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Becky Currie Raises Profile In Legislature

August 4, 2010
tags: 2010 House, Becky Currie, Donna Barnes, Haley Barbour, illegal immigration, Kelly Mims, Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement, MS-01, Rodney Hunt, Travis Childers
by Brett

State Rep. Becky Currie (R-Brookhaven) is serving her first term in the state House representing portions of Copiah, Franklin and Lincoln counties. Through her first three legislative sessions, Currie has been a reliable vote with House Republicans, but has generally maintained a low-profile. And with 122 members of the state House, that description fits most legislators.

However, over the past month, Currie has become the chief proponent in the House of strict immigration policies following in the footsteps of Arizona. As we reported in early July, she indicated that she plans to introduce legislation in the House during the next session of the legislature and on Monday she spoke at a Tea Party/ MFIRE rally in support of stronger enforcement of immigration laws.

And during her appearance, she targeted the man who is arguably the top target of state Republicans: Attorney General Jim Hood. “If E-verify (laws) had been implemented correctly, it would have worked, but we put it in the hands of the attorney general, and the attorney general has not done a very good job. As of this day, I don’t know of one compliance (issue) or one thing publicly he’s done. Maybe he’s done something privately, but so far, I know of nothing,” Currie said.

Detailing immigration legislation killed in the House. In a recent column in the Clarion-Ledger, Mississippi Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement president Rodney Hunt outlined immigration enforcement legislation has been killed in the House- thanks to a couple chairman who refused to take the legislation up:

- SB 2065 required state agencies that administer social programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children to verify the lawful presence in the United States of applicants using a screening mechanism under the direction of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This bill passed the Senate unanimously, 51-0 (1 vacancy), but died when Rep. Willie Bailey, chairman of the House Judiciary B Committee, would not allow a committee vote. A bill that passed without a dissenting vote in the Senate was killed by one man.

- SB 2032, The Immigration Reform Act of 2010, created penalties for false identification, transport and harboring of illegal aliens, required verification of citizenship or immigration status of persons who were arrested, and outlawed sanctuary cites. It passed the Senate 44-5 but was also denied a committee vote by Rep. Bailey.

- SB 2069, which would have provided for the conditional release of an offender to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement passed the Senate 50-1, but was denied a vote by Rep. Ed Blackmon, the chairman of the House Judiciary A Committee.

Barbour to host fundraiser for Barnes. Haley Barbour will be hosting a fundraiser for Court of Appeals Judge Donna Barnes later today in Tupelo. Barbour appointed Barnes in 2004, and she was unopposed in her 2006 election. This year, she faces Tupelo attorney Kelly Mims in what could be a competitive race.

Earlier this year, Alan Lange wrote a little about the match-up.

Childers’ campaign website updated. The Travis Childers re-election campaign has updated and released their 2010 campaign website, ChildersForCongress.com.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Rankin permalink
    August 5, 2010 6:21 am

    Rep. Currie introduced a bill to eliminate party primaries for LOCAL offices and change to nonpartisan elections– popularly called “open primaries”– for those offices. The bill died in committee.

    Nobody is thinking about this issue now, but next summer, lots of voters will again be worked up over having to choose between voting for their county officials or voting for their favorite candidates for state offices.

    If we want to provide greater choice for Mississippi voters, we’ll have to do it through a ballot initiative.

    • mspolitics82 permalink
      August 5, 2010 4:50 pm

      Local candidates should not have to qualify with political party—what difference does it may if a sheriff is Dem. or Repub. or whatever; same with Coroner, Mayor, City Council, etc. Actually the Circuit Clerk, who deals with voter registration, especially SHOULD NOT be party-affiliated since that person must work to guarantee/insure honest elections for ALL VOTERS.

      HOWEVER, as long as it is up to ELECTED OFFICIALS in the legislature to change this, CHANGE WILL NOT OCCUR…..the party organizations (Ms. Dem. Party and Ms. Rep. Party) will FIGHT IT, ‘tooth-n-nail’…coz they want more elected officials within their organizations at every level, and that includes groups like Republican Elected Officials.

      Sometimes the “right things to do” are the things that NEVER GET DONE by our good ole boys and girls in the legislature.

