Rep. Patricia Willis Statement on the “Open Carry” Law

Many people have questioned me about the new “OPEN CARRY” law which was to go into effect on July 1, 2013.

Mississippi has been an “OPEN CARRY” state since November 1, 1890, as provided by our state Constitution. Nothing in that regard has changed. Nothing.

HB2 passed this year only did one thing, it removed the words “concealed in part”. This was to clarify between “open carry” and “concealed carry”. According to the Mississippi Constitution a persons right to open carry “may not be called into question”, however the legislature does have the right to “regulate and forbid concealed carry”.

Rep. Willis, a Republican, was elected a few months ago to replace the late Rep. Jessica Sibley Upshaw.

Political Power Player: Rep. Brad Mayo

In our latest segment of our “Power Player’s” series, we interviewed Rep. Brad Mayo of Oxford. Rep. Mayo was one of the Republican holdouts during the charter schools debate before finally supporting the legislation.

While only serving in his first term in the state house, Brad is no newcomer to politics having previously served as an alderman in Oxford and in the Barbour administration as a special projects director. He replaced longtime Oxford legislator Noal Akins who retired in 2011 after serving two terms. I gained a great deal of respect for Brad during the charter schools debate. Although he eventually supported the legislation, Rep. Mayo was one of the few GOP members who took the input from the charter school opponents in his district seriously as it related to his vote.

Check out our Interview with Rep. Brad Mayo

1) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Why did you run for the legislature?

Rep. Mayo: My father always taught me: you can’t complain if you aren’t willing to do it to yourself. I have always believed that north Mississippi offers a valuable perspective for Mississippi – quality education, strong community involvement, and fiscal prudence. I was serving as an alderman and was encouraged to replace our retiring representative. Mississippi was at a critical juncture and I wanted to make sure that our perspective was effectively shared.

2) MSPOLITICALPULSE: What are your top 3 legislative priorities?

Rep. Mayo: I want parents to be able to go to sleep at night knowing that in the morning their children will get a quality education while the parents are working quality jobs. They can be subject to a chicken and the egg argument, but education and economic development are my top priorities. We cannot operate a good educational system nor have private sector development without a sound budget. So, developing a prudent and sustainable budget is imperative.

3) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Who is your political role model? And why?

Rep. Mayo: I don’t have one. I can only be me. I am a student of history and I admire John Adams’ integrity and intelligence, Teddy Roosevelt’s zeal, George Washington’s discipline and foresight, Winston Churchill’s confidence, and Dwight Eisenhower’s dedication to service and focus on the essentials of government. Of course, my old boss Haley Barbour taught me quite a few lessons on the practicalities of governing and team-building. The one person that I do seek to emulate is my father. He made his own way in the world, loves his family, serves his community, and always treats others with kindness. I’m blessed to have had such a father.

4) MSPOLITICALPULSE: How will you work across the aisle to gain bipartisan support for your initiatives?

Rep. Mayo: Being successful in nearly any venture is about developing and maintaining personal relationships built upon trust and mutual goals. The legislature is no different. If you work with people and don’t care about the credit, you can achieve a lot. I’m very proud to have been able to do that to improve some pieces of legislation that will greatly benefit Mississippians. I have been glad to see that others feel the same way. Acrimony makes for better media, but teamwork is thankfully alive and well.

5) MSPOLITICALPULSE: In what way(s) will you take the lead in working to bring economic development and jobs to your district?

Rep. Mayo: As an alderman, I served on the project team for the Winchester Ammunition re-location that produced 1,000 new jobs. This past year, I handled a headquarters expansion act which was immediately utilized by FNC – a tech company in my hometown. The bill led to a large number of very high-paying jobs as the company expands into international markets. I am working with elected and economic development officials at home and in Jackson to continue to expand and diversify Lafayette County’s economy. We’ll see what shakes out.

6) MSPOLITICALPULSE: Were you satisfied with this past legislative session?

Rep. Mayo: While it wasn’t perfect, I was satisfied with the session. Because of what we did this past session, hundreds of thousands of children in Mississippi will receive a better education than under the previous framework. Those in communities that fail to provide a quality education will now have a chance to get one. Those struggling to read will now receive more intensive instruction. I am also proud that the IHL appropriation is now more equitable – which will lead to about $3 million more for Ole Miss this year. I was disappointed that a bill I wrote that would evaluate our tax incentive system was hung up for technical implementation reasons. I look forward to working with the appropriate agencies to pass it next session.

Also, if revenues continue their slow but steady ascent, I will push for most of it to be allocated for educational funding. An upward economic cycle is the best time to re-shape the budget to fit our priorities – as opposed to the triage of the past 5 or so years.

7) MSPOLITICALPULSE: What are two things that are special about District 12 that you thing people should know?

Rep. Mayo: District 12 is evolving rapidly. My children are growing up in a much different place than the sleepy town of my youth. After decades of nearly no population growth, we have almost doubled in the past 20 years. That growth is among retirees and people moving to work in manufacturing, health care, technology, finance, hospitality, and for a number of state agencies located here. They are all attracted by the same thing: quality of life and an emphasis on education.

