/Mississippi Legislature 2020 Election challenge, prison unrest greet lawmakers at start of session

Mississippi Legislature 2020 Election challenge, prison unrest greet lawmakers at start of session

House Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton), was elected to his third term. He named a committee of five members to address the challenge to House District 40 in DeSoto County. Hester Jackson McCray, a Democrat, defeated Ashley Henley, a Republican by 14 votes in Southaven-based District. However Henley challenged the results claiming voter irregularities. The state Constitution grants the two chambers the power to resolve election disputes. Henley stated in an interview that she hadn’t heard from the speaker’s staff about the details of the challenge, but that she would stay in Jackson “as long it takes” to resolve the matter. Henley stated that her outlook is that truth matters above all else. “We’ll be watching,” Rep. Rob Roberson (R-Starkville). It will also include Rep. Nick Bain (R-Corinth), Rep. Willie Bailey (D-Greenville), Rep. Becky Currie (R-Brookhaven) and Rep. Hank Zuber (R-Ocean Springs). Roberson said that the committee would be fair and even-handed, and that they would be transparent. He expressed the hope that the process could be completed and that the committee would make a recommendation to the House for it to consider. Roberson stated that the House will vote on the recommendations within three to four week. Jackson McCray stated that, despite being four Republicans on the committee, he believes it will be fair. I give them the benefit of doubt.” As the Legislature met inside the Capitol, Jackson McCray said that “I think it is going to be a fair process.” A group of concerned parents, spouses, and advocates for people held in Mississippi’s correctional institutions gathered outside the building on High Street to protest the recent violence within the state’s prisons and jails. The Department of Corrections declared a state lockdown after at least five Mississippi inmates were murdered in three correctional facilities. Three of the victims were found dead at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, Parchman. There are graphic videos and images of violence that have been posted on social media. More than 50 protestors gathered at the Capitol Tuesday in support of loved ones. Many displayed signs that included handwritten messages such as “MDOC, where’s my husband?” Many shared their stories and held signs with handwritten phrases — “MDOC, where is my husband?” Gunn stated that he had been in touch with the outgoing governor. Phil Bryant spoke out about prison issues. Gunn stated, “As I understand the situation, it’s an urgent matter.” “But, from what I understand, the situation is under control right now. Protesters denied that statement. Lea Campbell from the Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign stated, “We are here today because we are fed-up and will not tolerate the inhumane system that our state has permitted.” “The state wants to make you believe that everything is under control right now after the lockdown last week. But we are here today to speak truth to power. MDOC’s prisons have never had any type of control. The group presented a list of demands that included “humane, constitutional prison conditions”, such as safe drinking water, living conditions, and transparent communication between MDOC and the state with taxpayers and advocates, families, and families. Delbert Hosemann, Secretary of State, will be sworn into office on Thursday as lieutenant Governor. He said Tuesday that he visited Parchman over the weekend in order to get a firsthand look at the issues the Legislature may need to address during this session. Hosemann will not be sworn into office as lieutenant governor until two days after that, but he presided over the House in his current capacity as secretary of state.
Hosemann addressed the House members before Gunn was elected as the speaker. He touched on tensions between the Senate and House over the eight years he served as Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves was the Senate’s chief executive and promised a better working relationship for the next term. Hosemann stated, “I respect each one of you.” “In this building there’s a Rotunda. Sometimes it has been more of an obstacle. To bridge the gap, architects designed two walkways around this rotunda. These walkways will be my main source of transportation for the next four years. I look forward to meeting each of you on that walkway… I’m so looking forward to a bright and constructive future.” To support this work, you can make a regular donation to our Spring Member Drive. This will allow us to continue important work such as this one. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.