/High court denies Hughes request in reading machine suit

High court denies Hughes request in reading machine suit

Jay Hughes, D.Oxford, filed suit March 24, to stop Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) from using a computer program that reads the text of bills at an illegible speed. Hughes’ complaint was filed during the legislative session. He asked for the circuit court to view and listen to an online simulcast of the House session in order to see the rapid pace of the readings. Winston Kidd, Hinds County Circuit Judge, sided with Hughes and issued a temporary restraining or, which immediately compelled the speaker to slow down his automated readings. The state’s highest court, however, dissolved the order without giving any explanation and stayed Kidd’s order. Hughes appealed to the Supreme Court May 6, after the session had ended. He requested that the original complaint’s live simulcast language be replaced with audio recordings. This request was denied by the Supreme Court on Thursday, as it was moot due to the end of the session. On July 19, the court will hear oral arguments from both parties on the larger issue of the use of the reading machine at maximum speeds. Hughes stated Thursday that he was disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision but that he respects the court. “I hope they will understand that the bill-reading machine, which is set at warp speed, is against the constitution, and more importantly, the integrity, of our state capitol. …The truth is that the people have the right to hear and see it. “I think people understand the atrocity of these actions in the court of public opinions.” House rules allow any member to ask the clerk to read the bills aloud. This tactic is used to slow down action in the House. In protest of Gunn’s actions, several Democrats requested that bills be read this year. They argued that Gunn had taken steps to keep them out of the legislative process. Gunn ordered House clerks turn the speed of automated readings up to an incomprehensible level. Gunn was not available for comment on Thursday afternoon._x000D