Legislature celebrates the criminal-justice reform law

Credit for the Criminal Justice Reform Law (HB 585) is being given to Rep. Brice Wiggins (R-Pascagoula), Speaker Philip Gunn (R-56), Rep. Greg Snowden (R-83), Rep. Andy Gipson (R-77), and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

HB 585 is 194 pages long and passage reflects a tremendous amount of effort from the state legislature in updating laws in many areas to include sentencing, parole, recidivism, drug and alcohol related crime, violent crime, corrections resources, and training requirements.

Twitter was a-buzz with all the back-slapping after the Gov. Phil Bryant’s signing ceremony:

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Rep. Williams-Barnes’ Legislative Update

Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes (D-Gulfport) gave an update of the state legislatures “Conference Weekend” where the house and senate work-out differences between bills passed in their respective chambers so it can be forwarded to the governor for signing into law (or veto).

In January, House Bill 48 was passed and signed into law by Gov. Bryant.  The law requires public and private Mississippi schools to “adopt and implement a concussion management and return to play policy.”

Barnes does not like the requirement to drug test TANF applicants as required under House Bill 49.   The bill was championed by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R-56) and Rep. Sam C. Mims (R-97) and the governor signed into law on March 24th.

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Miss. Senate gives final approval to 3 anti-union bills

The Mississippi legislature is taking steps to prevent union take-over of industry within the state by sending 3 bills to Gov. Phil Bryant.  In what is likely a response to the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) failed multi-year attempt to unionize a Tennessee automobile plant in February, the bills will weaken organized labor influence in the state.

The AP’s Jeff Amy, via the Daily Journal, submitted the following report:

JACKSON – Bills that aim to restrict union organizing and picketing practices in Mississippi, as well as restrict governments’ abilities to pressure employers to use unionized workers, are on their way to Gov. Phil Bryant.

The Senate gave final passage Wednesday to the three bills.

Senate Bill 2473 would make it illegal to coerce a business into neutrality in a union drive or to allow workers to choose union representation by signing cards instead of by secret ballot.

Senate Bill 2653 tries to restrict picketing.

Senate Bill 2797 says the Legislature would have to pass a law to allow any state or local government to make an agreement to use unionized workers on a project. Such a project labor agreement was used to build the Toyota Motor Corp. plant in Blue Springs.

The UAW has tried unsuccessfully to unionize anywhere in the south.  UAW plans attempts to unionize a Nissan plant in Canton, Miss. and a Mercedes plant in Vance, Ala.  The legislation passed by the Mississippi Senate will make such efforts more difficult since the UAW will not have the open access that they enjoyed in Tennessee.

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Common Core: The New Math

Courtesy of The Daily Caller and Caleb Bonham comes this gem of a video showing how subtraction is apparently taught under Common Core:

The method could be called “subtraction by addition.”  Basically, you start with the lower number and add smaller numbers required to “get back” to the original number to find the answer.  This is effectively what is done when you count back change.  But there is a reason the first steps in learning math don’t include counting back change!

I am unable to confirm if this method is promoted by Common Core.  It won’t make learning math easier, but it’s easy to see how some bureaucrat could think it must be an improvement.

For more information on Common Core see the  Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Legislature sends Governor medicinal marijuana bill

Miss. House voted 112-6 to pass House Bill 1231 earlier this week.  Sen. Deborah Dawkins (D-Pass Christian) introduced medical marijuana bills in previous sessions.  Sen. Josh Harkins (R-Flowood) introduced the current bill to amend the Controlled Substances law.  A family in his district wants access to medical marijuana to reduce the seriousness of their epileptic child’s seizures.

The Senate passed a similar bill March 6th and, during the writing of this post, voted to push the House Bill to Gov. Bryant:

A pharmacist is all but required to understand the language of the bill but according to reports medicinal marijuana oil was added to the list of Schedule I Hallucinogenic Substances.  The oil is believed to help with pain and sleep problems and prevent seizures but without the high.

The drug would be controlled by Miss. licensed physicians and could only be dispensed by the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

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McDaniel on the Glenn Beck Radio Program

On March 25th, state Sen. Chris McDaniel appeared on the Glenn Beck Radio program.  The audio of the interview is below followed by a summary of the interview.  A transcript of much of the interview is provided here.

According to McDaniel, Cochran voted for:

  1. Bail-outs for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  2. Increase debt ceiling 11 times for $7.2 Trillion
  3. Higher Income and gas taxes as well as George H.W. Bush’s famous tax increase
  4. Tax-payer funded abortions

Debt Ceiling:  Beck pushed McDaniel on raising the debt ceiling and the troublesome politics that come with not voting against it.  McDaniel replied by saying that the Republican party has stopped standing with courage and principle.  To oppose such things he would stand with Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz.

Eminent Domain:  Beck asked about the fight against eminent domain in the state.  Driven by his support of private property rights, McDaniel fought on the floor of the senate to change the law to protect property owners.  Gov. Haley Barbour was not in favor of reforming the law and vetoed legislation that would reform eminent domain to protect property owners.  Because of principle, McDaniel continued to fight in the Senate but failed to override the Barbour’s veto.  However, shortly thereafter, the state constitution was amended to protect private property rights and so private property rights won the day.

Other issues discussed:

  • Common Core:  Objections to Common Core are based on there not being a constitutional basis for the federal government to be involved in education which is violated by tying federal funding to it.
  • Immigration:  No to amnesty, close the borders, enforce the law.
  • Obamacare:  McDaniel was the state’s lead attorney in the lawsuit against Obamacare and performed pro bono.  He doesn’t want to make it better, he wants to repeal it.
  • 2nd Amendment:  Keeping and bearing arms is an individual right that McDaniel supports.

When asked about how he will fight the Republican establishment that will expect him to compromise his principles to obtain positions of power, McDaniel responded that his “allegiance is to the constitution and the people.”

Beck asked about the status of his soul and McDaniel immediately replied that he is “saved by the grace of God.”

NYT: In Mississippi, It’s G.O.P. vs. Tea Party

Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times filed a look at Sen. Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel with the article “In Mississippi, It’s G.O.P. vs. Tea Party.”

. . . Mississippi’s power structure is in a bit of a panic. The economically poor state has been rich with powerful politicians in Washington, who have unapologetically protected its military bases and shipyards, built its roads and universities, reconstructed its beachfronts, and dredged its rivers. The state has had only a handful of senators since 1947, including Mr. Cochran, a powerful member of the Appropriations Committee; Trent Lott, a Senate majority leader; and John C. Stennis, whose 41 years of service was marked by military advocacy and the creation of the modern Navy. . .

. . . Policy details are as foreign to Mr. McDaniel as they are natural to Mr. Cochran. Henry Barbour’s super PAC is filling the airwaves with comments Mr. McDaniel made to Politico that questioned whether he would have voted for the emergency relief that Mr. Cochran helped secure for the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Mr. McDaniel now says he supports disaster relief and does not see the need to offset it with other spending cuts. And he has opted not to challenge Mr. Cochran’s military largess. . .