ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

Relevant bills filed and their status

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ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#1

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:00 pm

I want to give everyone an update on the two “employer parking lot” bills that have been filed; SB730 and HB1301. These bills are facing the same opposition they have in the last two sessions, with the petrochemical industry leading the charge. They are reeling from the staggering defeat in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals when that court held the Oklahoma employer parking lot bill was constitutional and didn’t conflict with OSHA. Now they are making Texas a battleground on this issue.

SB730 and HB1301 are going to require a lot of effort on the part of voters in order to get this bill out of committee and passed, in it's current form. We are going to have to keep the pressure on our Representatives and Senators throughout the entire legislative process. We cannot simply make one call. Our business and industry opposition is making it known that they will spend a lot of money on this issue and this is no minor threat. When it comes to election campaigns, the petrochemical industry and the chambers of commerce can contribute a huge amount of money. The opposition from the business and petrochemical industry will be constant throughout the session! They have the money to hire lobbyists and keep them on the phones and in staff offices from now until the end of the session. What our opposition doesn't have is voters and that's where you come in.

The only way to counter this is to let our elected representatives know we want these bills passed and keep reminding them of this throughout the session until one of these bills passes. Then, we will turn our attention to the Governor who will be facing tremendous pressure to veto the bill.

Please call and write (snail mail or fax) your Senator and Representative and ask him/her to support SB730/HB1301. Don’t make any threats!!! They don’t work and they are counterproductive. What will help is a rational statement that these bills will prevent an employer’s parking lot policy from keeping you disarmed during your commute to and from work. This argument is even more persuasive if you have a long commute, if you are a woman driving alone or with your children, or if you work at night. Please point out these issues in a respectful manner. Also, don’t expect to talk directly to your Senator or Representative; they’re too busy to take calls. Their staff will make sure their boss is informed of his/her constituents’ opinions on these bills.

If you work in the petrochemical industry, your input is especially needed. Last session, the House author of the employer parking lot bill made an agreement that would have exempted the largest refineries from the bill. That would have left tens of thousands of workers without the protection others workers would have enjoyed. The petrochemical industry is asking for the same special treatment again and we cannot let that happen.

Another group that we need to address are union members. If you are in a union, please contact your union officials and try to get them to support these bills. The few unions with any power left in the State are primarily in the Houston petrochemical industry. But regardless of your union, please make the calls.

Although I wouldn’t use them in every letter you write or every call you make, take time to review the talking points on these bills:
  • SB 730/HB1301 do not prevent an employer from keeping guns out of the workplace; it only applies to locked cars in the parking lot;

    SB 730/HB1301 provide employers immunity from civil liability for any injury or damage that may result from storage of firearms in locked vehicles, unless the employer is grossly negligent.

    SB 730/HB1301 allow employers to prohibit firearms in a parking area, if the parking lot is not accessible to the general public and the employer provides alternative parking for employees. Or the employer can opt to provide a place to lock up an unloaded firearm. This provision is especially useful to the petrochemical industry and any other business needing to protect sensitive areas.

    SB 730/HB1301 would not apply to company-owned vehicles, nor would it allow storage of firearms in vehicles parked on property where the possession of firearms is prohibited under state or federal law.
As I said before, please, do not contact every Senator and Representative; just your own! Calling everyone waters down the effect by making it impossible for an elected official to get a good feel for how many people in his/her district are calling and/or writing.

If you want the employer parking lot bill passed, then please make the calls and send faxes now and keep them coming. We need to do this every week or ten days until one of these bills passes. It is not possible to overstate the level of opposition we are facing. TSRA and NRA are doing everything we can and we need your help. Our strength is in our members’ willingness to get involved. Make the calls, send the faxes, and get your family and friends to do likewise. If you want to do more, then set up email or phone trees and recruit as many people as possible to respond when you ask. Then watch TexasCHLforum for the “go” so we can have a coordinated impact.

I’ve already said this, but it is critical so I’ll say it again. Don’t threaten anyone; be respectful. The shear number of calls and faxes will get the message across, while threats and disrespectful comments will do far more harm than good. When we get involved in issues that mean a lot to us, it’s very easy for any of us to get emotional, me included, so we have to be on guard and not let that happen.

Thanks,
Chas.
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#2

Post by Wrightwing » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:04 pm

I received the following reply from Sen. Jane Nelson:

"Thank you for contacting me regarding SB 730, relating to the transportation and storage of employee firearms while on employer-owned property.

