michigan drivers and their passengers while supporting local businesses and attracting new job providers to Michigan.”

The Transportation Economic Development Fund Category F grant was awarded to Tecumseh to resurface South Evans Street between Russell Road and West Chicago Boulevard. The project also includes making curb and gutter repairs, improving drainage, and constructing sidewalk ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

South Evans Street is part of an important north-south commercial route connecting Tecumseh to the city of Adrian to the south and the village of Clinton to the north. The roadway also provides access to Tecumseh’s industrial park on the south side and M-50 and US-12 to the north.

The $461,543 project will receive $369,234 from the state and $92,309 in matching funds from the city of Tecumseh.

“These competitive grants are dedicated to preserving and expanding all-season road networks within the urban areas of rural counties,” Zorn said. “The project received one of 10 grants statewide that will use $3.1 million in Category F funds for upgrading roads in urban areas to help keep Michigan open for business year-round.”

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Zorn hospice drug disposal bill heading to the governor

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Rick Snyder could soon sign Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to help combat opioid abuse by allowing hospices to help patient families safely dispose of excess prescription drugs. The Senate sent the bill to the governor on Thursday.

“This is about putting in place clear guidelines for how hospices can help grieving families safely dispose of unused prescription drugs after a loved one has passed away,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “At the heart of the opioid epidemic that’s devastating our state and communities is the easy access to highly addictive drugs.

“This legislation targets the issue of safely destroying unused medications of patients receiving hospice care, and I look forward to seeing the governor sign the bill.”

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.

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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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