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.


Zorn, education leaders discuss ways to reduce need for remedial math courses

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Educational leaders from school districts covering Monroe and Lenawee counties, Jackson College, Monroe Community College, Michigan State University, and the University of Texas joined Sen. Dale Zorn for a math summit on Oct. 26 to bridge the gap between high school and college-level curriculums and end the need for remedial courses.

“Our goal is to improve partnerships and better align the curriculum at our K-12 schools with the math expectations at our community colleges, so when students graduate, they can jump right in to earning a certificate or degree and not have to take remedial classes,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We all know that education is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, but we must find a solution that works for everyone.

“Remedial courses cost students more money and more time. Most importantly, they result in many remedial students becoming frustrated and dropping out.”

When entering college, students usually take a math placement exam. Students whose scores do not meet minimum requirements must take remedial classes to get caught up. Tuition is charged for these remedial college classes, and students usually do not receive credit for them toward graduation.

In Michigan, over 27 percent of students entering college the year after graduating from high school needed to take remedial classes in the 2015-16 academic year. In math, it was 21.3 percent.

The summit was spearheaded by Zorn and held at the Monroe County Community College (MCCC) La-Z-Boy Center. Educators from the Addison, Adrian, Airport, Bedford, Blissfield, Britton Deerfield, Clinton, Dundee, Hudson, Ida, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Onsted, Sand Creek, Summerfield, Tecumseh and Whiteford schools were among those at the summit. Officials from the Lenawee and Monroe County intermediate school districts, Jackson College and MCCC also participated.

“We discussed a wide variety of innovative and different pathways for better preparing our students,” Zorn said. “The possible solutions included incorporating more career-based mathematics in the curriculum and developing a high school transition course for students who are not ready for college math — ensuring students meet college benchmarks and ending the need for remedial courses.”


***MEDIA ADVISORY*** Zorn hosting math summit with education leaders from Monroe and Lenawee counties

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn will host a math alignment summit on Friday, Oct. 26 with educational leaders from 18 local school districts, Jackson College, Monroe Community College, Michigan State University, and the University of Texas.

Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida;
Superintendents, principals and math teachers from 18 school districts covering Monroe and Lenawee counties;
Officials from Jackson College and Monroe County Community College;
Officials from the Lenawee and Monroe County intermediate school districts;
Experts from the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin; and
Pavel Sikorski, MSU co-director of undergraduate studies.

A summit spearheaded by Zorn to study and discuss ways to improve partnerships between area schools and community colleges to reduce the need for remedial education.

Friday, Oct. 26
9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Monroe County Community College
La-Z-Boy Center Building
1555 S. Raisinville Road

Last year, Zorn and local education leaders studied ways to enhance the collaboration of area schools and community colleges to reduce the need for remedial education. The summit is an effort to build on that work with local, regional, state and national experts.


**PHOTO ADVISORY** Governor signs Trooper Jones memorial highway bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, joined the daughter of the late Michigan State Police Trooper Calvin Jones on Tuesday for a bill signing ceremony with Gov. Rick Snyder for Zorn’s legislation to designate a portion of M-52 from Carleton Road to the Ohio border as the Trooper Calvin R. Jones Memorial Highway. Jones was the first state trooper to be killed in the line of duty in Lenawee County.

Jones’ daughter Patricia Rowley and her husband Claude Rowley attended a Senate committee meeting in February in support of Zorn’s bill. Lenawee County Commissioner Jim Driskill knew Trooper Jones, who was a close friend of his father, and testified in support of the measure.

Pictured with Snyder from left: Zorn, Patricia Rowley, Claude Rowley, Sgt. Matt Williams, and Driskill.


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

Senate panel approves bipartisan bills to expand jurisdiction for drug cases causing death

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn and Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Lathrup Village, 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.

“As Michigan and the entire nation continues to battle the growing epidemic of opioid addiction, this commonsense legislation would give prosecutors more tools to punish drug dealers,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “We have worked with the Monroe County prosecutor’s office and with law enforcement officials from across the state to craft this reform and give county prosecutors the ability to seek justice on behalf of their residents.”

Assistant Attorney General Bill Rollstin, who leads Attorney General Bill Schuette’s Opioid Trafficking and Interdiction Unit, testified in favor of the legislation. Rollstin has an extensive background in prosecuting drug-related crimes, and as of August 2018, the unit has investigated and prosecuted cases from 24 Michigan counties.

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.

“We had a case dismissed because of this exact issue; drugs sold in Ingham County were consumed in Jackson County and caused a death,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jerry Jarzynka, who also testified during the committee hearing. “So, had this been the law, venue would not have been an issue in prosecuting this drug dealer.”

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.


Zorn sponsors Michigan Trails Week resolution

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday adopted a resolution sponsored by Sen. Dale Zorn to declare Sept. 22-29 as Michigan Trails Week.

“With more than 12,500 miles of designated land trails and 4,280 miles of locally designated water trails, Michigan is truly the nation’s leading trail state,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “I was proud to sponsor this resolution to celebrate Michigan trails and commemorate all the work being done by local and state governments and nonprofit organizations throughout the state to increase the opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy our state’s spectacular natural resources.”

Senate Resolution 182 states that Michigan hosts more than 5,000 miles of hiking trails designed for walkers, hikers, trail runners and other outdoor enthusiasts to explore the state’s natural areas.

SR 182 also notes that the state is known as one of the top states for mountain biking, with an unmatched diversity of trail systems and over 1,600 miles of natural surface trails.

