Senator Rick Jones posted in the “Grand Ledge Community” group on Facebook regarding a legislative news release we made about SB 53. He stated in the post that it was announced that a vote on SB 53 would be held in the Judiciary Committee Hearing on February 10th. Funny thing is, we can’t find a single document or recording that backs up his statement that a notice was given.
Let’s recap quick. Senator Rick Jones is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and he is also the Sponsor of SB 53. SB 53 is a bill which will create a Pistol Free Zone (PFZ) carve out for Retired Federal Law Enforcement Officers (RFLEOs). We at Michigan Open Carry oppose carve outs for special classes of “super citizens” with regards to PFZs. We even sent the Senate Judiciary Committee an Open Letter regarding SB 53.
At the February 3rd meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee (video of meeting), we offered testimony in opposition of SB 53 (1:02:35). When it came time to vote on SB 53 at that meeting, Rick Jones announced there would be no vote on the bill at that time (1:12:04). He then adjourned the meeting without mentioning a specific date or time the vote would be held, or whether or not a vote would even be held.
Later that week, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent out its agenda for the February 10th meeting. SB 53 was absent on that agenda.
Tom Lambert (MOC’s Vice-President) met with Senator Jones at 2:00 PM on February 10th, the same day as the vote. At that meeting, Senator Jones told Tom that SB 53 would come up again at some point in the future. He didn't bother to mention to Tom that that point in the future would be roughly an hour away! Tom offered a compromise which would have made SB 53 benefit everyone. The compromise was to repeal a PFZ of Senator Jones' choosing while exempting the group Senator Jones is seeking to exempt, in exchange for strong support from MOC. The compromise was declined.
It would appear that at no time was the general public or MOC notified that a vote on SB 53 would be held on February 10, 2015. If there was indeed no notification given, the actions of Senator Rick Jones and the Senate Judiciary Committee are an affront to transparency in Government.
After Tom Lambert pointed out that no notice was given in the video in the thread on “Grand Ledge Community”, the entire Facebook thread was deleted by one of the admins. It’s a good thing we have a screen capture of the entire thread.
If there was indeed notification given, we apologize. However, to date we have been told notification was given without any citation to when and where such notification occurred. We have searched for where such notification may have occurred but our search has come up empty. Note: Everyone on our legislative team is subscribed to the Judiciary Committee mailserver and we receive copies of their agendas.