Rep. Gipson: Unapolgetically conservative

Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) is an attorney and Baptist pastor.  And in her report in the Clarion-Ledger, Analysis: Gipson wields influence, Emily Wagster Pettus says he is one of the most influential lawmakers in the state.

As the chairman of the House Judiciary B Committee, he was influential in a number of bills including House Bill 585 (improve efficiency and costs of the state’s criminal justice system) and House Bill 1400 (banned abortion at 20 weeks).  He helped push through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Senate Bill 2681) in spite of all the opposition.

Gipson is a notably vocal opponent of gay rights since President Obama changed his stance on gay marriage in 2012.  He has remained a staunch opponent of gay rights even with calls for his resignation and the other pressures associated with taking a Biblical stand on a range of issues.

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Gov. Bryant hails successful legislative session

Gov. Phil Bryant appeared on the Paul Gallo Show on April 7th and discussed some priorities during his tenure and a range of legislative accomplishments during the 2014 session.  The entire interview is available free from SuperTalk Mississippi.

Regarding some of the successes during his tenure:

  • Teen pregnancy:  Noted a 10.3% reduction in teen pregnancy over the past year without passing out birth control in classrooms.
  • TANF Drug Screening:  Signed legislation this year requiring new applicants to be screened from drug use/abuse prior to receiving benefits.
  • 2nd Amendment Protections & Sales Tax Holiday:  Passed a sales tax holiday for guns, ammo, and related supplies for September 5th – 7th.
  • Religious Freedom Restoration Act:  Gov. Bryant said the state law mirrors federal law that was written by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and signed by Pres. Bill Clinton.
  • Criminal Justice Reform Bill
  • Banning Abortion at 20 weeks:  “A huge pro-life victory in Mississippi.”

Gov. Bryan talked at length about his biggest disappointment of the session, the failure to pass the special needs education bill (HB 765).  Saying it’s a “sorry day” and a “dark day” because public educators refused to release the funding to support 500 special needs children, he says the legislature turned their back on special needs children and he vows to make this a priority “from now on.”

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Lt. Gov. Reeves’ 2014 Legislative Summary

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves filed a summary of the legislative session headlined “Session Ends with Balanced Budget, Efficiency Measures, Investment in Education.”  The release documents the major legislative achievements to include education initiatives, the budget, public safety, reinforcing 2nd Amendment issues, and efforts to make Mississippi “business-friendly.”

Busy April Fools’ Day for State Legislature

The Mississippi Legislature had a busy day and passed several bills despite some significant opposition to several of them.  Below are the bills that have been sent to Gov. Phil Bryant for signature with some comments from Twitter.

Senate Bill 2681, Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, received significant opposition and was labeled as discriminatory.  A similar bill in Arizona raised national attention but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer.  Mississippi Center for Public Policy (MCPP) had several interesting comments:

SB 2681 wasn’t passed without some objections:

Remarkably, House Bill 1400, which prohibits abortion after 20-weeks, passed both the House and Senate and Gov. Bryant is ready to sign into law:

What some are calling a compromise, House Bill 504, Teacher Pay Raise, will provide for pay raises based on meritorious achievement.  Few are entirely satisfied but many are thankful to have passed something including Mississippi Delta Sen. Derrick Simmons:

Sen. Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula authored and pushed forward Senate Bill 2579, Marine Resources and Accountability and Reorganization Act, to reform the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) after widespread corruption was discovered recently in the organization.

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Miss. Senate Passes Anti-Abortion Bill Unanimously

As tweeted by Ya’ll Politics earlier today:

According to the Miss. Legislature website, House Bill 1400 was passed by the House February 13th while the Senate passed a revised version of the bill today.