That bears out a second unique characteristic of my district – its diversity. District 12 still has the same people of my youth – people that you would find in any small town district in the state. They are typical north Mississippi residents – understated; hard-working; self-reliant; quick to volunteer; and for the most part socially conservative. Meanwhile, we have a developing Oxford that includes northern and western retirees, a number of NFL players, Hollywood transplants, and young Mississippi families seeking quality jobs and schools. It can be boiled down to a slightly oversimplified “new Oxford” and “old Oxford” – and they can have different expectations of what they want which can play out in politics.

Rep. Mayo is a Republican member of the house and currently sits on the education, fees and salaries of public officers, insurance, medicaid, public health and human services, universities and colleges and ways and means committees. He and his wife, Kathleen, reside in Oxford with their 3 children.

Rep. Billy Broomfield Resigns House Seat

State Rep. Billy Broomfield, who has represented House District 110 since 1991, has turned in his resignation paperwork in to Gov. Bryant and he has officially resigned as of today.

Broomfield, who defeated incumbent Aneice Liddell and other contenders for the mayor’s post, will be sworn into office tomorrow afternoon. “After 22 years as a representative, it’s something that I’ve grown accustomed to and I’ve put a lot of time, sweat and tears into,” he said Friday afternoon. “I hate to leave it, but I believe the city of Moss Point needs my leadership.”

The governor will set a special election to fill the remaining two years of Broomfield’s term in the House.

“I thank the Lord for allowing me to have the opportunity to gain years of experience in the state,” he said. “And I’ve met a lot of different people, which has given me connections that could help my city. It’s really a win-win.”

State GOP Needs to Get Real: Wyatt Emmerich

Published in the Picayune Item on 6/21/2013 See Link of Emmerich’s Op Ed

We lost. We lost in the U. S. Senate. We lost in the U. S. House of Representatives. President Obama signed the legislation into law.Republican candidate Mitt Romney made the repealing of Obamacare a centerpiece of his campaign. We lost yet again. It is time our state Republican leaders acknowledge reality and begin making plans for the accommodation of Obamacare. To do otherwise would be irresponsible.

No doubt, Philip Gunn, Tate Reeves and Phil Bryant don’t want to taint their conservative credentials, but sometimes you have to be a statesman and not just a politician. A billion dollars is a lot of money to turn away on principle. Make no mistake: Turning down the billion dollars will not save Mississippians one penny in federal taxes. We’ve already paid the money to the IRS. The only question is whether we will let the feds send a billion of that money back to Mississippi to help working families afford health care.

The Republicans don’t seem to have any problem giving special tax breaks to mega corporations. So much for free market principles. So here we are. Mississippi, which represents one percent of the nation, is going to stand up to the United States of America and refuse to implement The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Haven’t we seen this show before? Don’t we know how it ends?

If I were dictator, our nation would have an excellent network of charity clinics and hospitals for the poor and the rest of the health care industry would be completely based on the free market. But it is not so and no amount of wishing otherwise will change this one bit. Can somebody please explain this to our governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house? It’s called the Sixteenth Amendment, allowing for a federal income tax. It was passed in 1913. Two-thirds majority of both the U. S. House and Senate voted for it. Then three-fourths of our state legislatures ratified it, including Mississippi. Finally, President William Taft, a Republican, signed the amendment into law.

The income tax gives the federal government the right to take our money. End of story. They don’t have to give it back. That’s real power.If we don’t like it, we have only one other option. That didn’t end well either. Mississippi lost 6,807 men in the Civil War, including my great great great grandfather Rob Robson. The opponents of Obamacare warn that it’s a fool’s game of bait and switch. They argue that the federal government will be broke soon and Mississippi will have to one day foot the bill. Please. The United States is the richest, most powerful country in the world and it prints the world currency.

It is not going broke. And even if it does, why not take the billion dollars a year while it lasts. Think about it. If someone offered you a billion dollars a year for three years, would you turn it down because they might not give you a full billion dollars in the fourth year? Of course not. You’d take the money while it lasted. This is not rocket science. This billion dollars would have a huge effect on the growth and prosperity of Mississippi. This money would fund hospitals, clinics, physicians and the entire health care industry in our state. In many Mississippi towns, the hospital is the biggest employer.

Mississippi’s Republican leaders think nothing of giving millions to mega corporations in the name of job creation, yet they turn down a billion dollar economic windfall for our medical industry. There is now an alternative to a simple expansion of Medicaid and further federal intrusion. Mississippi Democrats recently held a press conference at the state capitol announcing they would agree to use the federal money to subsidize private medical insurance. All the details have not been worked out, but the feds are actively working with several states to implement this alternative. Working families would get federal subsidies to buy private health insurance.

This is a real compromise. The state’s Democrats have shown a way to resolve this stalemate. So far, the response from our Republican leadership is nothing but dead silence

Mike’s “Stormy” Monday Missive and Medicaid

Stormy Monday Blues

I’m sure by now you’ve heard but on Sunday evening, we lost a musical icon in that of the late Bobby “Blue” Bland. For those that know me, know that politics is my preferred passion but at heart and most important is my love for classic rhythm and blues and classic soul. My collections include some of the greatest of all times as well as many of the lesser known artists who never saw mainstream success beyond a hit or two.

