The Mississippi legislature was busy this week with committee meetings as we approach a deadline for Tuesday January 30 to have House Bills out of their corresponding committees. If you have watched the House floor action during the past few weeks you generally would have seen the House convene for only a short time. It may seem as if nothing was happening to someone watching from the outside, but the action was in committee meetings. Beginning Wednesday of this next week there will be more floor action as the House begins to debate and vote on all the bills passed out of each committee.
This week I’d like to discuss some of my bills that I’ve authored. Hopefully a couple will survive the committee process.
House Bill 413 – Remove the term stun gun from firearms category.
We all know a stun gun is not a gun nor is it listed in Mississippi law as a deadly weapon. But when the legislature was writing the code for a concealed carry firearm permit they mistakenly added the term stun gun. So there has been confusion about whether a stun gun is legal to carry in Mississippi without a firearms permit. This legislation simply corrects the error and removes it from the concealed carry firearms permit code.
House Bill 668 – Repeal Vagrant and Tramp Laws
Mississippi’s vagrant and tramp laws have been on the books for years and should be removed. These laws have been used in years past as a means to discriminate against individuals. In one Mississippi city homeless citizens have been indiscriminately arrested and jailed not because of any crime committed but simply as a means for a mayor to improve his political standing. Under current law if an individual can not prove to an officer that they have a means of financial support they can be arrested for being a tramp. This laws gives an officer unchecked authority to detain the individual. The individual also loses all rights include the right to possess a firearm without ever committing a crime. While no one wants dangerous people roaming our city streets we also do not want law enforcement to have broad authority to violate our rights. These laws need to be repealed.
House Bill 1018 – Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship Program
I have spent time learning how dyslexia affects many of our children. These children, many extremely bright and academically advanced, are often labeled as slow learners or placed in special education classes because their challenges are not addressed in traditional classrooms. This bill would expand the current Dyslexia Scholarship and give parents the additional option of choosing a school that is either regionally or nationally certified. Under current law the scholarship can only be used at schools accredited by the MS Department of Education. While the intent was to ensure the schools were academically sound, it has eliminated some non-public schools that far exceed the academic standards of our public schools. Last year this bill passed the House Education Committee but because of political pressure from members that have more power than I, it died and was never voted on by the House of Representatives. Due to the work of Sen. Kevin Blackwell a similar bill has been introduced in the Senate, our hope is that by attacking this issue from both sides we can overcome the political pressures that put status quo above students.
House Bill 1432 – Mississippi Firearms Freedom Act
The Firearms Freedom Act challenges the authority of the federal government to regulate and restrict firearms within the state of Mississippi. The federal government does not have any authority to direct what happens within the borders of our state. But they have claimed the authority via the Commerce Clause of the U.S. constitution. The Commerce Clause give the federal government to right to control commerce that takes place between the states (across state lines). But by simply changing the definition of “among” to also include “within” the federal government has taken power away from the states. This bill joins eight (8) other states including Tennessee in challenging the unconstitutional power claimed by the federal government.
Do you believe, as I do, that killing unborn babies is wrong? If so, are you willing to allow your child to be injected with cells from an aborted baby? According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), a significant number of vaccines contain byproducts of aborted babies. People of faith who oppose abortion should not have their children subject to a government forced vaccination.”
People of faith have a constitutional right to freely exercise their religious beliefs and not be compelled by the state government to violate their beliefs. God gave parents, not government, the right to make decisions for their children.
The American Family Association and AFA Action agree and support House bill 1505.