Thursday, February 28, 2008
Report from the MS Senate
We had another busy week in the Mississippi Senate this week, passing several bills dealing with illegal immigrants in our state.
The Senate also addressed a loophole in current law, Senate Bill 2566 was passed with the intent of placing all sworn officers in the Department of Public Safety under the same rules governing state troopers. The bill would prohibit any sworn law enforcement officer from engaging in political campaigns either as candidates or by supporting candidates who seek office.
The loophole was made clear last year when a Bureau of Narcotics agent took leave from his job to run for sheriff in Madison County.
Concerning Public Safety, the Senate passed the following bills:
S.B. 2622, which increased the penalty for Home Invasion or Burglary of an Occupied Dwelling.
S.B. 2619 seeks creation of a task force to study the proper preservation of DNA evidence gathered at the scene of a crime.
S.B. 2223 would enhance the penalties for crimes committed against persons 65-years-old or older. It is expected that the bill will be amended to include vulnerable adults such as those who have disabilities. The bill was held on a motion to reconsider.
S.B. 2921 would seek stiffer penalties for persons convicted of multiple killings during a single episode of violence.
All of these matters must next be debated by the House of Representatives who could either vote them up or down. The matters that pass the House will be forwarded to Governor Haley Barbour for his approval or rejection.
The Senate ended the week by passing several Senate Concurrent Resolutions: #564, which commended the life of Marvin “Doug” Sullivan, state office director for Senator Thad Cochran, retired colonel in the Mississippi National Guard and former mayor of Brookhaven. Sullivan died of a heart attack at age 69, on July 11, 2007.
His contributions to the state, his fellow man and to his alma-mater, Delta State University were remembered in the Senate chambers.
Cochran stood with Sullivan’s family as the chamber gave them a standing ovation; and #522, commending the musical contributions of Ike Turner, who is heavily credited with being a pioneer of rock and roll.
Earlier in the week, the Senate honored another of Mississippi’s native sons, by passing Senate Bill 2909, which renamed a stretch of U.S. Highway 84 in Adams County as “Richard Wright Memorial Highway.”
Wright was a world-renowned author who was born on a plantation, the grandson of a slave who went on to earn praise from the literary world for his first novel, Native Son, which he published in 1940.
Wright was an African American author whose works touched the imagination of the world, sometimes bringing praise and at other times generating controversy.
Wright’s works included Uncle Tom’s Children, published in 1938, which fictionalized the lynchings of the early 1900s that were common throughout the Deep South. The controversial author died in 1960, at the age of 52.
District 37 Senator Bob Dearing authored the bill in collaboration with State Representative Robert L. Johnson III of Natchez introducing an identical companion measure in the House.
I can be reached at the Capitol while in session at (601) 359-3770, by cell phone at (662) 224-4126 or by e-mail at: email@example.com. The Senate mailing address is P.O. Box 1018, Jackson, MS 39215.
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