Week of March 5: MLK Holiday, Distracted Driving, and Medical Marijuana

The week of March 5, 2017 will see many topics on the Senate floor, including a wild day today.

It is the bill filing deadline, meaning any bill to be considered must be filed by 5 pm today.

There will be a few hundred “shell” bills filed today. A shell bill is a bill which essentially just includes a title and purpose. It allows a member to amend the bill with the substantive language after the deadline.

This week in the Senate will be busy. First off, today is SB 37.

SB 37: Concerning Concealed Carry on Private Business’ Parking Lots

This bill would allow a concealed carry gun owner to bring their gun into the parking lot of their employer even if the employer did not want to allow guns on the business property.

I think private business owners should have the right to say they do not want guns on their business property.

Sometimes employers have to fire folks or take adverse employment action. Sometimes employees can get upset with each other at work. I believe a private employer should have the right to tell employees that their guns cannot be brought onto the business premises.

SB 519: Concerning MLK Holiday

I expect the Senate to vote on a bill separating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday from Robert E. Lee.

I am in favor of this bill.

SB 333 and SB 357: Concerning Medical Marijuana

SB 333: This bill would amend the medical marijuana constitutional amendment and ban what is commonly referred to as “edibles.” My understanding is that many proponents of the medical marijuana amendment are against this bill, which will require 24 votes to alter the Amendment.

I am against this bill, but would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

SB 357 would also amend the medical marijuana amendment to ban the smoking of medical marijuana. I am against this bill.

SB 374: Concerning Distracted Driving

SB 374 is the bill which we are hoping to pass to discourage distracted driving. It ups the penalty for texting and driving and makes clear that we should not be accessing and posting to social media sites while driving.

We all need to do a better job of keeping our eyes off our smart phones and on the road.

HB 1539: Concerning Graduation Requirements

HB 1539 would require most high school students to pass the civics portion of the naturalization test used by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before a student could receive a high school diploma.

What do you think about this additional requirement for graduation?

HB 1481: Concerning Home-School and Sports

This is another interesting bill. It would allow a home-schooled student who met certain minimum criteria to participate in sports. The bill says the student could participate in athletics and other interscholastic activities through a private school within 25 miles of his or her home.

Let me hear your thoughts on this bill. The bill is worth a read as it is more detailed than I have laid out here.

I have been cautioning for a few weeks that bills are moving quickly and if you see something you are for or against, please contact me quickly. Stay vigilant. Now is the time that things can “slip” through — unfortunately. We need your help and hard work.

So please, let us hear from you.

Thank you.

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