Former lawmaker wants renewed push to pass “Jessica’s Law”
NORTON SHORES, Mich. — With renewed interest in the disappearance of Jessica Heeringa, one former lawmaker is hoping to renew a push to protect other gas station workers.
Heeringa disappeared in April of 2013 from an Exxon Station in Norton Shores. She was working the late shift alone at the time and her purse, money and car were left behind.
Monday night the case will be featured nationally on the show ‘Disappeared’ on Investigation Discovery.
Shortly after the young mother went missing, now-former State Representative Collene Lamonte made it her mission to pass a bill in honor of Heeringa called “Jessica’s Law.”
The bill would have required convenience store owners to either install surveillance cameras or have two overnight workers scheduled during a shift. The legislation made it to a hearing in Lansing, but never received a vote over concerns from some business owners about the extra cost to install surveillance cameras and hire additional staff.
“Had there simply been a security camera in place or another worker alongside her, we’d have something to go on,” Lamonte said on Monday. “I know the police are just as frustrated as the family is about the lack of answers.”
The legislation received widespread support at the time from local enforcement who said installing cameras would be the right thing to do.
Having worked closely with Heeringa’s family while trying to pass the legislation, Lamonte said it’s heartbreaking to know three years have passed since she disappeared.
“I know the family struggles everyday,” she said. “Imagine, every birthday, every holiday that goes by and Jessica is not there, and they have no idea what’s happened to her.”
Lamonte, who lost her re-election bid in Nov. 2014, announced a new campaign for the 91st House District last month. She said passing “Jessica’s Law” would be a top priority if and when she were to be re-elected.
Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon, has since re-introduced the bill, but no action has been taken.
Heeringa’s case will air on Investigation Discovery’s show ‘Disappeared’ at 10 p.m.