Second Amendment March at the Capitol, Sept. 17, 2020 | Laina G. Stebbins
The GOP-led Michigan House of Representatives passed several bills this week that would expand gun rights in Michigan, as well as bills affirming parents rights in education, two big right-wing priorities.
Senate Bill 11, introduced by state Sen. Lana Theis (R-Brighton), would ensure county clerks process concealed weapons permits even if there is an ongoing public health emergency. The bill passed 58-43 on Thursday.
State Rep. Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), who voted no on the bill, criticized the bill for attempting to limit the scope of emergency powers within a public health crisis.
“SB 11 is not about the Second Amendment,” Rogers said on the House floor. “Rather, it is a bill challenging our public health authorities ability to make quick decisions and issue public health directives based on the science and information they have had available at the time.”
House Bills 5187 and 5188, introduced by state Reps. Andrew Fink (R-Hillsdale) and Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes), aim to prevent the governor from closing gun stores, seizing weapons or barring lawful possession of a firearm within a public health or emergency order. This bill comes after retail stores were forced to close their doors during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as a result of state public health orders.
HB 5187 passed 61-40 and HB 5188 passed 62-39.
Fink said the bills are “an opportunity for us in the government to control ourselves, leaving to the citizens the right and ability to govern themselves.”
House Bill 4003, introduced by Rep. Matt Hall (R-Marshall), would lessen or remove the fine for carrying a concealed pistol without a license in certain circumstances. The bill passed 74-27.
The last bill, House Bill 4078, introduced by state Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain), would legalize the ability for a person to possess a firearm while riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or utility terrain vehicles (UTV) on private land. The bill passed 65-36.
Parents rights bills
Republicans have introduced a number of bills they claim will protect parents rights in education, amid a national right-wing push to ban critical race theory and some books in schools in the runup to the midterm elections.
House Bill 5703, introduced by state Rep. Annette Glenn (R-Midland), would require the text in the state Constitution and school code outlining a parent’s rights in education be posted in administrative buildings, the principal’s office, as well as meeting rooms where school board meetings are held. The bill passed 85-16.
Glenn spoke about the bill, saying it “will serve as a very public and prominent reminder” of the rights of parents in education laid out in the state Constitution and school code.
“A reminder of these rights is extremely important in today’s environment,” Glenn said. “Unfortunately, some politicians, bureaucrats and special interests have openly attacked parents in public schools. Today, however, we have a chance to do the right thing and remind everyone what is already in our state law affirming the rights of parents in public schools.”
The House passed a resolution earlier in the week, House Resolution 210, introduced by Outman, which aims to affirm a “commitment to the fundamental rights of parents to direct the education of their children” and require Gov. Gretchen Whitmer “to publicly acknowledge these rights.”
These measures come as multiple other bills have floated through the Michigan Legislature with the intention to bolster the role of parents in students’ education.
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