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A Couple Interesting Legislative Notes

January 5, 2011
tags: ballot initiative, illegal immigration, party switch, redistricting, state legislature
by Brett

Yesterday, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann delivered three ballot initiatives to the state legislature. Appearing on the ballot in November will be three proposals which include photo identification for voting, defining life at the moment of conception, and prohibiting eminent domain usage.

These three initiatives will appear on the ballot as written. There is nothing the legislature can do to stop this and if they are approved by a majority of voters in November will become law. Rep. Bobby Moak (D-Bogue Chitto), a probable candidate for Speaker of the House, reminded the Jackson Free Press that the legislature can submit an alternative version to vote on. That very well may happen on voter ID, especially in the House, but I don’t see any it coming to fruition. A spokesman for Phil Bryant has pretty much shot down any interest in making changes.

If they were to amend the initiatives, they would appear on the ballot next to the citizen-led initiative.

Early talk on redistricting. While the budget may be issue number one, it appears most legislators realize what is ahead as we talk about redistricting. Here are a couple quick notes:

** Billy McCoy predicted a gain of two representatives in Desoto County; and also said Madison county, Rankin county and Tupelo “should show gains.”

** Neither McCoy or Phil Bryant are backing down on their ideas of how the reapportionment process should work. Bryant has maintained that the Senate will review the House plan (and vice-versa), while McCoy has insisted that the Senate has no say in their plan (and vice-versa). Haley Barbour is backing Bryant on this.

** Barbour called redistricting “very difficult,” and said this: “If either of the two parties demands a map that favors it, then I think the other party would be smart to just say, ‘We’ll go to court. And if you want to run twice, we’ll see you in ‘12.” Barbour said he wouldn’t be surprised to see this end up in the courts.

** Bryant said he doesn’t see a special majority-minority district being drawn in Desoto county, something some Democrats and other advocates had brought up.

** We also need to point out that this is the first time since the Voting Rights Act was passed that a Democratic justice department has been in charge of reviewing districts. And we have certainly seen a one-sided aggressive approach from Eric Holder’s department. I wouldn’t expect that to change, and I am sure both parties of aware of this.

A bill to ban party switching. Y’all Politics posted a very interesting story over the weekend on a bill proposed by State Rep. Bob Evans (D-Monticello). If enacted, it would consider any public change in party affiliation a resignation of the office and they must vacate it immediately.

I suppose this could have something to do with the 17 Democrats who have become Republicans over the past two years.

Funding the border fence in Arizona? Sen. Joey Fillingane (R-Hattiesburg) has submitted a bill, which Tea Party groups in Mississippi helped draft, which would use remittance fees to fund the private construction of a border fence, starting with Arizona.

The group put together this video, which helps explain the bill and includes an appearance by Fillingane on the JT Show.

** On illegal immigration, Phil Bryant has been pushing an Arizona-style law for Mississippi. While its chances in the Senate are strong, Billy McCoy has been very cool on the proposal saying “it’s not a problem of alarm with the general public here.”

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