Proposals could limit Miss. gov's pardon power

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippi lawmakers might ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment limiting the governor’s power to pardon convicted criminals.

That’s according to Republican Michael Watson of Pascagoula, chairman of the Senate Constitution Committee.

Speaking Monday at a press forum in Jackson, Watson says one option would be to ban any governor from pardoning people convicted of certain crimes such as murder, sex crimes or crimes against children.

Watson says another option would be to allow a governor to grant a pardon only if a clemency board recommends it.

Haley Barbour pardoned 198 people during his final days as governor, including at least one convicted murderer who had been denied release by the Parole Board.

Barbour’s successor, fellow Republican Phil Bryant, says he doesn’t intend to issue any pardons.