This Week: Deadline day leaves questions, ‘Demon Chipmunk’ case tossed

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Topping news in Mississippi this week:

  • Two place holder bills meant to revise the state education funding formula died-one in the House and one in the Senate-as a result of inaction. Part of a joint statement by House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said, “we agree that passing something by today’s deadline has no bearing on accomplishing our ultimate goal.”
  • In the Senate, a bill narrowly passed that would give Governor Phil Bryant control of the Department of Mental Health. Senate Bill 2567 would let the governor appoint the executive director of the department and demote the board of mental health to an advisory council.
  • After almost a year of deliberation, the Mississippi Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit filed against House Speaker Philip Gunn on how bills are read on the House floor. Rep. Jay Hughes filed the lawsuit in May 2016 claiming the “demon chipmunk” didn’t follow laws in the Mississippi Constitution. The Supreme Court decided it lacks constitutional authority to interfere with the Legislature’s procedures, voting 7-2 to send the case down to the Hinds County Circuit Court with instructions to dismiss the case.