By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Legislation that would require local law officers to enforce federal immigration law died a second death Thursday in the Mississippi Legislature.
At this point in the process, it would take extraordinary parliamentary maneuvering to revive the issue, so it’s likely finished for the 2012 session.
Earlier this week Senate Judiciary B Chairman Hob Bryan, D-Amory, killed the legislation when he refused to bring it up for consideration.
The House-passed bill would require local law enforcement to check for immigration status when making an arrest and detain for deportation those found to be in the country illegally.
Anticipating Bryan’s actions, House Judiciary B Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, had amended a Senate-passed bill dealing with counterfeit goods to include the language on immigration.
But on Thursday, Gipson dropped that effort and passed the counterfeit goods bill without the immigration language included.
Gipson conceded that he chose not to take up the legislation with the language on immigration included because he anticipated it would be challenged under the rules of the House as not relevant to the intent of the original bill.
Gipson said Attorney General Jim Hood’s office, in asking for the legislation to stop the importation of counterfeit goods into the state, had said the sale of such goods is a problem in immigrant neighborhoods.
That connection, Gipson said, made him think it would be appropriate to add the immigration enforcement language to the bill, but that relevance would have been subject to a point of order by any House member.
The bill without the immigration language passed the House on Thursday and now goes to the governor.
Since the House passed its original bill designed to crack down on illegal immigration, various business and agriculture groups have expressed opposition as have local government officials and law enforcement officials. Many local government officials said the bill would be an unfunded mandate and a strain on their budgets.
Bryan cited the broad opposition as the reason for letting the bill die in his Senate committee.
Gipson also amended another bill to include other controversial language passed by the House but killed in the Senate.
The fetal heartbeat bill, which could require women to undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound, was added to a bill that would increase the penalties for a child homicide.
On Thursday, Gipson laid that bill on the table subject to call.
If Gipson had called the bill up Thursday, it was expected that members would raise the point of order that the fetal heartbeat language was not relevant to the original intent of the bill.
If it was ruled by Speaker Philip Gunn that the point of order was right, then the language would be dead.
Gipson must call it up by Wednesday for a vote or it will die.