During my time as a state senator, I have consistently been a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and of citizens' right to carry firearms. In 2007 I voted for similar legislation prohibiting an employer from penalizing employees for transporting or storing a handgun the employees are licensed to carry in locked vehicle in the employer’s parking lot. Unfortunately, this bill was left pending in the House late in the session.

I fully support this concept and will keep your comments firmly in mind as SB 730 is discussed this session. You may wish to track its progress via the Texas Legislature Online at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

I am so grateful for your willingness to share your views on this legislation with me and hope that you will not hesitate to contact me again regarding issues of importance to you.

Very truly yours,

Senator Jane Nelson"
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#3

Post by jlangton » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:59 am

I just spoke with my Union's Business Manager,and faxed over the points you have listed for him to review.
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#4

Post by Lodge2004 » Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:43 pm

Sent emails to my State Senator and Representative. Senator John Whitmire responded with the most concise and clear email I've ever received from a politician:

"XXX, thank you for your input. I am in support of the CHL SB 730.

JOHN WHITMIRE"

Would love to see all politicians take such a simple approach.

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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#5

Post by The Annoyed Man » Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:53 pm

Wrightwing wrote:I received the following reply from Sen. Jane Nelson:

"Thank you for contacting me regarding SB 730, relating to the transportation and storage of employee firearms while on employer-owned property.

During my time as a state senator, I have consistently been a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and of citizens' right to carry firearms. In 2007 I voted for similar legislation prohibiting an employer from penalizing employees for transporting or storing a handgun the employees are licensed to carry in locked vehicle in the employer’s parking lot. Unfortunately, this bill was left pending in the House late in the session.

I fully support this concept and will keep your comments firmly in mind as SB 730 is discussed this session. You may wish to track its progress via the Texas Legislature Online at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

I am so grateful for your willingness to share your views on this legislation with me and hope that you will not hesitate to contact me again regarding issues of importance to you.

Very truly yours,

Senator Jane Nelson"
I got exactly the same letter from her, but it followed a personal phone call. I had left a voicemail on her local general voicemail box, and one of her aides called me back and we talked for about 10 minutes. She was very gracious.
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#6

Post by tllstaco » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:18 pm

I work in the chemical industry and there has been quite a bit of talk about these bills. A co-worker told me most of the plants are against these bills and are planning on fighting their passage. I have discussed these bills internally and reinforced the fact that crime is lower amoungst CHL holders than the general population. The people the plants need to worry about are not the CHL holders but the folks who choose not to follow the law. While the HR Manager and security folks in my plant are supportive, the environment is not so positive in other plants in the area. If you're in the chemical industry and the opportunity arises, make your case on why these bills should be passed.
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#7

Post by Liberty » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:16 am

tllstaco wrote:I work in the chemical industry and there has been quite a bit of talk about these bills. A co-worker told me most of the plants are against these bills and are planning on fighting their passage. I have discussed these bills internally and reinforced the fact that crime is lower amoungst CHL holders than the general population. The people the plants need to worry about are not the CHL holders but the folks who choose not to follow the law. While the HR Manager and security folks in my plant are supportive, the environment is not so positive in other plants in the area. If you're in the chemical industry and the opportunity arises, make your case on why these bills should be passed.
there have been quite a few people fired at refinary/chemical plants for having a forgotten hunting gun or ammo in their vehicles. Many of these companys are European owned or controlled. It is the Unions resposibility to protect their employees, especially against unfair employee policys. The unions need to speak up to the Legislature. I believe that some of them have spoken to them
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#8

Post by Tireshred » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:17 am

I just emailed both my rep and senator, my rep is very pro gun and helped me get my CHL, my senator never responded but at least now knows where I stand on the pending legislation. Thanks for the hard work Charles.
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#9

Post by DoubleJ » Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:23 pm

I received a letter from Craig Estes office the other day. It, basically, said that he had supported the bill last session, and will again support the bill this session. :thumbs2:
FWIW, IIRC, AFAIK, FTMP, IANAL. YMMV.

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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#10

Post by Skiprr » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:58 am

Been quite a while since I've been able to post...long story. However, just wanted pass along my communications on HB1301 and SB730.

On February 20 I faxed my Senator, Dan Patrick, and Representative, Gary Elkins. No resonse from Elkins, but he later signed on as a co-author of SB730. The first fax was way too long, but I decided not to chop it down. I spent a few sentences describing the experience of an individual voter (me), and what I faced as a long-time employee of a major company that forbids firearms anywhere on its properties, and that owns large tracts of land surrounding its facilities making alternative parking impossible.

