Rep. Dana Criswell - At Your Capitol, Week of February 29
This week at your capitol was very different than the previous week. Speaker Gunn and the Black Democrat Caucus had worked out a compromise and we got down to the business of debating proposed legislation. We returned Monday at 2 pm and worked until 7 pm that evening, and by Friday we had voted on over 218 bills.
There has been a huge learning curve for me as I've worked through this process, I've learned that there are parliamentary procedures and tactics that members can use to force more discussion or to help move a bill quickly to a final vote. One tactic is to hold a bill on a motion to reconsider.
Once a bill passes, any member can have a bill held on motion to reconsider, which stops the bill from being immediately transmitted to the Senate. The bill must be taken up again the next day by the House, which gives the member who made the motion another opportunity to rally opposition to the bill.
It then becomes the committee chairman's responsibility to decide what to do with the bill.
The chairman has a couple of options;
he can open the bill to be reconsidered which allows more debate and even the opportunity for members to amend the bill and finally vote again on the bill, or
he could motion to table the motion to reconsider, which would allow the original vote to stand. If the chairman chooses this route members have five minutes to speak about why they think the bill should be reconsidered, then the members vote, usually by voice vote, on the motion to table.
This is where it often gets confusing, if a member wants to reconsider the bill they must vote Against the motion to table which then allows the bill to be reconsidered.
Some of the legislation discussed this week include:
House Bill 571 clarifies the meaning of courthouse and courtroom for the purpose of carrying firearms. As many of us know, people with enhanced concealed carry licenses can carry in a courthouse but not in a courtroom when a proceeding is in session. But anti-gun judges have attempted to define a courtroom as the entire building, some even including parking lots and streets. The legislation defined as the actual room in which judicial proceedings occurs and includes jury rooms, witness rooms, judge's rooms and office rooms. The bill passed by a vote of 78-42.
House Bill 782 prohibits the enforcement of executive orders relating to firearms. This bill is an attempt to protect the people of Mississippi from a president like Obama who ignores our constitution and tries to circumvent Congress. The bill passed by a vote of 75-46.
House Bill 938 authorizes medical exemptions for vaccinations. Current law permits physicians to exempt children from vaccines if they pose a risk to the child's health. However, the Department of Health has the ability to override the doctors advice and require the child be vaccinated. There are countless examples of the MS Department of Health ignoring the advice of a child's doctor and forcing the child to be vaccinated. This bill requires that the Department of Health adhere to the advice of the child's doctor. Opponents to this bill stated on the House floor that they believed children should be treated with a "herd mentality", meaning they believed everyone should be required to take the shots even if some were injured. They apparently are willing to sacrifice a few children because they think it would be better for the rest. Forty-seven other states allow the child's doctor to exempt the child from specific vaccines, and there has been no negative health effects on the other children, I am glad Mississippi is joining those other states. The bill passed by a vote of 65-54.
House Bill 1531 discontinues the use of the Mississippi Statewide Teacher Appraisal Rubric (MSTAR). Enactment of this measure requires local districts to create a teacher evaluation system. The bill passed by a vote of 112-4.
Visiting Your Capitol I am proud to help moms like Lauren from Desoto County in their fight to protect their children from harmful vaccines.
Ray Laughter and his daughter visited the capitol this week, it's always nice to see folks from Desoto County at the capitol.