State Politics

Senate passes two bills to add to grounds for divorce

Sen. Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport.
Sen. Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport. AP

A couple of new grounds for divorce that caused a ruckus in the Mississippi Senate last year quietly passed this year.

If the House concurs, separation and domestic violence will be added to the list of 12 grounds for divorce in the state.

“If you remember last year, we discuss this bill at length,” said Sen. Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport, who presented the bill. “We met with Sen. (Angela) Turner and other people who had some concerns and limited it to the point where it’s two people trying to get a divorce, they’ve been separated for two years and there are no children under the age 18 still living at home.”

That bill passed 44-8 with Sens. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula, Gary Jackson, R-French Camp, Chad McMahan, R-Guntown, Mike Seymour, R-Vancleave, Dennis DeBar Jr., R-Leakesville, and Angela Burks Hill, R-Picayune, voting no.

When a grounds for separation was amended to the domestic violence bill last year, it was in effect killed by Turner, D-West Point, who told senators it was her belief that people should stay married.

“We have had a year to talk about it and talk about the issue of domestic violence,” said Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, who presented the bill this year. “What we decided to do this year is put it up within another ground, which is cruel and inhuman treatment.”

The ground, the seventh in the list, was amended to read “cruel and inhuman treatment, including spousal domestic abuse” and to strike what had been a lengthy explanation of domestic violence.

That bill passed 51-0 with McDaniel voting present.

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton