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Firing squad could be coming to Mississippi

By PAUL HAMPTON

jphampton@sunherald.com

After razor-tight votes, the Utah Legislature passed a bill in 2010 to have a backup plan in case a nationwide lethal-drug shortage persists. Gov. Gary Herbert gave his stamp of approval, even though he called the method 'a little bit gruesome.'
After razor-tight votes, the Utah Legislature passed a bill in 2010 to have a backup plan in case a nationwide lethal-drug shortage persists. Gov. Gary Herbert gave his stamp of approval, even though he called the method 'a little bit gruesome.' Salt Lake Tribune

The firing squad could be returning to Mississippi.

That's one method of execution that would be considered by Attorney General Jim Hood if lethal injection drugs are unavailable or if that method is ruled unconstitutional. Nitrogen hypoxia (a method of suffocation) and electrocution are other ways he consider for capital punishment. He would also exempt from the Public Records Act the identities of the state execution team as well as the lethal injection drug supplier.

The execution problem is just one of many Hood deals with in the legislative agenda he released Wednesday.

“Our 2016 legislative agenda puts citizen safety at the forefront of this session, right where it belongs,” said Hood in a press release.  “Our agenda prioritizes key issues such as better laws for child victims including child victims of human trafficking, and improvements to community safety by strengthening Mississippi’s Statewide Re-entry program along with initiatives which will help protect citizen’s personal information.”

Hood's other priorities  (in no specific order):

- Strengthening Mississippi’s Statewide Re-Entry program by creating a re-entry pilot program to help transition inmates from incarceration into society.

- Amend the definition of “abused child” in the Youth Court Act to include a child who has been a victim of human trafficking.

- Create a statute that mandates what a law enforcement agency has to do when they receive a report of any missing child.

- Grant wiretapping authority to the attorney general for certain crimes, including violations of the Human Trafficking Act.

- Codify the appeals process for domestic violence protection orders.

- Create the crime of indecent assault upon a competent adult, to mirror existing crime of indecent assault of a vulnerable person.

- Prohibit data mining by state contractors to protect citizens personal information.

Election law changes would include:

- Clarify that candidates must detail credit card purchases on campaign finance reports.

-  Prohibition on personal use of campaign finance funds.

- Require disclaimers on political advertising.

- Clarify that in all matters regarding elections, homestead exemption establishes a strong but rebuttable presumption of residency.

 “Our legislative agenda will strengthen Mississippi by implementing the kinds of policies that improve the lives of our concerned citizens," said Hood. "I look forward to working with members of the legislature to move these proposals forward.”

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