Category: Legislation

Michigan Supreme Court drops interest in marijuana bust

After hearing arguments, the state Supreme Court has dropped interest in a case involving police tactics during a marijuana bust in southwestern Michigan. The issue was whether deputies in St. Joseph County acted legally when they walked to the rear of a home and suspected there was marijuana inside. Moments earlier, they had knocked at a different door and got no answer.

Read more at WLKM’s News Site.

Can we decriminalize marijuana use already?  The fact that the police were even investigating a home where they suspected marijuana was inside is just a waste of police resources. There are just so many other things that I would prefer that police spend their limited resources on than this. Not only that but we could free up a lot of space in our over crowded detention centers by eliminating a large potion of non-violent “criminal” offenders.

Having said that I don’t know anything about this case other then what I read in this article so maybe my perspective is out of context with (all) the facts. However, even if that is the case I still believe that marijuana use should be decriminalized and we should rethink how we deal with non-violent crimes.

MSP First to Get Statewide Approval for Police Drones

Police Drone - Michigan State Police

This is the Aeryon SkyRanger, the drone that Michigan State Police can now deploy anywhere in the state. (Credit: Aeryon Labs Inc.)

Discover Magazine posted this article on their blog Michigan is First to Get Statewide Approval for Police Drones. According to the article the idea is to use them for search and rescue as well as accident reconstruction. The state police are now, based on the FAA’s approval allowed to use them anywhere in the state. They come equipped with a high definition camera and can stay in the air for an hour on a single charge.

What could go wrong? Surely not the addition of lethal weapons. Right? Read more about it here.

6 facts about Michigan open carry and schools

Mlive has a list of 6 surprising facts concerning Michigan’s Open Carry law and carrying on school properties.

  1. Open carry is legal in Michigan schools for individuals with valid concealed pistol licenses. It is illegal for an individual without a concealed pistol license to carry a firearm on school property.
  2. People with a CPL cannot carry a concealed firearm on school property. Open carry is the only option available to them if they wish to carry a firearm.
  3. State law MCL 28.425o, prohibits CPL holders from carrying concealed weapons in nine designated pistol-free zones, including schools. However, the law allows parents or legal guardians dropping off or picking up a child to keep a firearm inside their vehicle.

Those are the top 3. Read the rest at the Mlive’s site 6 facts about Michigan open carry law and guns in schools.

Vote Spotter

Vote Spotter

It’s like finding a needle in a haystack

Michigan legislators vote on hundreds of bills every year. Spotting the most important votes could feel like a full-time job.

 

Vote Spotter is an app developed by the Mackinac Center of Public Policy for the iPhone (and soon Android) that enables you to track the legislation that your local legislators are voting on and how they vote. The bills are written in plain English and you can select the type of legislation you are interested in provide feedback. I was a little disappointed that “firearms” was not one of the preset categories but I guess that doesn’t really fit the kind of content that the Mackinac Center for Public Policy focuses on so it makes some sense (I guess), Also this does feel a little like a version 1 app so maybe this is something that will be added in a later update. There is are some “social” elements included that may help people get the word out on particular legislation as the community around this app grows. I am excited to see what future updates bring.

For more information about this app see the Vote Spotter website here.

I will drink to this: less regulation = more beer

MLive has this article, “Top Michigan craft beer brewers talk expansion plans as lawmakers consider easing regulations

  • House Bill HB 4709, which was introduced by Representative Kevin Cotter will increase the current barrel restriction from 30,000 to 60,000
  • House Bill HB 4710, which was introduced by Representative Peter MacGregor will increase the number of other locations a brew bup may have an interest in and the barrel threshold.

Michigan’s craft beer industry is booming, and state lawmakers are looking to loosen the proverbial belt buckle and allow for future growth.

Apparently this is a part of a bipartisan movement to reduce regulations and encourage the expansion of micro breweries.

“There were some arbitrary caps put in place, and I think that was done largely just to set some number so these operations could begin,” said Cotter. “Now, we’ve had a great deal of success. Many of these brewers are not only supplying their products across Michigan, but also sending their product to many other states. This has been good for our economy and good for jobs.”

I have only recently discovered and participated in the micro brew phenomena that has been going on for the last 10 years or so and hadn’t realized how big it has become in Michigan.

And while I certainly appreciate any movement toward more freedom I have to wonder why it was necessary (or why someone thought it was necessary) to have these restrictions on these businesses in the first place.

“Craft beer tends to have higher alcohol content and price, and price trumps everything when it comes to health and safety,” said Marie Hansen of MAP, which generally opposes legislation that would expand alcohol consumption and has proposed increased sin taxes.

