The good, the bad and the unnecessary

Published 10:30 am Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wednesday marked the latest deadline during the current session of the Mississippi Legislature. Here’s a look at the status of selected bills, with info from the Associated Press, and our brief thoughts on them — good, bad or unnecessary.

SENT TO THE GOVERNOR

• SB 2438 — All school superintendents would be appointed after the current four-year term, eliminating the election of superintendents in 55 districts, including Lincoln County. Good.

• SB 2366 —  Would include cellular telephones in a state law that bans unwanted telemarketing calls. Good.

STILL ALIVE

• HB 786 — Houses of worship could designate members to undergo firearms training and carry guns to protect the congregation. Also would make it legal to carry concealed weapons in holsters without a permit and say that the Mississippi Constitution overrides federal administrative rules. Some good, some bad.

• HB 519 — A commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure, dilation and evacuation, would be banned. Courts have already blocked similar laws that Kansas and Oklahoma enacted in 2015. Good.

• SB 2237— The names of employees and family members at an execution, as well as the pharmacy providing lethal drugs, would be kept secret. Bad.

• SB 2161 — Charter schools, operated by nonprofit groups separate from other public schools, could accept students from other school districts. Bad as written.

• HB 1151— Would raise the price of hunting and fishing licenses by 20 percent or more, requiring the money be used to hire and equip game wardens. Good.

• HB 578 — People would be immune from civil or criminal penalties in Mississippi for making good-faith reports to law enforcement officers if they suspect others are planning terroristic acts. Good.

• SB 2238 —The state Medicaid program would have to stop spending any money with Planned Parenthood, even if it’s only a few hundred dollars a year. Unnecessary.