The 2019 legislative session ended on Friday, March 29. I’ve taken a couple of weeks to clear my mind of politics and to reflect on this final session of the legislative term.
As always there were good bills that survived the process and became law, there were some good bills that died and unfortunately there was some bad bills that have become law.
The Good that became law
Due to the leadership of President Trump, criminal justice reform is making its way across the nation and Mississippi continues to be a leader on this path. Republicans and Democrats agree that continuing to place more people in jail for non-violent crime is too expensive and unproductive toward our goal of making our state safer.
HB1352, known as the Criminal Justice Reform Act helps those convicted of non-violent crimes who have served their time find work and it prevents those convicted of minor drug offenses from losing their driver’s license so they can continue to work. This reform also updates our successful drug courts to further assist those who are trying to change their life and become better more productive citizens.
HB2781, the Mississippi Fresh Start Act, eliminates “good character” and “moral turpitude” clauses from occupational licensing regulations. These clauses were often arbitrary and used to prevent those trying to change their life from entering a profession.
Senate Concurrent Resolution 596, makes Mississippi the 15thstate to call for a Convention of the States authorized under Article V of the US. Constitution. The purpose of this convention is to demand the US Congress balance our federal budget and limit spending.
The Bad that became law
Whenever the legislature is in session there is always a danger that the citizens of Mississippi will lose freedom. Sometimes that is done directly through legislation that takes away a freedom and other times its accomplished by taking more of your money.
SB2603, reauthorizes the motion picture incentive program. This program was allowed to expire in 2016 because it was proven to cost the state money. Every dollar we put into this incentive program loses the state fifty cents.That’s right, we end up paying Hollywood to make movies in Mississippi. You could notfind a dumber thing to pass if you tried, but leave it to polticians to find inovative ways to waste your money.. Without this program the state could have retuned $5 millionto you or put that money into something beneficial to our state.
HB1283, is known as the “Mississippi School Safety Act of 2019”. This bill will require school districts to develop and conduct an active shooter drill within the first 60 days of the start of each semester and also requires that students are present during these drills.Other states who have conducted similar active shooter drills with students present have discovered that this method is harmful to students. These states are changing their laws while Mississippi presses ahead with this misguided plan.
The School Safety Act also creates a pilot program for six school districts with a curriculum for children in kindergarten through fifth grade with “skills for managing stress and anxiety.” The entire school safety act is really about getting more federal dollars because this pilot program will receive federal funding.
HB366 passed at the very beginning of the legislative session to much fanfare about rural Mississippi receiving broadband internet. This bill will not accomplish its stated purpose but it has accomplished its goal of making rural Mississippians think politicians in Jackson have solved their problem. The Electric Power Associations told everyone who would listen that offering high speed internet to rural areas was too expensive. In a couple of years the EPA’s will be back in Jackson asking the legislature for funding to bail them out of these money losing ventures.
The Bad that died
One bill that directly threatened everyones freedom to own property and be secure in your ownership of property was HB1104. This bill would have reenacted Administrative Civil Asset Forfeiture. Administrative Civil Asset Forfeiture giveslaw enforcement agencies the ability to seize property valued at less than $20,000 without a conviction of a crime and with only a notice to the property owner. This practice has been challenged in the courts and is a direct violation to every citizen’s rights. I am proud to have been a part of ensuring this practice didn’t return to Mississippi.
This year concludes my first term representing the people of Olive Branch in District 6. I promised you four years ago that I would always vote according to the principles and values that you elected me to uphold. I have never compromised those values, I have never traded a vote or sold a vote for personal gain.
This year I am asking you to support me for another four year term. I make the same promise now that I made before. I will always uphold the values of conservative limited government, I will always demand transparency and openness, and I will never sell my vote or compromise my principles for personal gain of money, position or power.
If you have any questions, concerns, or request, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org give me a call on my cell phone at (901) 275-4191.
It is an honor to serve you, and I humbly ask for your prayers as we seek to make decisions that help the people of our state.