HARRISON: Mississippi’s top officials guided ‘conscience’ bill to completion

The bill originated in the House, and after passage there was sent by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate, to the Judiciary A Committee.

On the morning of March 22, the deadline for the Senate Judiciary A Committee to act on the proposal, the panel met and did not take up the bill. Committee Chair Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport, also did not call another meeting.

With no additional meeting scheduled for that deadline day, it appeared the legislation was dead for the 2016 session. But late that afternoon, during a meeting of the full Senate, Tindell unexpectedly called another meeting of Judiciary A.

The bill was taken up late, after 5 p.m., but well before the 8 p.m. deadline for the committee to act. In the committee meeting, Sen. Briggs Hopson, R-Vicksburg, raised numerous questions about the bill. For instance, he pointed out that under the bill the state’s and local government’s sovereign immunities protection would be lifted for those filing lawsuits because they believed they were being forced to provide services for a same-sex marriage despite their religious objections.

Bobby Harrison
4/7/16