Conferees comment on why they stand by the need for HB 1020

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 8:14 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As we keep tracking the legal challenges of House Bill 1020, we’re checking back in with lawmakers. You’ve heard from the attorneys representing opponents. Now, let’s hear from those who think it’s needed.

While the conferees we spoke with didn’t want to speak directly to the challenges pending in court, Rep. Nick Bain did weigh in on why he’s among those who stand by the necessity for the law.

“We all know that the capital city is struggling with some crime issues with homicides and some other type of violent offenses,” said Bain. “The purpose of the bill, and of the law now, is to address that and to have a bigger presence of law enforcement on the streets and to allow a more judicious and efficient way of getting these people, the defendants, the people charged with crimes, getting them in front of a judge to get their matter hurt.”

As chairman on the Judiciary B committee, Bain hosted Jackson crime-related hearings ahead of the session that helped better inform his discussions about 1020.

“I live four hours away farther than anybody, but Jackson is my capital city. It belongs to Mississippi... belongs to all of us,” he noted. “So having a strong Jackson, a successful Jackson, is important to Mississippi. I do want your audience to realize that the legislature and our intent and all of this is pure. It is purely an attempt to make Jackson all that it can be and not to do anything else.”

Sen. Brice Wiggins issued the following statement.

“I respect the court process, as anyone in this country should, from the highest office on down,” said Wiggins. “The necessity and reasons for HB 1020 were clearly stated during the debate. Just because someone doesn’t like something doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional or against the law. The Hinds County Chancellor stated as much in his ruling. Jackson is unique as it is the state capital, and its citizens of all backgrounds were demanding state policy solutions, which is the jurisdiction of the legislative branch. To one degree or another, this happens every legislative session: we enact policy solutions to assist those parts of the state that need it at that time.”

The oral arguments at the State Supreme Court to appeal the lower court’s decision are set for July 6. And in the federal case, a motion to appear was filed for former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr.

He has been part of the counsel for the NAACP, but if granted, this would formalize that and give him the ability to appear alongside or even argue aspects of the case moving forward.

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