State Politics

Tourism was a factor in DeLano's no vote on religious freedom bill

ROGELIA V. SOLIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS 
 Rep. Scott DeLano, R-Biloxi, voted no on the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act
ROGELIA V. SOLIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS Rep. Scott DeLano, R-Biloxi, voted no on the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act AP

Rep. Scott DeLano doesn't have much to say about the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act other than he's opposed to it.

He was one of only four Republicans to vote no on HB 1523, and the only one from the Coast.

"Tourism is very key in our economy and I do everything I can to promote it," said DeLano. "Sometimes I take positions that are different from my conservative colleagues. That's all I'd like to say."

DeLano said his position has been consistent. He said he was opposed to 2014's Religious Freedom Restoration Act in its original form and voted for it only after it was significantly changed.

Some of Mississippi's largest employers, including Nissan and Toyota, and the state chamber of commerce have come out against the latest bill, saying it could hurt business. Critics and LGBT activists say it is unconstitutional, a charge its supporters deny.

Two of the four no opponents on the Republican side, Toby Barker of Hattiesburg and Rob Robertson of Starkville, have a college-town constituency that is more liberal on social issues than most of the state. The other no vote was cast by Shane Aguirre of Tupelo.

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