Senate desk mates, now opponents, locked in residency dispute

Two state senators, both Democrats and desk mates in the Senate chamber for the past four sessions, are locked in a legal dispute over residency issues.

Retired Circuit Judge Frank Vollor of Vicksburg, appointed to hear the case, issued a ruling last week that two-term incumbent Bill Stone is a legal resident of Holly Springs in Marshall County and is eligible to compete in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary against first-term incumbent Steve Hale of Senatobia. Vollor’s ruling came after Hale filed a legal challenge to Stone’s residence, saying he lived in Ashland in Benton County, not in Holly Springs.

“I think Sen. Stone has met his burden of proof absolutely he changed his residency to Marshall County and is eligible to run in District 10,” Vollor ruled late last Thursday afternoon after hearing about four hours of testimony at the Hinds County Courthouse.

Hale said he is appealing the decision, asking the state Supreme Court to review Vollor’s ruling.

“We will accept whatever decision comes out of that,” said Hale, who said he was not going to comment further on the issue while it was being ligitated.

Daily Journal
6/23/15