JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi defied the union during the Civil War and civil rights era, and at least two lawmakers think it is time to do so again.
Republican state Reps. Gary Chism and Jeff Smith, both of Columbus, filed a bill this month to form the Joint Legislative Committee on the Neutralization of Federal Laws.
Chism said Thursday that the tea party-backed measure is a response to President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul and proposals to curb gun violence.
“Certainly, the Obamacare started this,” Chism told The Associated Press, referring to the health care plan, “but then gun show loopholes that the president wanted after Newtown really put an exclamation on that — that we need to do something to stand up for the Tenth Amendment.”
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says powers not specifically reserved for the federal government are reserved for the states.
House Constitution Committee Chairman Scott DeLano, R-Biloxi, said the bill has a good chance of being debated and that he has heard from other lawmakers who support it.
But Mississippi College constitutional law professor Matt Steffey said the measure is a waste of time because federal law trumps state law when the two are in conflict.
“It is hard to imagine a less productive use of time by key legislative officials than to pursue that which they have no power to pursue,” Steffey said.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant last week asked legislators to block enforcement of “any unconstitutional order” from Obama regarding guns.
Mississippi has resisted federal laws as far back as the Civil War and during the civil rights era. During the 1950s and ’60s, a state agency called the Sovereignty Commission spied on people believed to be sympathetic to racial equality. The agency was dismantled in the late 1970s.
Some critics compare the proposal by Chism and Smith to an attempt to rekindle the Sovereignty Commission.
“It’s absolutely the most horrendous idea that has ever come before this august body,” said Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville. “It’s awful. It is wrongheaded. It is anti-New Testament. It is political fodder for the right and borderline stupid.”
Rep. Kelvin Buck, D-Holly Springs, a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, said he sees the bill as part of a trend of defiance toward federal authority. “I think much of it is because we have an African-American president,” Buck said.
“I think it is outrageous,” Buck said. “In my view, it is taking us back to the pre-civil rights era.”
Chism said the bill is not an attempt to roll back civil rights advances. He also said it is not an attempt to revive the Sovereignty Commission.
“That was an ugly past,” he said. “It ain’t got nothing to do with that.”
Smith did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The Central Mississippi Tea Party said in a news release in December that it wants state lawmakers this year to “re-establish limited federal involvement in Mississippi.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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