Schuitmaker, Colbeck urge federal action on immigration

LANSING, Mich. — State Sens. Tonya Schuitmaker and Patrick Colbeck on Tuesday introduced a pair of resolutions urging Congress to cut funding to sanctuary cities and to pass Kate’s Law.

U.S. House Resolution 3004, which is commonly referred to as Kate’s law, increases penalties for those who are deported and caught trying to return to the United States. The legislation is named after Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman who was killed by a man who had been deported numerous times, but was able to enter the U.S. again. Many attribute Steinle’s death to the city’s sanctuary city status, a term coined for cities that limit cooperation between their workers and federal officials attempting to enforce federal immigration law.

“This man should never have been here and Kate should still be with her loved ones,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “This was a senseless, devastating crime that could have and should have been prevented. I applaud the House taking action and approving this measure, but the Senate needs to act quickly and get this to the president’s desk before this happens again.”

Michigan Senate Concurrent Resolutions 20, sponsored by Schuitmaker, and 21, sponsored by Colbeck, urge the U.S. Senate to approve Kate’s Law, which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in early June. The pair of resolutions also urge the federal government to cut funding to any city that proclaims itself a sanctuary city.

“It makes no sense to financially reward government bodies that try to impede state and city employees from working with federal immigration authorities,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “It should go without saying that public safety demands our police be allowed to report to immigration authorities and detain people who are here illegally.”

Schuitmaker agreed.

“It baffles me that cities across the United States are not only getting away with knowingly violating federal law, but are also advertising their sanctuary city status and encouraging more people to violate the law,” Schuitmaker said. “This is not only a matter of public safety, but a matter of preserving the rule of law. We cannot let local governments decide which federal laws they choose to follow.”

Both resolutions were referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary for further consideration.


Casperson, Schuitmaker introduce legislation supporting Second Amendment, foster parent rights

LANSING, Mich. — State Sens. Tom Casperson and Tonya Schuitmaker on Wednesday introduced legislation that would preserve the Second Amendment rights of foster parents.

A policy change by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that took effect in 2015 requires all firearms legally possessed in foster homes be locked in a gun case or stored with a trigger-lock separate from ammunition.

Under this policy, firearms cannot be carried in a holster, even by someone who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon, or stored in any other safe manner.

“Adopting a child does not require you to give up your constitutionally guaranteed rights,” said Schuitmaker, R-Lawton. “Thousands of families across Michigan have figured out how to safely possess firearms in the privacy of their own homes without the government telling them how to do it.”

Senate Bill 527 stemmed from a situation in Casperson’s district in which a grandfather from Ontonagon was told he would have to forego his Second Amendment rights to foster his grandchild.

“This man is a veteran of the U.S. Marines and legally holds a concealed pistol license in the state of Michigan,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “The department has no authority to force someone to give up their constitutional rights.”

Both legislators pointed out that a very large percentage of Michigan’s law-abiding citizens carry or otherwise safely store firearms within their homes for self-defense.

“A gun that is locked up without ammunition does no good if someone breaks into the home,” Schuitmaker said. “The department is essentially telling residents that they can’t be trusted and they need the government to watch over them.”

Casperson added that Michigan should be doing more to assist parents looking to adopt, not asking them to forego their rights as Americans.

“Government officials are telling a law-abiding citizen that he needs to forego some of his constitutional rights in order to care for a family member, and if he doesn’t, the child will be removed from his custody. This is absolutely insane,” Casperson said.

“We should be encouraging people to adopt and give children a stable home. Telling them they have to give up rights in order to do so puts one more unnecessary roadblock in the way, hurts families and is blatantly unconstitutional.”

SB 527 would codify in state statute the rights of lawful gun owners to possess their firearms in a foster home. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Families, Seniors and Human Services.