“Michigan’s trail system can play a significant role in strengthening our economy, supporting thousands of jobs and providing families with a low-cost and accessible way to improve their health while enjoying the outdoors,” said Zorn, vice-chairman of the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee. “I encourages Michigan residents to get out and discover the amazing trails throughout Michigan and right in our own communities.”


House approves Zorn bill enhancing ‘move over’ law

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation that would require drivers to slow down and move over when approaching a vehicle with amber flashing lights.

“Stopping on the side of a road or highway and getting out of a vehicle is dangerous and even deadly,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “That is why Michigan already requires drivers to take safety precautions in construction areas and when passing a stopped police car or ambulance with their lights on.

“This reform would increase safety and save lives by forcing drivers to take the same care around vehicles with amber flashing lights, such as a utility vehicle or tow truck.”

Drivers in Michigan are currently 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.

Senate Bill 477 would add vehicles with flashing amber lights to the current law and require drivers to slow down by a least 10 miles per hour when approaching and passing a stopped emergency vehicle.

Zorn said that in 2017 a tow truck driver on I-94 near Ypsilanti was hit by a van while assisting a disabled vehicle. The tow truck was parked on the shoulder with its amber emergency lights on.

“Tow truck drivers should not have to risk serious injury or death when they are helping a stranded motorist on a highway,” Zorn said. “The message is clear: 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.”


Zorn applauds addition to Petersburg State Game Area

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn announced that the Joint Capital Outlay Subcommittee on Wednesday approved a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) request to acquire 72 acres of land adjacent to the Petersburg State Game Area in Monroe County.

“The Petersburg State Game Area is a prime example of how we can successfully restore critical habitat for wildlife conservation and public enjoyment,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This land would be managed by the DNR for the benefit of waterfowl and funded by the sale of waterfowl hunting licenses.

“This is exactly the type of wildlife conservation efforts that Michigan hunters and anglers support by buying fishing and hunting licenses and outdoor sporting equipment and gear.”

Funds for the acquisition would come from previous capital outlay appropriations from the Waterfowl Hunt Stamp Sub-Fund within the Game and Fish Protection Fund. The sub-fund is restricted to acquiring, restoring or enhancing wetlands and other lands for the benefit of waterfowl.

The 484-acre Petersburg State Game Area is home to a unique ecosystem of widely spaced mature oak trees and shrubs that once flourished in southern Michigan.

“In addition to providing a great public place for our sportsmen and sportswomen to hunt, Petersburg is the only place in Southeast Michigan where families can see the rare Karner blue butterflies,” Zorn said. “With this addition, the game area will offer even more opportunities for residents and tourists to enjoy Michigan’s great outdoors.”


Zorn introduces duck hunting clarification bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn on Wednesday introduced legislation to clarify that duck hunters in Michigan can hunt from a motorboat as long as the motor isn’t running and the boat has stopped moving forward.

“Duck hunting is a popular sport in southeast Michigan and across the state,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Unfortunately, some of the policies and laws concerning duck hunting are confusing. Currently, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) allows duck hunting from a motorboat if the motor is off and the boat has stopped, yet Michigan law actually bans hunters from having a loaded weapon in a motorized boat.

“My bill would clear up this contradiction by changing the law to mirror current DNR policy.”

Senate Bill 1120 would revise the state law to reflect an existing Wildlife Conservation Order. Under the bill, the law would be changed to allow waterfowl hunters to hunt “from a motorized boat if the boat’s motor has been completely shut off” and its “forward progress has ceased.”

SB 1120 would also allow for easier transportation of hunting weapons on private property.

Zorn’s bill is part of a legislative package requested by Attorney General Bill Schuette to protect the rights of Michigan hunters and private property owners and make Michigan a more attractive hunting destination.

In addition to Zorn’s bill, the package would also:
• Preserve the right to hunt and fish in Michigan;
• Encourage the Natural Resources Commission to review the state’s turkey licensure process and lottery program; and
• Have Michigan join Indiana and Ohio in requiring written permission to hunt or fish on private land.

“Hunting plays a key role in the way of life for many Michigan families and contributes more than $2 billion to Michigan’s economy each year,” Zorn said. “This proactive legislation is about clarifying and improving our hunting laws, maintaining our wildlife conservation system and protecting our outdoor traditions for generations to come.”


Zorn offers Back-to-School information online

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Dale Zorn announced on Wednesday that he is offering parents an online Back-to-School report that includes information on school funding, school safety and more.

“As Michigan children begin another school year, it is important that they are able to learn the tools necessary to seize new opportunities and meet any challenges and that they feel safe — and are safe — at school,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Education remains a top priority, and we once again have increased school funding to record levels to help prepare students for success and keep them safe.

“In addition to information on those steps, the back-to-school report features materials on Michigan’s OK2SAY confidential tip line — including a card-sized cut-out that details how students, parents and educators can help prevent school tragedies.”

Zorn’s 2018 Back-to-School report can be downloaded as a PDF at www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Publications.

OK2SAY is a confidential reporting system designed to allow Michigan students, parents, school employees, health officials and law enforcement officers to share and respond to safety threats.

Students can report tips by calling 1-8-555-OK-2-SAY (65-2-729), texting a message to 652729, emailing ok2say@mi.gov or filling out a form at www.mi.gov/ok2say. An app is also available in the app stores for iPhone and Android devices.