Bill Minor: Lawmaker derails good bills, dodges blame

A past master at monkey wrench throwing is Republican Rep. Bill Denny of Jackson, who at 84 is believed to be the oldest member of the Legislature.

Last week, an apparent unrepentant Denny weighed in as an advocate for a lifesaving law to bar motorists from texting while driving. A year ago, he scuttled the same measure with a trick maneuver on the session’s final day.

In 2014, the measure had cleared a joint House-Senate conference committee and was seemingly headed to the desk of Gov. Phil Bryant, who backed the anti-texting law as part of his plan to cut down on highway deaths. Forty-three states already have similar laws.

Lawmakers were already packed and ready to leave for home at the 2014 session. Historically, no floor action is taken in the final four days before the already agreed-to sine die adjournment (official end). Only a bare quorum of House members remained when Denny walked into the chamber and was recognized by Speaker Philip Gunn to make a motion.

Denny knows from his long legislative experience that on the final day of a session a usually routine reconsideration motion on any particular already-passed bill is a killer motion.

Bill Minor
Clarion Ledger