Mississippi’s Tea Party-dominated government has come up with more than its fair share of ridiculous legislation. From adopting strict immigration laws similar to the discriminatory regulations in Alabama, to allowing certain counties to jail students for simple misbehavior such as being excessively tardy to school or violating the dress code, to banning the implementation of Sharia law, the Mississippi legislature has been hard at work proposing and enforcing some of the most useless and outrageous laws in the country.
Here are the five worst ideas to come from Mississippi’s right-wing government.
Outlawing The Creation Of Human-Animal Hybrids
Mississippi state representative William “Tracy” Arnold put taxpayer money to good use when he proposed a bill that would forbid anyone from combining human and animal eggs and sperm to create a hybrid embryo. “The bill defines a human-animal hybrid as embryos that contain human and non-human cells, nuclei or chromosomes; embryos that were created by fertilizing a human egg with animal sperm, or vice-versa; or a non-human life form ‘engineered’ with a human brain,” Mississippi’s WAPT News reported.
During an interview with the station, Arnold told reporters, “I think this thing went way far to the left. It’s getting a lot of attention. I think the attention has actually kind of moved to a sci-fi type of thing, but really the goal of this is to protect those embryos.”
While Arnold moved to restrict science research, it’s worth noting that Mississippi ranks dead last among all U.S. states with regard to quality of science education.
Passing An ‘Anti-Bloomberg’ Law
After New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to restrict the sale of sugary beverages over 16 ounces, lawmakers in Mississippi passed legislation that would prohibit anyone from proposing similar bills. The “Anti-Bloomberg” law passed the state’s House and Senate chambers by wide margins.
The law prohibits counties and towns from: banning certain foods or the quantities in which they can be served because of a lack of nutritional value, withholding permits for companies who serve innutritious foods, forcing restaurants to post calorie counts, or preventing restaurants from including toys in children’s meals.
State Senator Tony Smith, the author of the bill — who conveniently owns a restaurant in Mississippi — said, “If the market demands that I serve a more healthy food, I’ll do that to meet to the market demand. But … why should I risk my capital, my hard work, my efforts that I’ve put in to build a restaurant on the thinking of what a government official thinks?” Ironically, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Mississippi has the highest rate of obesity in the country—34.9 percent of residents in Mississippi are obese.
AP Photo/Richard Drew, File
Creating A ‘Nullification’ Panel
Two Tea Party state representatives in Mississippi, Gary Chism and Jeff Smith, proposed legislation that would create a committee of 14 state officials who would be responsible for reviewing federal laws and deciding whether to uphold or nullify them. Representative Chism told reporters, “Obamacare is one of the reasons we started talking about this bill. Then the new gun control laws brought it back up. The federal government shouldn’t be allowed to tell us we can’t have guns. The Tea Party people are adamant about protecting their Second Amendment rights.”
While Chism and Smith think this will protect their Constitutional rights, the truth is that actions taken by the panel to “nullify” anything would be certain to be found unconstitutional since federal laws take precedence over state laws. Always.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
Fighting A Never-Ending War On Women
Proposing a ridiculous law that would criminalize women for miscarriages is only one example of the Mississippi Tea Party legislature’s discriminatory policies against women.
First, Mississippi’s Republican governor Phil Bryant took measures that would indirectly shut down every abortion clinic in the state. He succeeded for the most part, leaving just one clinic open. Republican state representative Bubba Carpenter even bragged to an audience that while the law skillfully went around Roe v. Wade, it does in fact “constitutionally” stop abortions statewide.
The Mississippi Supreme Court took on the case of a woman who used methamphetamine during her pregnancy and gave birth to a stillborn baby girl in 2009, aiming to hold her accountable for “culpable negligence.” This case could set the precedent for other stillbirths and miscarriages. Said Supreme Court Justice Leslie D. King, “Doctors say women should avoid herbal tea, things like unpasteurized cheese, lunch meats. Exactly what are the boundaries?” One instance of arbitrarily decided “misconduct” could lead to a state law that would criminalize women for suffering a distressing misfortune over which they have little to no control.
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis
Rejecting Science That Warns Of The Dangers Of Pollution
Following one the deadliest years for natural disasters in 2011, it was inevitable that scientists would warn officials of the negative effects pollution can have on the climate. Mississippi, however, became one of five states that voted to overturn these warnings from the Environmental Protection Agency and ignore the science altogether.
Climate scientist Kevin Trenberth warned the American Meteorological Society, “Given that global warming is unequivocal, the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of ‘of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming.” Mississippi legislators, however, couldn’t reconcile this with their core belief that global warming and climate change are problems fabricated by the left, so they voted to ignore them altogether.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong