A Mississippi representative has a plan to make the statehouse more transparent and more efficient.
So he knows it’s not going to pass.
Rep. Jeramey Anderson, D-Moss Point, is tired of walking into committee hearings and being asked to vote on a bill he’s never read.
“(Lawmakers) are constantly caught off guard by legislation they’ve never seen before but are asked to vote on in minutes,” Anderson said.
Every week during the legislative sessions, committees hold standing meetings to discuss bills and resolutions, but there’s no public agenda posted ahead of time.
That leaves the public — and often lawmakers — in the dark, Anderson said.
“The whole system is inefficient and antiquated,” he said.
Anderson has a simple plan to fix this: Post agendas online 24 hours in advance that say what bills will be discussed.
This resolution would also make the system more efficient, he said.
According to Anderson, problems that could be ironed out in committee hearings often get debated in front of full chambers of the House and Senate.
Sometimes, aspects of bills never get noticed until they become law.
In 2017, the Legislature accidentally legalized sports betting in Mississippi.
The bill didn’t mention sports betting, but it deleted a passage in the Gaming Control Act that prohibited casino wagering on athletic events or any events that don’t take place on a casino’s premises.
Some members were shocked to learn they had legalized sports betting.
Under Anderson’s plan, lawmakers and constituents would have more time to review and read bills as they wend their way through the process.
But he doesn’t expect his plan will be adopted.
“People are really wary of change,” Anderson said, and the current set-up allows the leadership to “fast-track” legislation.
When asked if he knew whether the House Rules Committee would discuss his bill, Anderson said he didn’t know.
“And I doubt it will be,” he said.
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