April 17, 2021

Consideration on bills

The 10th week of the session was busy with floor debate as the House passed several bills received from the Senate chamber and also sent House-originated legislation over for their consideration. Caucus sessions and floor debates made for long days as legislators considered a variety of bills.

HF 756

The legislation previously known as HSB 254 “acquisition and possession of weapons” passed out of the House chamber after an extended House discussion. This bill contains changes to current gun laws. Prohibitions against a person who cannot acquire a gun (federal background check qualifications) are not changed by this legislation, and a gun purchase from a federally licensed seller would still require a background check. However, private sell does not require a background check but has penalties if selling to someone with disqualifiers. The bill language reads that a person shall not transfer a firearm to another person if the person knows or should have known that the buyer is legally prohibited from owning a handgun. Violation of this provision would result in a class D felony for the seller. The bill eliminates the necessity for a concealed carry permit but still requires meeting the federal qualifiers. Peace officers, both active and reserved, may carry on school grounds both on and off duty. It expands the list of who may administer handgun safety training courses. The bill broadens preemptions for political subdivisions by adding “carry” to the list of actions that cities, counties and townships may not regulate beyond what the state requires. It also limits landlords who receive rental assistance payments from the federal government from restricting ownership of guns or ammunition. In multiple conversations with local law enforcement and Jasper County constituents, I gained valuable information in consideration of this bill. The information they provided assisted me in identifying several helpful ideas that could enhance the legislation for the safety of law enforcement and our communities. I brought these ideas to members of the majority party which led to additions to the legislation. These additions focused on giving law enforcement tools in identifying, conducting checks and addressing those that don’t meet the background requirements. With these additions and after conversations with law enforcement, I chose to support this legislation. With my history as a police officer and having family members in law enforcement, I will always look for ways to improve safety for them and our community.

HF 802 Diversity training restrictions

The origins for this legislation brought by the House Judiciary committee are unclear to me. It prohibits certain “divisive concepts” be taught, advocated, acted upon or promoted by K-12 public schools, state universities, or (added in a late amendment) any governmental entity such as any unit of state or local government. Some examples of these “divisive concepts” include that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; that an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by the individual’s race or sex; that an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s race or sex. Never once in my 27 years as a government employee participating in many diversity training sessions have I ever witnessed these “divisive concepts” being promoted or condoned.

HF 312

We continue to work on legislation (formerly HF 63) to establish a cold case/missing persons task force. The proposed cold case task force would focus primarily on unsolved murders, missing children and missing adults. I have proposed an amendment with bipartisan support to establish an interim committee to assist in the structure and development of the cold case task force. I am optimistic we will see this legislation move forward.