State Legislature debating guns in churches

House Bill 786 was approved by state Representatives and would accomplish three things:   (1) allows church authorities to develop security programs that designate enhanced carry permit holders or those with military or law enforcement backgrounds to protect places of worship, (2) ensures that these participants receive the benefits of existing protections under the state’s Castle Doctrine law; and (3) clarifies current permitless carry options for law-abiding citizens while maintaining the existing enhanced and regular concealed carry permitting systems.

The Mississippi Senate now takes up the bill for consideration.

Related Links:

Legislature wraps-up 2015 session

The Senate ended their 2015 session on April 1st. After considering 2 remaining measures, the House adjourned the following day.

In its final session, the House approved Senate Bill 2258, which, if signed by Gov. Bryant, requires school principles to certify results of standardized tests and provides criminal penalties if cheating is detected. The House also approved Senate Bill 2804 which removes Department of Corrections employees from the state Personnel Board civil service protection to enable the DoC leadership to reorganize the troubled agency.

Related Links:

2015 Gulf Coast Candidates for State Senate

The following have qualified for candidacy in the 2o15 election for the Mississippi Senate. Only the Gulf Coast region is represented. For a complete list see Empower Mississippi‘s tabulation for the entire state.

District 40 (Pearl River): Incumbent Angela Hill (R) is uncontested.

District 45 (Forrest): Incumbent Billy Hudson (R) is uncontested.

District 46 (Hancock): Incumbent Philip E. Moran (R) is uncontested.

District 47 (Harrison/Jackson/Pearl River/Stone): With Sen. Tony Smith qualifying to run for the Public Service Commission Southern District, three candidates have qualified to replace him:

  • Jimmy L. “Bo” Alawine (D)
  • Rogena Mitchell (R)
  • Joseph M. “Mike” Seymore (R)

District 48 (Harrison):

  • Incumbent: Deborah Dawkins (D)
  • Joseph B. Piernas, Sr. (D)
  • Walter Crapps (R)

District 49 (Harrison):

  • Incumbent: Sean Tindell (R)
  • Katherine DeCoito (R)

District 50 (Harrison): Incumbent Tommy Gollott is uncontested.

District 51 (Jackson County):

  • Incumbent Michael D. Watson, Jr. (R)
  • Butch Loper (R)

Alisha Nelson McElhenney had qualified for the District 51 seat but switched her candidacy to the Lieutenant Governor seat following Watson’s announcement.

For more information:

McDaniel undecided in 2015

In the Clarion-Ledger report “McDaniel ‘would prefer federal position’” by Geoff Pender, Sen. Chris McDaniel hinted at a possible 2016 run for the 4th Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Steven Palazzo. In the interview, McDaniel indicated that he will seek re-election for the District 42 state Senate seat that he currently fills. Officially, McDaniel has only stated that he will not run for Governor.

In lieu of an official announcement, some indications have pointed to a possible run for Mississippi Lieutenant Governor. McDaniel has openly objected to Lt. Gen. Tate Reeves’ control over the state Senate as stripping control from the people.

As a Tea Party favorite, McDaniel garnered national attention during the 2014 election campaign in which he pushed Sen. Thad Cochran to a run-off in the Republican Primary.

For more information:

 

 

Tim Tebow Act sacked in the Senate

A week after it passed out of the Education Committee, the Tim Tebow Act died on the Senate floor. Senate Bill 2329, named for the eponymous home schooled Heisman Trophy winner, would have given home school students the opportunity to participate in public school athletic and extracurricular programs.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joey Fillingane, said that it gave no unfair advantage to home schooled children. But opponents, led by Sen. Hob Bryan, disagreed citing concerns of fairness. With no companion legislation in the House, the measure is officially dead unless the language is added to another bill as an amendment.

For more information:

 

Senate passes balanced budget amendment for U.S. Constitution

The Mississippi Senate passed Bill 2389 which, if also approved by the House and signed by the Governor, will enjoin Mississippi in the Compact for a Balanced Budget, an interstate effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to require a federal balanced budget, reduce federal borrowing, and seek state approval before increasing the debt limit. Alaska and Georgia entered the compact in April 2014 and at least 38 states are required.

With three-fourths of state agreeing to the compact, the U.S. House and Senate can pass resolutions without presidential signature to initiate the amendment process. Having the wording agreed upon up front, a 24-hour Article V convention would convene in which each governor, acting as their state’s delegate, would vote “yes” to ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment.

The U.S. Constitution, Article V provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures. However, three-fourths (or 38) states are required to ratify an amendment.

Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall introduced the bill.

For more information:

Education bills approved in the Senate

The Mississippi Senate passed SB 2695, Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act, on Wednesday. The measure is designed to help special needs students by providing a $7,000 voucher, provided on pre-paid debit cards, to seek educational services outside the public school system. If enacted into law, it will be limited to 500 students in the first year. The estimated $3.5 million first year cost would be paid from the state’s general fund and not the Mississippi Adequate Education Program earmarked funds. Funds could only use the funds at Mississippi Department of Education approved vendors.

Gov. Phil Bryant and the National Excellence in Education Foundation praised the passage. However, the Parents Campaign opposes SB 2695 because it does not help all students with disabilities and sees it as a step toward privatization of public schools.

SB 2695 will proceed to the House for consideration where a similar bill, HB 294 sponsored by Carolyn Crawford of Pass Christian, awaits passage.

Senate Bill 2161 was passed yesterday and will establish the Mississippi Commission on College and Career Readiness to recommend new education standards to replace the Common Core States Standards adopted.  Several Tea Party conservatives, namely Senators Chris McDaniel, Melanie Sojourner, and Michael Watson, protested since the Senate refused to add language making the adoption of the commission recommendations mandatory. Those objecting to SB 2161 also fear that the Commission could recommend standards that simply mirror Common Core standards.

For more information: