Under the Dome, Week 4.5 | You Win Some, You Lose Some

“Big men feeling small / Weak ones standing tall / I will watch them fall / ‘Cause they won’t go when I go”
Stevie Wonder, They Won’t Go When I Go

After a flurry of committee meetings yesterday, I’m getting back to you midweek (told you I would!) to give you an update on what survived and what bills have died on the calendar because they were either voted down or not brought up at all. But first, here’s a little explanation of what happens during this deadline in the legislature:

  • The January 30 deadline is for committees to pass bills legislators submitted in both the House and Senate by January 15, the bill submission deadline.
  • Advocates lobby for and against certain legislation to committee chairs and members. Members of each committee have a short amount of time for review and consider thousands of bills. This is why constituents, school administrators, advocates, religious leaders, civic organizations, etc., make calls to action around specific legislationgain interest and have it bills pass out of committee by deadline day at 8pm.
  • In general, each committee already knows exactly which bills they want to present, amend  and move forward.
  • The chosen few pass but we can never count out any bill  that has a twin in the opposite chamber.

Did you get all that? It just about gave me a headache!

After today’s deadline, a mere 376 bills of more than 2,000 survived. The Senate passed 165; the House, 211. Here’s a complete list of what remains:  Senate and House.

Keep looking for updates and calls to action from us on Twitter and Facebook. We intend to show major support for the bills that can be good for Black girls and women. We cannot be consumed by those who seek to kill, steal and devour our existence and access to the things we need to survive in our communities. Be vigilant, but never discouraged (well, hardly ever … at least try real hard). Remember Alabama’s Congressional Special election just a few weeks ago? Yeah, we did that and have the power to duplicate it a thousand times over by supporting and/or killing legislation that, frankly, isn’t meant for us. Some of it, we actually know is. Hmmm … different column, another day.

Know this: The House and Senate convened first thing this morning (Jan. 31) and are both already working their way through their calendar, so any list I would provide at this point would be voided by the time you see this. Look for a complete list with Monday’s update.

We Can Report a Few Wins

  • 15 anti-abortion bills died on the calendar
  • The House version of the Medicaid spending bill that included banning abortions after 6 weeks died with both Houses deciding to use the Senate version that did not have abortion language
  • The anti-vaccine bill was not brought up and the author Rep. Andy Gipson decided to create a Commission to study the possibility

We Suffered Some Losses Too

  • Not a single of the House bills supporting equal pay for women was taken up in committee, and all died on the calendar.
  • Instead of attempting to fully fund public education, the Senate Education Committee decided to pass SB 2623 that would take $200M from underfunded public schools and give to private schools and private transport companies.
  • The House Medicaid Committee passed HB 1510 that bans abortion at 15 weeks instead of 20.
  • All bills that would have allowed discussion and possible retirement of the state flag died on the calendar

Social Media Sound Bites

In Senate Finance Committee, Sen Hob Bryan just finished lengthy rant about taxes & infrastructure that included the words “pee pee” & “poo poo.” #msleg”

“21,000 vouchers (50% of which cost $4,560 apiece, and 50% of which cost $6,500 apiece) comes out to more than $116M to *private* schools — all paid for on the backs of public school children. This is obscene.”

Gossip We Can’t Help Share
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour got arrested at a security checkpoint in an airport in Jackson fair with a loaded handgun. What was he going to do with that?!

Up Next
Monday’s update will include a complete “Watch List” of bills I’ve got my eyes on and where things are in the process. And I’ll give you a confirmed date and time for our TwitterChat on the SB 2623 (School Choice/Private School Voucher Bill) that would divert local tax dollars to private schools from public schools. Until Monday …

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