Oh yea. That’s why. People like Marie Hansen of MAP (whoever and whatever that is) think they know better about what is good and right for us. I Googled Marie and MAP but couldn’t find anything about either of them but I do have to say her / their logic makes complete sense to me. Of course the expansion of breweries in my area means that I will lose all self control and not be to make be able to make responsible decisions for my self.

Craft Beers

MMMMM

I will drink to that! Winking smile

Related link:

Michigan Firearm Legislative Update 02/26/2013

Senate Bill 213 is the bill number for the newly re-introduced version of last year’s vetoed SB 59. Along with a number of other positive changes, it would:

  1.  Eliminate County Gun Boards and move their responsibility to the Michigan State Police.  The task of accepting the application and printing the CPL would remain with your county clerk.
  2. Reduce the price to get a CPL from $105 to $90.  For first time issuance, finger printing is still required and a police agency may charge you an additional fee (on top of the $90) of up to $15 in order to finger print you.  Renewal CPL applications would not require a fingerprinting, thus saving you $15 compared to the status quo.
  3. Repeal Several of the Pistol Free Zones found in MCL 28.425o outright (No compromising open Carry, no additional training).  Zones being repealed include: (b) public/private daycare or public/private child placement agency, (c) sports arena or stadium, (d) a bar or tavern, (f) an “entertainment facility” where the seating capacity is over 2,500 people, (h) a dorm or classroom of a community college, college, or university. No additional training would be required to carry there.  Remaining pistol free zones (schools, churches, hospitals) would have an “opt-in” ability similar to what churches have right now — this would allow the people in charge of these facilities to allow conceal carry on their premises.  Currently schools and hospitals cannot even grant permission to someone to carry concealed on their premises.

Source: Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners

House Unexpectedly Defeats Patriot Act

The newly-minted House Republican leadership botched a vote Tuesday night when it presumed it had the necessary support to reauthorize the Patriot Act, the anti-terrorism law imposed after September 11th.

The GOP expected little trouble with the bill. So Republicans brought the Patriot Act to the floor under a special procedure that requires a two-thirds vote for passage. It’s a maneuver that’s typically reserved for non-controversial legislation or bills that carry wide support.

Renewing that Patriot Act had certainly had wide support. 277 members voted in favor of the measure compared to just 148 nays.

But that’s short of the two-thirds supermajority. Which means the House defeated the bill.

Nice. More here.

Repeal the Michigan Pistol Free Zones

Recently a bill was introduced in Michigan to repeal the pistol free zones that were part of the Concealed Pistol Act that was passed in 2000 and became effective in 2001.

 

…Snip…

 

Say, I am a crazed, evil or unbalanced criminal who preys on innocent people and the voices in my head are telling me to go a school or hospital and kill as many people as possible. Is a paper gun law on “pistol free zones” going to stop me? Of course not. By definition criminals don’t obey our laws. Many of the high profile shootings in the past years have been in supposed “gun free zones.” Not only does this prove the point that these laws do not provide any real safety, it causes us to speculate if the bad guys consciously chose these places because they know there would be no armed resistance to whatever plan they want to carry out. If so, the law makes us less safe, not more safe.

Read the whole thing here. Also see HB 4009 – Pistol free areas; eliminate.

Michigan 2011 House Joint Resolution C (Extend term limits )

Introduced by Rep. Sharon Tyler (R) on January 13, 2011, to place before voters in the next general election a Constitutional amendment to revise the term limits on legislators. Currently, representatives may only serve three terms of two-years each, and senators may only serve two terms of four-years each. The bill would allow legislators to mix-and-match these House and Senate terms in any combination for a total of not more than 14 years in the legislature. The measure is cosponsored by Reps. Greg MacMaster, Peter MacGregor, Al Pscholka, Matt Lori, Kevin Cotter, Kenneth Kurtz, Mike Shirkey, Mike Callton, Ken Yonker, Gail Haines, Hugh D. Crawford, Kurt Damrow, and Wayne A. Schmidt, all Republicans.

See Michigan Votes for more info and comments.

I am shocked. Shocked I tell you!

River Country Journal has an news article titled, “Michigan House fails to end lifetime health care benefits for state lawmakers.”

While not surprised (really) by the outcome I do hope the idea gains momentum when it is reintroduced in 2011.

“The people of Michigan will not take our calls for reform seriously if we’re not willing to look in the mirror,” Jones said. “One of my first acts as a state senator next session will be to re-introduce this important legislation and help begin the process of reinventing Lansing.”

It’s a great point. Go Rick Jones!