At the end of last week, State Rep. David Baria of Hancock County called for legislative hearings regarding the investigation of former Department of Corrections head Chris Epps, who resigned after federal indictments. Baria is a left-of-center Democrat who served in the Mississippi Senate for four years before seeking election to the House in 2011. Some said Baria did not run for re-election to his Senate seat because he would have lost to a Republican. Is Baria playing a game of partisan politics by asking for the legislature to have hearings in an effort to determine what state officials knew and when they knew about the investigation of Epps? Sure he is. Is he right in calling for the hearings? Sure he is. Will Republicans play partisan politics and ignore Baria’s call for hearings? They probably will.
Targets on backs of Conservative Coalition members
There are at least three Republicans in their first term in the Mississippi Senate that may not be around for a second term. The good news for Republicans is that their seats should remain in the Republican column. The three are Senators Melanie Sojourner of Natchez, Tony Smith of Picayune and Will Longwitz of Madison. All three were original members of the anti-Tate Reeves Conservative Coalition in the Senate, and two of them were strong supporters of Chris McDaniel’s campaign against U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.
Help to be a better legislator or taxpayer funded junket?
Earlier this month 37 members of the Mississippi Legislature attended one of the annual meetings of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Was the trip to the NCSL meetings one that will improve legislators’ service to their constituents, or was it a taxpayer funded junket? It was probably a little of both.
Why don’t they like Lt. Governor Tate Reeves?
During the 2011 campaign when Reeves moved up to lieutenant governor from his job as state treasurer, a longtime Republican leader asked me, “Is Tate Reeves as smart as he thinks he is?” A more recent questioner also asked why some Republicans don’t like Reeves. My reply was that Reeves is both smart and tough. His response was, “And he’s a conservative.” My luncheon companion then noted that right-wing radio talk show hosts Paul Gallo and J.T. (Williamson) are clearly obvious in their dislike of Reeves. Super Talk radio even frequently runs a network promo that says, “It’s a sad day when Mississippi’s lieutenant governor plays politics with children’s and people’s lives.”