In addition to meat and potatoes issues that dominate every legislative session. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is signaling he will endorse measures that he says will support law enforcement.
Reeves, speaking to the Capitol press corps, lobbyists and business leaders Monday, indicated he plans to get behind a so-called Blue Lives Matter bill as well as legislation to prohibit so-called sanctuary cities.
In May, Louisiana enacted a law that gave public safety workers similar protected class designation as racial and religious minorities. The change means crimes against law enforcement officers and paramedics could count as hate crimes under state law.
Sen. Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport, is working on drafting the legislation, Reeves said.
Even though he believes Mississippians have great respect for law enforcement and state law already allows the death penalty for killing cops, Reeves added: “Officers patrolling a beat in our communities and deputies riding outposts and troopers riding through rural outposts face unknown dangers. And I would argue that those dangers are greater today than they’ve ever been.”
In addition, Reeves said that he would support legislation to prohibit cities from passing local ordinances that prevent law enforcement officers from inquiring about the immigration status of individuals they encounter.
“I believe no local governments or state entities have the ability to break our laws creating jurisdictions of amnesty for illegal aliens,” Reeves said. “No governmental entity, whether it’s city hall or on university campuses, is above following federal immigration law.”
In 2010, the city of Jackson passed what it called an anti-racial-profiling ordinance that prohibits police officers from asking about suspects’ immigration status during routine traffic stops. The American Legislation Exchange Committee, a nonprofit that develops model legislation for state legislatures, created a model “sanctuary cities” bill that has been introduced during previous Mississippi legislative sessions, but have been unsuccessful until now.
Reeves, in presenting his legislative agenda, also repeated his support for a new education funding formula that puts more money into classrooms and less into administration. He expects consulting group EdBuild, which is examining the current schools formula, known as the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, to deliver its report in the coming weeks.
The recommendations EdBuild makes will likely be phased in, Reeves added.
The lieutenant governor also voiced support for a transportation bill to repair infrastructure, possibly through the state transportation department’s $1.2 billion budget.
Reeves also said he supports funds from the BP oil spill settlement remaining on the Gulf Coast, but hinted that a final solution may not come before lawmakers adjourn for the year.
“If action is not taken during this legislative session, then it will not be the end of the world,” Reeves said, referring to the BP funds.