For some time rumors have been flying around concerning the 4 anti-gun bills that passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee on a party line vote.
Senate Bills 347, 699, 700 and 796 would normally move to the Senate floor for a vote. Now, what will happen to them is anyone’s guess. We have been reliably informed that many Democrats do not want to vote on these bills, especially Democrats facing re-election. But a handful of the most zealous liberty-haters like Burdick, Prozanski and Monnes-Anderson see it as an chance to force Republicans to go on the record. The zealots hope to use that vote (which they think they will lose) against Republicans in future elections.
This is a strategy that cuts both ways, and some Democrats know it. At this point, it seems likely that the anti-gunners will lose a vote on the floor, but we’ll still have a recorded vote to use against them, so it may well be that there are members of both parties who would like to avoid a recorded vote.
As we have learned from the many incorrect rumors, we simply cannot say what will happen with these bills. Ginny Burdick is pushing for a vote, but Senate President Peter Courtney may well want these bills to be shuffled off to some other committee to die. Still, we have seen Courtney cave to Burdick’s will in the past. So we must be vigilant. This is no time to back off on the pressure.
On Wednesday May 8, the Senate Rules Committee will be hearing a bill that should be important to everyone.
While not a “gun bill,” SB 596 is a step in the right direction for fixing some of the serious problems we have in the process of moving bills through our legislature.
What SB 596 does is require that when amendments are offered to bills, the legislator who is requesting the amendments must be named.
Currently, amendments are drafted and considered by committees and the requestors may remain anonymous.
This is one of many flaws in the legislative process. Amendments are often not available to the public until very late in the game. Bills are introduced as “committee bills” so the public does not know who authored them. In many cases, bills receive public testimony (often from people who have traveled great distances to be heard) then, after public testimony is closed, those same bills are completely rewritten and the public has no opportunity to express their opinions on the final bill even though it looks nothing like the bill they testified on.
All of these issues can be addressed by the House and Senate themselves if they choose to, but SB 596 is a good start. The bill was requested by pro-gun Senator Alan Olsen. Please consider sending a note of support to the Rules Committee.
Ted Ferrioli, Vice-Chair
If the above links don’t work (some internet providers cannot support these links) please send the following cut and paste message to the members of the committee.
SB 596 is a long overdue step in the right direction to make our legislative process more transparent and friendly to the public.
While we still have a long way to go (for example, I believe the public should be able to testify on a bill after it’s been heavily amended) this bill would be a positive move forward.
Please pass this bill out of your committee.