Then I pretty much used the bullet-points Charles provided in his first post in this thread. Without overdoing it, I try to keep in front of them that I am a voting supporter in their District; everything always opens and closes that way.

I received a nice letter from Dan Patrick; obviously a form letter from staff, but I was still encouraged that there already was a nice form letter in place. ;-) In part, it said:
Dan Patrick wrote:I am a strong proponent of Second Amendement rights. For that reason, I am in support of SB 730, which would allow employees to transport and store lawfully-owned firearms in their locked, privately-owned vehicles in employer-owned parking lots. I also support provisions in the bill that will allow employers to regulate and enforce firearm policies inside the workplace.
I followed up with another fax thanking him for his reply, and for his commitment to the support of Second Amendment rights.

I also sent Gary Elkins a follow-up fax. Gary is Vice Chairman of the Business and Industry Committee, so in addition to thanking him for his co-authorship, I wanted to keep in front of him my awareness of the importance of that role in the pending consideration of HB1301.

I hope we all continue the grass-roots communication--whether our reps are solidly behind the Bill or not--and that this one can actually have a chance to pass this year.
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#11

Post by Vic303 » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:44 am

Emailed & called both of mine. Paxton's folks said he strongly supports HB1301, but I am not so sure on Shapiro.

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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#12

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:51 am

Skiprr wrote:Been quite a while since I've been able to post...long story. However, just wanted pass along my communications on HB1301 and SB730.

On February 20 I faxed my Senator, Dan Patrick, and Representative, Gary Elkins. No resonse from Elkins, but he later signed on as a co-author of SB730. The first fax was way too long, but I decided not to chop it down. I spent a few sentences describing the experience of an individual voter (me), and what I faced as a long-time employee of a major company that forbids firearms anywhere on its properties, and that owns large tracts of land surrounding its facilities making alternative parking impossible.

Then I pretty much used the bullet-points Charles provided in his first post in this thread. Without overdoing it, I try to keep in front of them that I am a voting supporter in their District; everything always opens and closes that way.

I received a nice letter from Dan Patrick; obviously a form letter from staff, but I was still encouraged that there already was a nice form letter in place. ;-) In part, it said:
Dan Patrick wrote:I am a strong proponent of Second Amendement rights. For that reason, I am in support of SB 730, which would allow employees to transport and store lawfully-owned firearms in their locked, privately-owned vehicles in employer-owned parking lots. I also support provisions in the bill that will allow employers to regulate and enforce firearm policies inside the workplace.
I followed up with another fax thanking him for his reply, and for his commitment to the support of Second Amendment rights.

I also sent Gary Elkins a follow-up fax. Gary is Vice Chairman of the Business and Industry Committee, so in addition to thanking him for his co-authorship, I wanted to keep in front of him my awareness of the importance of that role in the pending consideration of HB1301.

I hope we all continue the grass-roots communication--whether our reps are solidly behind the Bill or not--and that this one can actually have a chance to pass this year.
Excellent Skiprr! This is exactly what we need. The vast majority of Representatives and Senators want to support us, but they need the "cover" of a large number of voters weighing in on this issue to offset the business and chemical company lobbyists.

Thanks,
Chas.
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#13

Post by ELB » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:58 pm

I fired off a couple letters today to my rep (Kuempel) and senator (Wentworth). Rep Kuempel is a coauthor or cosponsor or whatever you call it, so I sent him an attaboy-keep-going. The legislature website shows SB370 as only having three senators signed up, Wentworth is not one of them, so I asked him to sign on and help move the bill forward.

I will follow up with phone calls tomorrow.

However, I still see no bills doing away with all or at least most of the can't-CHL-here areas. :cryin Seems to be only piecemeal; parking lot here, college campus there, defense to prosecution if the right 51% sign is displayed... progress, but well short of Gov Perry's statement. I was hoping there would be some momentum there.

More letters on other subjects to follow.
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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#14

Post by TrueFlog » Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:00 pm

I see that there's a public hearing scheduled for the Senate version of this bill next week. I'm new to Texas and politics in general, so I have to ask... How does the public hearing work, and what can we do to help make sure our side is fairly and accurately represented? For those of us who aren't in Austin, is there any way that we can contribute to this hearing?


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Re: ACTION NEEDED! Employer parking lot bills

#15

Post by KD5NRH » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:58 pm

No replies yet from Miller or Fraser, but I suspect this is one of those where they need to have enough public support for the bill that they can tell the businesses "sorry, but the voters overwhelmingly want it."

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