Bobby “Blue” Bland was one of the greats as far as i’m concerned and his string of hits include: Stormy Monday, If you’re gonna walk on my love, Member’s Only and Ain’t nothing you can do. He passed away yesterday in Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 83

Bobby Bland featuring Johnnie Taylor and Bobby Rush singing “Stormy Monday” and “Goin’ Down Slow”

God speed to the “lion of the blues”!

Medicaid Special Session Set

Gov. Phil Bryant has called a special session to consider the reauthorization and funding of Medicaid. The session has been called for 10 a.m. Thursday. According to sources, the governor will include two proposed bills in the call for the special session. The bills will mirror House bills from last session, which did not include the full code section for Medicaid. Without the full code section in a bill, lawmakers will not be able to amend Medicaid with expansion. In a special session, lawmakers can only consider what the governor places in the call.

What is noticeable is the Medicaid expansion is not likely to be on the table which will make for interesting political theater on Thursday!

Congressman Thompson: Praises Arizona Decision; Hopes Courts Shoot Down Voter ID Laws

Thompson: Praises Arizona decision; hopes courts shoot down voter ID laws: Clarion Ledger

Secretary of state Delbert Hosemann says a U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down an Arizona law has no bearing on Mississippi’s pending voter ID law.

“Mississippi uses the federal form for voter registration developed by the (Election Assistance Commission) which does not require documentary proof of citizenship,” said Hosemann spokeswoman Pamela Weaver. “The EAC form only requires the applicant state, under penalty of perjury, that he or she is a U.S. Citizen. Therefore, this ruling has no effect on Mississippi.”

But U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson praised the Arizona decision and said he hopes the courts shoot down “burdensome” voter ID laws, which Thompson equated to “a modern-day poll tax.”

The high court on Monday issued a ruling against Arizona’s law, passed as a ballot initiative by voters in 2004, would invalidate a federal voter registration form accepted by all states. The form requires those registering to vote swear they are U.S. citizens. The Arizona law required proof, such as a birth certificate or passport.

Mississippi’s voter ID law, approved by voters in a November 2011 referendum, is awaiting clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice. DOJ has blocked voter ID measures in South Carolina and Texas, and they have been appealed to federal court. Hosemann has said DOJ appears set against any voter ID measures and Mississippi’s will likely be decided in court as well. Hosemann said Mississippi’s law takes into account many of the legal issues other states have faced and avoids those pitfalls.

This issue has been debated for years in Mississippi. Opponents say requiring identification at polls will intimidate and disenfranchise some voters. Supporters say it will prevent voter fraud.

“Although (the Arizona) decision is a step in the right direction, in 2012, dozens of states passed burdensome laws making voting more difficult and continue to introduce more this year,” Thompson said. “With the Supreme Court’s looming decision on the Voting Rights Act, I urge the court to continue to preserve our democracy and the most basic rights of our American citizens.”

In November 2011, Mississippi voters approved a voter ID referendum 62 percent to 38 percent.

Hosemann and other supporters of voter ID say that people have to show identification routinely in modern life and doing so to vote does not place a burden on voters. Hosemann during the 2012 federal elections conducted a poll of 6,000 Mississippi voters and found that only .8 percent did not have an ID when they voted.

Quote of the Day: Frank Corder of Ya’ll Politics

….and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free!

“Unfortunately, municipal governance can be tougher for the GOP because, you see, at the local level, even the staunchest conservative won’t complain about government spending or over reach if streets are paved, flowers are planted, and private property blight is aggressively pursued. They will support smoking bans locally while crying foul at even a hint of legislation nationally aimed at usurping their individual liberty. They will freely take grant money for local initiatives while complaining about budget deficits on the state and national levels. They will support higher taxes on specific service industries and back “build it and they will come” projects while complaining about the same practices in the state capitol and in Congress. It’s as if conservatives often lose their focus in their own backyard. “

Frank said this in his latest post Democrats pickup mid-term gains in Municipalities on Ya’ll Politics. Having been a candidate himself, he’s well aware of the complexities of the rhetoric meeting the realities. Conservatives love big government when it benefits them, their businesses, their communities and their bottom lines.

Battle Tested Mayor DuPree Has Prevailed in Hattiesburg

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree looks on as the vote count continues

Unoffical results show Mayor Johnny DuPree with 4,775 votes to his opponent Dave Ware’s 4,738. 37 votes separate the two candidates. I am glad to see our 2011 Democratic nominee for governor and standard bearer prevailing.

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree is still locked in a battle of survival down in the Hub City. After 8 hours of reviewing affidavit ballots from city voting precincts, a group of ballots not properly filled out has halted the city election commission from reaching a final count in the Hattiesburg mayoral race.

According to reports, 40 affidavit ballots were accepted accepted, 56 were rejected and 19 were sat aside for further review. After all of the absentee ballots were reviewed, Mayor DuPree moved ahead of Independent Ward 4 Councilman David Ware by 33 votes.

We will update.