From Your Capitol - Week of January 9
The second week of the 2017 Mississippi Legislature is complete and as always there are surprises in store for the citizens of Mississippi.
As the session continues to move forward we are quickly moving past important deadlines. This week was the last week for legislators to submit ideas for legislation to the House attorneys for drafting.
Some of you may not know how the process of drafting legislation works. As an example I will use one of my bills, HB 633 which holds those who prohibit citizens from carrying a firearm onto their property liable for damages. Last year I read about Tennessee's new law that says if a business prohibits citizens from carrying a firearm for self-defense on their property the business becomes responsible for the protection of their customers. If a customer is harmed because they were unable to protect themselves, then the business becomes liable and can be sued for damages. After reading Tennessee's new law I took the Tennessee law to a House attorney and we discussed how this could be applied to Mississippi. The attorney then drafted the legislation and after several rewrites and more discussion we finally produced a bill that applied my idea to Mississippi law.
Once I had an acceptable bill I began the process of convincing other Representatives to become co-sponsors. I have spent quite a bit of time tracking down other legislators and discussing my bill. Some immediately agree with the concept and sign on as co-sponsors while others want more time to research and contemplate how the bill affects citizens. My goal is to have as many other legislators sign onto my bill as possible because this helps convince leadership of its importance. Remember, as I'm doing this with my bill there are 121 other legislators doing the same with their bills. This can create quite a frenzy around the capitol.
January 16th is the deadline for legislators to submit bills so the Speaker can assign them to a committee for review.
Here is a list of legislation that I have either sponsored or co-sponsored;
HB 584Welfare Policy Institute within the IHL board; repeal.
01/13 (H) Referred To Universities and Colleges Hopkins
HB 633Firearms prohibition; create cause of action against property owners with.
01/13 (H) Referred To Judiciary A Criswell
HB 746Stun gun; remove the term from the firearms category.
01/13 (H) Referred To Judiciary B Criswell
There are several more bills that I have co-sponsored that will be submitted before the deadline and one bill that I sponsored that is still awaiting a committee assignment.
Internet Sales Tax
There has been discussion around the capitol of finding a way to get more money from Mississippi residents who shop online. This topic is not new, federal legislators have been trying for years to find a way to take more money from citizens through an internet sales tax. The federal Marketplace Fairness Act estimates that it could take as much as $23 billion away from consumers if they could figure out how to implement a national internet sales tax. Not wanting to be out done, state legislators are trying to figure out how to take more money from you to fill the state coffers. Some estimate that the state could take as much as $134 million more from its citizens if it could just figure out how to get between you and online retailers.
This week House Bill 480 was introduced and assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill would redefine "persons doing business in this state" and "persons maintaining a place of business within this state" to include out-of-state. That's right, "in this state" and "within this state" would now mean out-of-state. Only a politician could think this makes sense. According to the U.S. Supreme Court states do not have the authority to tax a person or business that is not located within its borders, so what's the way around that, redefine the meaning of within the state. This is by far one of the dumbest pieces of legislation I've seen come thorough the House.
Campaign Finance Reform
On Wednesday, the Rules Committee introduced House Bill 479, which defines and outlines usage guidelines for campaign contributions by any elected official or candidate. The bill prohibits the personal use of campaign contributions and provides acceptable options for how to use leftover money at the conclusion of an elected official or candidate’s service or campaign. Enforcement of this legislation would be overseen by the Mississippi Ethics Commission (MSEC). The bill passed by a vote of 102-13 and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.
Visiting Your Capitol
I was pleased to see Olive Branch Mayor Scott Phillips, several Olive Branch Aldermen, and the Olive Branch fire chief at the capitol this week. After dealing with some of the officials from other cities around the state, I can not express how pleased I am with the leadership of Olive Branch. We have a great team of conservative minded leaders in our city.
Also visiting the capitol this week was the Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights. These parents are fighting against a government and industry bureaucracy that cares little about the health and wellbeing of our children. No government official should have the authority to force you to inject something into your child without your approval.
If you have not seen the movie Vaxxed, I recommend you watch it on YouTube.