Year in Review

So. . .we’ve gotten to the end of the semester–and the end of the 2016 legislative session in Mississippi, though there’s a chance the governor will call a special session if finances continue to dwindle. Here’s Geoff Pender’s summary of our legislature’s body of work this time around. Your thoughts are welcome.

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10 Responses to Year in Review

  1. Maggie Ford says:

    I believe that it is a good idea for the superintendent to be appointed rather than elected. As pointed out in the article, this will eliminate many of the political aspects of public education. House Bill 1523, however, is not helping Mississippi compete with other states. This bill makes our state appear as very stubborn and close-minded. Many people were even cancelling trips to Mississippi to show their opposition to the bill. Our state’s reputation is bad enough; this bill is just another reason to dislike Mississippi. The passage of this bill is a step away from progress for our state.

  2. Mary Lee says:

    School superintendents been appointed will more than likely improve school systems. My home school’a superintendent was not qualified. In fact, he got arrested last August. With them being appointed, they can screen for well qualified individuals that truly want the best for the school district. I am pretty much indifferent on the House Bill 1523, but I have not read much into it. However, why force someone to give a service that is against their religious belief? Why would you want to provide your money and business to a service that doesn’t support you? Just food for thought..

    • Baili Zhong says:

      Denying services to someone because of your religious beliefs does not justify treating another human unfairly. Furthermore, the vague language of the law (e.g. “shall take all necessary steps to ensure that the authorization and licensing of any legally valid marriage is not impeded or delayed as a result of any recusal” ) seems to defeat the purpose of the Supreme Court rulting that guaranteed a right to same-sex marriage. There are no clear punishments and thus, enforcements if a clerk chose not to marry someone or if no one else in the company chose not to either. In other words, is this law even constitutional?

      • Mary Lee says:

        Im interpreting the example you gave as that if someone refuses, they will take all measures to make sure they find someone that will. I will agree that it is vague, but is this not ensuring that someone WILL marry them, but they cant force someone who doesnt believe it is right? How is it unconstitutional to not force someone to go against their religious beliefs? They can just come to the episcopal church, we except everyone 🙂

  3. Jenny Nguyen says:

    “For a state desperate for economic development and jobs,” I don’t feel as though Mississippi legislature has made the right choice by passing House Bill 1523. My first issue with it is that the church and the state are to be separated. At least, that’s how our founding fathers intended it to be. The Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Judging from the article, the bill was passed in “an attempt to protect Christian business owners, clergy and government officials from being forced to provide services for gay weddings.” This bill places preferential bias on the Christian religion, making it seem as though the Christian religion is far more important than any other religion. What law is there to protect Atheists? Buddhists? Muslims? The bill is just a justification for people to use as a means of discrimination to other religions, and I don’t agree with its passing. I do believe that every person on this earth has the right to freely exercise their religion, and if Christian business owners decide that they would not like to serve some people, then that is their choice. However, the bill is unnecessary because promotes discrimination and hate among our citizens. How would someone’s sexual orientation affect the way you treat them as a person or a customer? Are they not people with feelings and a heart? In light of the upcoming presidential election, combined with this bill, it seems as though the United States is spiraling into a hole filled with hate and prejudice.

    Concerning the appointment of school superintendents, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, what the article said was true. “Supporters say this will allow districts to hire the most qualified administrators instead of having those who live in the district and are willing to run for office.” However, I feel as though this is just another outlet for political corruption. Someone could be appointed simply because they have ties whoever is appointing them, which isn’t fair to those who truly want the job.

    My last point is that the healthcare system in Mississippi has to approve. The health department budget cuts are quite unbelievable, actually. Dr. Currier is in charge of the state Department of Health, and she states that, “The department had already ‘sent home’ 64 clinical staff and 19 environmentalists and left 89 positions vacant because of previous cuts and shortfalls.” How do we expect to care for the state’s ever-growing impoverished population with budget cuts like this? These budget cuts not only cuts the spending, but also cuts the quality of care that the staff can provide to the patient. The health departments will be short on staff, and when you’re short on staff, you begin to do things much faster to counteract the lack of personnel. But with great speed comes the great possibility of making a mistake. The health of thousands of lives are on the line, and if that isn’t enough to convince the legislature, I don’t know what will.

    • Jenny Nguyen says:

      I forgot to add this in my previous blog but I honestly believe the real question is that aside from marriages, how does a person’s sexual orientation have to do with serving them as a customer or treating them as a person? Why should anyone be denied service because of their orientation? For example, take the archetype (or stereotype) of a homosexual man. What if someone possess all of the outward appearances of a homosexual, but is actually not? What if that’s just his fashion sense or the way they act? Does the owner of the Christian business have enough evidence to refuse service to this person? Is appearance enough? The point that I’m trying to make is that how could anyone refusing service provide evidence of homosexuality if the customer isn’t with his/her partner?

  4. Tehya Collier says:

    I believe superintendent’s should be appointed by the state and not elected by the people of towns. This would ensure qualifications of the person and decrease the amount of nonsense that occurs in schools due to administration. I’ve seen a lot of schools go down because of their leadership. The House Bill 1523, is simply discrimination. I’m not sure how it passed, but it did and now Mississippi has taken another step back in society. This is basically a law that bans people for being themselves and should be outlawed.

  5. Laurel Yarborough says:

    I agree with Maggie and Jenny on the subject of House Bill 1523. It is a huge step backward for Mississippi. Mississippians are becoming more ignorant to change in a changing society. According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are over 9 million LGBT people living in the U.S. and 19% of same-sex couples are raising children. According to the New York Times, in 2014, Mississippi had the highest percentage in the nation of same-sex couples raising children (29%). You would think that a state that has a large percentage of LGBT people and couples, that they government would be protecting their rights as U.S. citizens. Your religion should not affect how you treat other human beings, and your sexual orientation should not affect how you are treated.

  6. Jasmine Topps says:

    First off, the House Bill 1523 is a step back for Mississippi, as Maggie stated in her post, and I am actually very disappointed in the way Mississippi has decided to handle this issue considering we are in America, which built on freedom of expression. With that being said, each and every state should accept this part of an amendment and realize that a state cannot deny a person a right given to them when they live in the land of the free. Secondly, my take on the budget cuts for next year is that Gunn maybe acted too quickly in the sense of not thinking long term or about all the fields that would be hurt by his haste.

  7. Angella Osinde says:

    I am very concerned about this statement,
    “…Legislature passed the largest — $415 million — tax cuts in state history. But the cuts will be delayed, in deference to drastic revenue shortfalls, and phased in over the next decade.”
    and agree with this statement:
    “Opponents argued …revenue is in a slump in part because of more than $350 million in tax cuts lawmakers passed in recent years and that cutting more would dig the hole deeper.”

    MSMS is a treasure to MSMS and passing tax cuts – for a state funded school- puts not just MSMS in danger. There’s needs to be in a shift in the negative connotation with taxes – How else are we going to grow MS’s education system?

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