The House met as a whole throughout the week to discuss bills that made it out of committees and onto the calendar. Thursday, Feb. 9, was the deadline for representatives to discuss House Bills. Any bills that were not discussed by Thursday died on the calendar.
Back the Badge Act
House Bill 645, known as the Back the Badge Act, sparked a lengthy discussion among House members. The act increases penalties for violent crimes committed against law enforcement officers, first responders and emergency medical technicians. Many representatives expressed that, while they support protecting officers, they also want to see more done in regards to holding officers accountable for the fair treatment of all citizens. The bill passed by a vote of 85-31. I voted for the bill.
The death penalty became a topic of discussion at the introduction of House Bill 638. The bill revises the methods by which the death penalty can be carried out. In the event that lethal injection is deemed unusable, the death penalty could be carried out by use of a gas chamber, a firing squad or electrocution. Supporters say this is necessary to ensure that the death penalty can be carried out by giving alternatives in case one or more methods is blocked or appealed. Those opposed to the bill say the alternatives offered are too extreme and inhumane. The bill passed by a vote of 74-44. I voted for the bill.
Seat Belt Passenger Requirement
House Bill 539 would require passengers in the back seat of the car to wear a seat belt. The bill passed by a vote of 76-40. I voted against the bill.
Rivers McGraw Act
The Rivers McGraw Act passed the House this week in the form of House Bill 1089. This bill states that within eight hours of the arrest of someone under the age of 21, law enforcement officers must make reasonable efforts to notify parents before releasing the minor. This bill was requested by the parents of Rivers McGraw, a college student who took his own life after being released from an arrest for substance abuse. The measure passed unanimously.
I would like to thank the people of District 35 for allowing me the opportunity to serve. If you have any questions or need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. You can contact me at the Capitol at P. O. Box 1018, Jackson, Mississippi 39215 or call (601) 359-3339. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.