Is legislation to require gas stations and convenience stores to have more than one employee working during a night-time shift an effort to ensure safety or just another burden on businesses already struggling to survive?


That is the question being asked of a proposal by State Rpresentative Colleen LaMonte.   The west Michigan lawmaker proposed the bill after the disappearance earlier this year of gas station clerk Jessica Heeringa.  The 25 year old young mother is believed to have been abducted from a Norton Shores Exxon station near the end of her evening shift.  She was working alone.

Despite an exhaustive investigation--including the FBI--her whereabouts are still unknown.  Limited surveillance video of the store has also hindered the investigation.   LaMonte is hoping that the so-called "Jessica's Law" which would require convenience and gas station owners to either hire an additional worker or provide a working security system will send a message to potential criminals to stay away.

Others, though, including business owners, question the wisdom of adding more regulation to what is already a burdered economic environment.   While they don't dispute that worker safety is a priority, they do wonder whether additional government involvement in their day-to-day operations is in the best interest of all involved.