Report:: House Law Enforcement Committee meeting yesterday [Archive] - Glock Talk

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cwood
02-27-2007, 10:24
I decided to attend after being notified by TSRA email.

Bills discussed were HB220, HB511, HB992, and HB1037. They all seek to adress the current issue where employers are prohibiting CHL holders for storing their handguns in a locked vehicle on a public access parking lot while at work. Actually HB1037 is a bit different but related. To read the full text of each bill you may go to the following link and enter the bill number in the search line (ie., HB1037):

http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/

Then click on the little 'Texas' link next to 'Introduced version" and you will be offered your choice of HTML, Word Document, or PDF.

Here are brief summaries of the bills:
80(R) HB 220 - Introduced version - Fiscal Note
Excerpt: The bill would prohibit a public or private employer from establishing or enforcing a policy that prohibits a person licensed to carry a concealed hand gun from carrying a concealed hand gun in a locked vehicle in any parking area. However, a private employer may enforce such a policy if the employer provides employees with a parking area that is gated, not open to the public, and monitored by security personnel. No significant fiscal implication to units of local government is anticipated.

80(R) HB 511 - Introduced version - Fiscal Note
Excerpt: The bill would prohibit a public or private employer from establishing or enforcing a policy that prohibits a person licensed to carry a concealed hand gun from carrying a concealed hand gun in a locked vehicle in any parking area. However, a private employer may enforce such a policy if the employer provides employees with a parking area that is gated, not open to the public, and monitored by security personnel. No significant fiscal implication to units of local government is anticipated.

80(R) HB 992 - Introduced version - Fiscal Note
Excerpt: The bill would amend statute and create a new cause of action for damages whenever a private or governmental employer discharges, discriminates, or penalizes an employee licensed to carry a handgun under Texas law, because the employee transported the handgun in the employee s locked motor vehicle that was in the employer s parking lot and the employee had previously provided a written statement about the licensed handgun with a copy of the license to the employer. No significant fiscal ...

80(R) HB 1037 - Introduced version -
NOTE! The official summary is wrong. This bill amends the'Labor Code' and creates a cause of action if an employer punishes any employee (not otherwise probibited)from storing any firearm in a locked vehicle in a parking lot. This would be not just CHL holders but would also include other situations like a hunter going hunting before or after work or someone wanting to go to a range.

The bills were introduced one at a time in order by their authors and the committee recieved public comment.

OPPOSING ALL THE BILLS were the following businesses and organizations:
Testifying
1. USAA the large insurance firm catering to military personnel and their families, located in San Antonio.
2. American Electronics Council which represents electronics firms across the nation.
3. Texas Employment Law Council which represents many large employers in Texas such as petro-chemical firms
Not Testifying
4. San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
5. Union Pacific Railroad
6. Texas Association of Business.
There were no individuals speaking against the bills.

SUPPORTING ALL THE BILLS were the TSRA and several individuals.

Alice Tripp, TSRA Legislative Director gave a good and effective presentation and seemed to have good raport with the committee members.

Among the individuals were a high school teacher, a medical researcher, a man from the high tech firm formerly known as Tracor Electronics (they were bought out), and another gentleman whose background I did not note. I work for a very large retailer open 24 hours a day with employees arriving and leaving at any time day or night. As I said, I have reached the point in my life where fist fighting and fast running are no longer viable options in protecting my self and my family.

Thrust of the individual comments was that by prohibiting a CHL holder from storing their firearm in a locked vehicle at work, the employer is effectivly disarming that person for the time they leave home in the morning until they get home...even if they want to go to someplace like "LUBY'S" for lunch. All of this is when the employee is OFF THE CLOCK. It was also pointed out that CHL holders are among the lowest risk members of our society, as has been demonstrated over the last 12 years since CHL was enacted.

It was pointed out that Southwest Airlines has had an effective policy dealing with CHL's and handguns for years. They provide secure, on-site storage facilities so the CHL holders wears the handgun into the building, stores it and retrieves it on the way out. They only require that the employee file a notice of intent, and that they include a photocopy of the CHL and keep it current. HB992 mirrors the Southwest Airlines policy.

The majority of the committee was generally supportive, others less so.

Supportive:
Chair, Rep. Joe Driver
Rep. Steven Frost
Rep. George 'Buddy' West
Rep. Thomas Latham

Among the other members, Rep. Vo never said a word. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr. (not his father) commented once and displayed no obvious leanings. Rep. Alma Allen seemed generally uninformed and confused. She gave the impression that she didn't want any firearm around her and couldn't see why anyone else would.

By the way, Sen. Jeff Wentworth, Chair of Senate Jurisprudence is holding a hearing of bills including his SB378 (Castle Doctrine) on Wednesday at or after 1:30PM.

Rep. Joe Driver has a corresponding House version HB284 in a hearing of the House Jurisprudence Committee at or after 2:0PM TODAY

I hope someone finds this useful.

Bitstream
02-27-2007, 16:19
Originally posted by cwood

I hope someone finds this useful. [/B]

I sure did! Thanks for the report!

Gumbo
02-27-2007, 16:54
Thx for update..