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Chairman Jeff Smith writes to address perception about HB 490
What HB 490 is and isn't
by Rep. Jeff Smith
To all Mississippians, Liberal or Conservative......I would welcome all comments onHouse Bill 490. I wish first of all, people would read the entire piece of Legislation before being critical of it....To compare it with the old "Sovereignty Commission" is like comparing apples and extinct oranges.

For months Mississippians have been complaining about the Federal Government infringing upon our "Constitutional Rights" culminating with the actions contemplated on "weapons or hand guns or similar firearms". I tried to put together something similar to some of our sister States and a total of 37 States within our Republic. None of it is designed to be racist, radical or reactionary, other than a reaction to the seeming autocratic role of the Federal Government. This is much in line with the California governor declaring in 1996 the Federal Motor Voter Bill would not be enforced in California. In addition, states have increasingly begun to refuse Federal Laws in their states, as seen in the Colorado and Washington referendums in November of this past year. The United States Supreme Court has found exercises of power such as this are in line with the 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments, along with Articles II and III of the Constitution. (I would be happy to provide a sampling of the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions in support of this proposed bill)

I proposed a Bill along with my Colleague which stressed Mississippi is a Sovereign State. Secondly, and most importantly the Legislation sets up a Joint Commission or Committee between the Mississippi House and Senate to review Federal Mandates, whether administrative or legislative, and make recommendations to the Full Senate and House as to how, if any, these federal actions are affecting "constitutional rights" of Mississippians. The Committee or Commission has no duties or powers and can only make recommendations to the Legislative Branch, and nothing else. If the Chambers of the Legislature feel the Federal Action is over-reaching and beyond the scope of the Federal Government, in the Opinion of both Chambers of the Legislature, a Resolution could be adopted stating Mississippi will not enforce this mandate. If the Federal Government finds this offensive, it would have to file suit against the State of Mississippi to show the State's actions are inappropriate.

Mostly, it shifts the burden to the Federal Government to prove our State is wrong in its actions. Rather than the method now of the State having to sue the Federal Government to prove their actions are unconstitutional.....in other words be pro-active rather than reactive.

Ladies and Gentleman that is it......is that some "right wing plot, or some racist forum or knee-jerk reactions? I take responsibility for the Legislation, and if anyone can do a better job, so be it. I have taken one approach, if others want to do something else, let them try. Or, do we all want to sit back and whine and complain as we have done for years. By the way, this Joint Committee or Commission in HB 490 has no power other than recommendations. This a group appointed by the Lt. Governor and the Speaker.....6 from each Chamber.

The old Sovereignty Commission created in 1954 thru 1977, had full powers of an investigative/law enforcement agency, with powers to subpoena, wire tap, and do most anything it wanted.

The only similarity between the Commission set up by HB 490, and the Sovereignty Commission is they both begin with the letter "C". Also, Sovereign is mentioned in HB 490 and the old Commission has adjective form of the word, in its title.


Posted January 28, 2013 - 12:55 am

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