November 12, 2014

Lamonte Urges Action on 'Jessica Heeringa Act' to Protect Late-Night Workers

Bill protects workers at gas stations and convenience stores

LANSING - State Representative Collene Lamonte (D-Montague) welcomed testimony taken today before the House Commerce Committee on House Bill 5189, also known as “The Jessica Heeringa Act” Law,” which would assist law enforcement officers in identifying and apprehending criminals who harm or threaten late-night workers at gas stations and convenience stores. Lamonte is also requesting urgent action to get the bill passed and signed into law before the year’s end.

“I was glad to give testimony today on how this bill would help save lives and bring those who harm or threaten late-night workers to justice, and I was encouraged that so many people turned up to support taking action on this bill,” Lamonte said. “But the truth is that we can’t stop now. We need immediate action to get this bill passed through the Legislature and signed by the governor before the end of the year.”

Named for Jessica Heeringa, who was last seen working a late-night shift at a Norton Shores gas station in April 2013, the bill would require gas stations and convenience stores to either schedule at least two workers between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., or to install working security cameras. Police have said that had there been security camera footage of Heeringa’s workplace, it may have been easier to identify and arrest a suspect. Heeringa is still missing. Heeringa’s family and Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson also gave testimony in favor of the bill Wednesday. Also giving testimony was Detective Sergeant Mike Kasher from the Norton Shores Police Dept., who has been investigating the case since the night of her abduction.

“I applaud the hard work that’s gone into this bill, which has been a joint effort of Jessica’s family and friends, the business and law enforcement communities and safety advocates,” Lamonte said. “While taking testimony on the importance of this bill is a great start, we cannot rest until this bill becomes law. No other Michigan family should have to endure the sorrow and uncertainty the Heeringa family has known. I urge my colleagues to vote this bill out of committee and move it through the Legislature as soon as possible.”


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State Representative Collene Lamonte

91st House District

 
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