  2. Steve Rankin permalink
    August 8, 2010 10:33 am

    You make some good points, mspolitics82. As to what you said about the county circuit clerk: We already elect county election commissioners in nonpartisan elections (“open primaries”).

    With “open primaries,” candidates for local offices could still affiliate with a political party; they just wouldn’t have to qualify to run with a party, and there would be no party primaries for local offices. And the parties would be able to support candidates, just as they now do, for example, in our state and county judicial elections, which are nonpartisan.

    Terry Burton, chairman of the Senate Elections Committee, keeps saying that he’s for “open primaries” (nonpartisan elections). And yet no such bill has ever made it out of his committee.

    Again: If this is going to be accomplished, we citizens will have to do it through a ballot initiative.

    • Becky Currie permalink
      August 10, 2010 7:26 am

      I filed the bill to change the fact that local government should not be party affiliated every year in my three years in the House. What is worse than Sheriff picking party is that election commissioners have to pick a party. Do we not want them to be nonpartisan? Democrats control the House and they want the primaries like they are. I cannot tell you how many thousands of people told me during my election, I have to get my sheriff and supervisor in the primary then I will vote for you in the general. Well why do you think most local officials run Democrat. We need to let them know if the do not run Republican we will not be going in the booth. I am not going to be on the same ticket as President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Are local officials going to continue to be on that ticket? I agree it is a good ole boy place but it will never change unless We The People hold their feet to the fire. If they can count on you not paying attention, they will continue to do whatever they want. There are some good people there trying to do the right things, but we cannot do it alone. I believe Sen. Burton would get it out in the Senate but he knows it will not see the light of day in the House. At least give those who are paying attention and fighting a chance and your support. The only other thing that I don’t agree with in the article is that I have never been quiet!!

      • mspolitics82 permalink
        August 11, 2010 5:23 pm

        I would like to see some poll numbers from our REPUBLICAN legislators….I would be willing to bet, that for PARTY sake, they would be hard-pressed to vote for non-partisan elections at the local level, or even OPEN PRIMARIES, where a party label is attached, but everyone is on the same ballot in the primary. I personally think they would STRONGLY oppose non-partisan elections, even at the local level. Do you think such data could be gathered and made public? I mean really made public, including the names of the legislators !!! I think you might be surprised at how many would be VERY RELUCTANT to voice their opinion publicly; I would be VERY SURPRISED if they would agree to 1). commit either way on the issue
        2). make their opinions known publicly

        In other words, I have a sneaky suspicion that it’s not JUST the Democrats who have been against non-partisan elections in the past. Has anyone seen or heard of any PUSH from either party’s headquarters or leaders to do this? I have not….and I think THAT speaks volumes—I think it clearly shows that lawmakers on both sides of the political fence do not want non-partisan elections nor open primaries.

  3. Steve Rankin permalink
    August 13, 2010 12:49 am

    As long as there are political parties, everyone, including candidates, has the First Amendment right to affiliate with a party. In nonpartisan elections (“open primaries”), all candidates run in the same election, and there are no party primaries. If party labels are put on such a ballot– as Louisiana does in its nonpartisan (“open primary”) elections– it is still a nonpartisan election; the party labels are mainly for the voters’ information.

    If party labels are left off the ballot, each candidate still has the First Amendment right to advertise which party, if any, that he prefers. And each party has the right to support candidates in nonpartisan elections (“open primaries”), as the parties often do, for example, in our state and county judicial elections.

    Candidates for county election commissioner first appear on the ballot in November of presidential election years, and each candidate’s party preference is listed next to his or her name. If no one gets 50%-plus, the top two meet in a runoff several weeks later. Thus, it’s possible for the two final candidates to be from the same party (there is one election commissioner for each supervisor’s district).

    In most counties, the races for county officials are now decided in the Democratic primary. However, there are exceptions– such as Rankin County– where the local races are decided in the Republican primary.

    The legislature is obviously not going to pass a proposal for nonpartisan elections (“open primaries”). We citizens should start circulating petitions to place an initiative for nonpartisan LOCAL elections on the ballot.

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