Joining together to prevent crime

By Sen. Joe Hune
22nd Senate District

2012 marks the 29th Annual National Night Out, which is “America’s Night Out Against Crime,” and this year’s event is planned for Tuesday, Aug. 7.

According to the event organizers, National Night Out is the nation’s largest, annual crime prevention/safety event in the country. It involves more than 37 million people in 15,000 different communities from all fifty states.

Introduced in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch (a nonprofit, crime prevention organization that works in cooperation with thousands of crime watch groups and law enforcement agencies throughout the country), National Night Out is an event designed to heighten awareness and strengthen participation in local anticrime efforts.

This is a great chance for neighbors, communities, law enforcement agencies and local organizations to join forces and help prevent crime. In fact, any municipality, law enforcement agency, crime prevention organization, community group or neighborhood interested in participating can register for free.

Whether or not you register, you can take part by turning on your porch light or other outside lights or participate in a front porch vigil. Many cities and towns across the country celebrate National Night Out with a variety of special citywide and neighborhood events such as block parties, cookouts, parades, festivals, visits from local officials and law enforcement, safety fairs, and youth events. Any of these would be a great way to join the movement to help prevent crime.

The best way to help prevent crime is to know your neighbors and invest in your community. That’s exactly what an event like National Night Out promotes. I hope you decide to take part on Aug. 7.

For more information on the National Night Out or free registration material, please visit: www.nationalnightout.org or call1-800-NITE OUT.

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Sen. Joe Hune is chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. He represents the 22nd state Senate District, which includes Livingston and Shiawassee counties, and the southern part of Ingham County. The Ingham County portion includes Bunkerhill, Leslie, Stockbridge and Vevay townships, and the cities of Leslie and Mason.

Sen. Hune: Be on the lookout for scammers

LANSING — State Sen. Joe Hune is warning residents of the 22nd Senate District to be on the lookout for scammers claiming your utility bills will be paid through a new federal program. These claims are false.

In fact, utility companies across the state are warning their customers about this new scam, where consumers are contacted over the phone, door-to-door, via text message and through fliers.

“If someone comes to your door or calls you claiming that your utility bills will be paid by the federal government, do not give them your personal information,” said Hune, R-Hamburg Township. “Just like my dad said to me growing up, ‘If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.’”

According to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), the scammers claim that a special federal government assistance program authorized by President Barack Obama is applying payments to utility bills.

Victims are asked to provide their Social Security numbers or other personal identifying information in exchange for a bank routing number that will allegedly pay their utility bills.

“You should never, under any circumstance give your personal information, especially your financial account numbers or Social Security number, to someone who calls or solicits you over the Internet,” Hune said.

The MPSC advises anyone receiving calls from someone claiming to be with your utility company who pressures you for immediate payment or personal information to hang up and call the customer service number on your utility bill.

For more tips on preventing utility fraud, see the MPSC’s “Consumer Tips” at www.michigan.gov/documents/mpsc/mpsc-ca_utilityservicefraud_211946_7.pdf. You can also contact the Michigan Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at1-877-765-8388.

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Senate panel moves Hune’s bills to ensure public assistance recipients give back, are drug tested

LANSING — A Senate panel advanced legislation Wednesday to help ensure public assistance recipients are drug-free and giving back to their communities, said sponsor Sen. Joe Hune.

Senate Bills 904 and 905 (both introduced by Hune) and House Bill 5223 were approved by the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee.

HB 5223 would require public assistance applicants to submit to a drug test if their caseworker has a reasonable suspicion they may be abusing drugs. SB 904 establishes sanctions, treatment options and program reporting for individuals who test positive a second or subsequent time.

“If you require public assistance then you shouldn’t be wasting money on drugs, and hard-working Michigan taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund your habit,” said Hune, R-Hamburg Township. “We’re not asking public assistance anything not already required by most employers. Most job providers require potential employees to take a drug test and many more require employees to submit to random drug testing.”

SB 905 would require cash assistance recipients who are not exempt from the Jobs, Education and Training program to participate in community service.

“People benefitting from public assistance should do something to give back to the community that is providing them with a helping hand, and that is exactly what my bill does,” Hune said. “I am glad that these common sense reforms are moving forward. When it comes to drug testing, individuals using taxpayer money for assistance need to be held accountable for abusing it – period.”

The Family Independence Program requires families receiving assistance to work or undergo job training as a condition of receiving assistance.

SBs 904 and 905 and HB 5223 now advance to the full Senate for further consideration.

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