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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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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Miss. Legislature approves “Right on Crime” Reform Bill

From Gov. Phil Bryant:

We pledged to Mississippians that we would make this the ‘public safety session’, and we have worked hard to develop a research-based plan that is tough on crime while using tax dollars wisely where they make the most impact,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “This bill ensures that violent criminals are held accountable for their crimes, and it provides a second chance to veterans and other Mississippians who have made mistakes want to take steps to get their lives back on track.

Gov. Bryant specifically thanked state Sen. Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula for his support in getting the bill passed.

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