Michigan Open Carry Law Update – Recent Developments

On March 5, 2015, Michigan Open Carry, Inc., a non-profit advocacy organization, and a parent, Kenneth Herman, filed suit in Genesee Circuit Court against the Clio Area School District, the Clio superintendent, and the principal of the elementary school where Herman’s daughter attends. Herman alleges that his rights were violated by the District on multiple occasions when he tried to pick up his daughter from school, while having a weapon on his person that was openly displayed.

In the Plaintiffs’ complaint, they state that Herman has a Concealed Pistol License pursuant to Michigan law. They acknowledge that Michigan law prohibits carrying concealed weapons on school property. MCL 28.425o(1)(a). A parent may only carry a concealed pistol on school grounds while the parent is picking up or dropping off the student, and remains in the vehicle in the area reserved for pick-up and drop-off. MCL 28.425o(1)(a). Plaintiffs argue that this exception only applies to concealed pistols, and that open carry of a pistol is not illegal in Michigan.

The controversy began when Herman was visiting the school, openly carrying his pistol, and saw a sign stating the school was a weapon-free zone. Herman informed district officials that he believed the sign was in violation of Michigan law. Two days later, when Herman returned to the school with his openly displayed pistol, school officials called the police. Herman complied with their request to leave school grounds. When Herman later met with district personnel and local law enforcement, the school agreed to change the sign, but would not allow him to open carry on school grounds. Herman was denied access to the school on several other occasions after this meeting while he was openly carrying his pistol. Ultimately, Plaintiff seeks a declaratory order from the Court that the District may not prevent access to the school by Herman. Read more here.

Additional Insights...

MERC Strikes Down the Enforceability of Union Security Clause Ratified Between the Passage and the Effective Date of “Freedom to Work”, PA 349

The MERC, reversing its administrative law judge, has ruled that a union security clause ratified after the December 11, 2012 passage, but before the March 28, 2013 effective date, of the “Freedom to Work” act, PA 349, is unenforceable, as violative of bargaining unit employees’ rights under the Public Employment Relations Act, “PERA”, including the right to refrain from membership in, affiliation with, financial support of, or payment of dues or fees to, a labor organization. Taylor School District, MERC Case No. C13 G-133 and Taylor Federation of Teachers, MERC Case No. CL113 G-29 (February 13, 2015). The case was brought before the MERC by three dissident members of the teachers’ bargaining unit who neither wanted to pay monies to the union or be fired for refusing to do so. Read more here.

Court of Appeals Holds Tenure Commission Does Not Have Jurisdiction to Hear Layoff or Recall Cases

The Michigan Court of Appeals issued a decision of major significance in Michigan public school law on March 13, 2015, in Baumgartner v Perry Public Schools, ____ Mich App ____; COA Case No. 314158 (2015). In Baumgartner, the court held that the State Tenure Commission (STC) has no jurisdiction to hear claims related to the layoff or recall of tenured teachers. Instead, the court held, such claims must be adjudicated through the means created by section 1248 of the Revised School Code, MCL 380.1248.

Baumgartner consisted of the consolidated appeals of three separate cases decided by the STC. In each case, a group of teachers filed claims of appeal with the STC claiming that they were laid off or recalled in violation of the Teachers Tenure Act (TTA), MCL 38.71 et seq. Read more here.