Monday Political Notebook
- Some people have asked me why the focus of the blog has shifted to almost exclusive coverage of campaigns, mainly the GOP primary in MS-01. I suppose there are two main reasons. First, there is a lot going on with the primary so we will cover whatever the big stories are. And second, and probably more important, is that the legislative session has been pretty boring so far. If you don’t believe me, read what Rep. Greg Snowden (R-Meridian) said on his blog. Yes there have been some fireworks, and partisan shots, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time on a Meth bill or a so-called “policyholders bill of rights.” Therefore, I have expanded the Legislative Notebook to consist of a Political Notebook.
- It look’s like someone is about to eat some crow. Borrowing some unforeseen circumstances, the voter ID petition will make the ballot for voters to decide on in 2011. In an early January post, the Mississippi Democrats sarcastically asked, “How’s that Voter ID petition going?,” arguing that “people are more concerned about real issues instead of wedge issues.”
- Rep. Robert Johnson (D-Natchez) said this about the apparently successful ballot initiative: “We dealt with that issue. We passed out a voter ID bill that was comprehensive. It dealt with early voting it dealt with a lot of voting issues. And the senate killed that bill last year.” Okay.
- The Senate took up a measure that will lower lawmaker salaries by 10 percent. This would affect all members of the state legislature. It easily passed by a vote of 39-2 and it now heads to the House.
- While that cost-cutting measure may have survived, a bill that would reduce the size of the state legislature did not. The proposed legislation would reduce the size of the Senate from 52 to 47 and the House from 122 to 110. That bill all but dead for the year. Whether its state universities, counties, school districts, or members of the legislature- bigger is better apparently.
- Do charter schools equal racial segregation? Apparently to Democrats like David Jordan (of Greenwood) they do. Despite the outrageous racial claims by Jordan and others, the Senate passed a charter school bill by a 29-14 vote. However, when legislators start playing the race card, good things don’t usually happen. Passage of any substantial charter school bill doesn’t appear likely.
- Another controversial measure that passed the Senate but stands little chance of clearing the House is the Sunshine Attorney Act. It passed 27-19. If enacted into law, it would require more disclosure with the hiring of private legal counsel. It would also allow a state agency to retain legal counsel if there is a conflict of interest with the Attorney General.