Published on April 10th, 2016 | by TLV News0
Letter to the Editor: State Representative Jay Hughes
Last week, I filed for an emergency restraining order in Hinds County Circuit Court to require the Mississippi Constitution be followed in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Why? Because Article 4, Section 59 of the Constitution requires all bills be read before they are voted upon. Historically, the clerk has read each bill aloud. However, recently, an electronic device was purchased at taxpayers’ expense to automatically read the bills aloud. The option has been invoked by at least once every session, by both parties.
This session, however, the Speaker has accelerated the reading machine to the highest level, which is faster than any human ear or mind can comprehend. Despite pleas from representatives, the Speaker declared that the Constitution was silent about having to understand the bills, and refused to slow it down to the normal speed.
Right is right and wrong is wrong. This is no different than a bully on a public school playground. The Supreme Court ruled years ago: “The government has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.” There are no greater rights than those afforded in our Constitution.
Multiple bills for over $3 Billion of taxpayer money for education, roads and healthcare have passed along party lines without members being allowed to speak or ask questions. The Education Committee passed seven major bills in less than ten minutes, without so much as a single word or question being posed by anyone outside the committee. I sat in another committee and watched the massive Airport Bill pass in less than one minute. There was no input from experts, and the Chairman refused to recognize a single person to offer amendments.
This isn’t about a political party; it’s about the rule of law. I had take a stand and say: This is not right! Please respect the process and our Constitution. That is why I chose to seek court intervention, in the very same court that the Commissioner of Agriculture did last year.
If you disagree with a part of the Constitution, change it. Don’t just ignore it. I simply refuse to sit idly by and watch a mockery be made of our system of laws and tax dollars in Mississippi by outside money and influence.