Speaker McCoy Fires Back | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Speaker McCoy Fires Back

Republicans had predicted House Speaker Billy McCoy's vengeance after his close re-election to the leadership post, and McCoy did not disappoint. The speaker assigned no chairmanships this session to Republicans, and removed other Republicans from last year's committee chairmanships.

McCoy barely achieved re-election this year with a two-vote majority after the Republican Party and conservative Democrats united in a campaign to remove him. None of the 47 Republican members of the House voted for McCoy in his re-election campaign. The Conservative Coalition even went so far as to vow to depose McCoy as speaker late last year.

Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune, lost his spot as chairman of the Insurance Committee to Democrat Rep. Walter Robinson, D-Bolton. McCoy also replaced Pearl Republican Ray Rogers with Democrat Credell Calhoun, of Jackson, as chairman of the Military Affairs Committee and replaced Tom Weathersby, R-Florence, with Mary Coleman, D-Jackson, as chairwoman over the Public Property Committee.

Conservative Democrat Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Columbus, who ran against McCoy for speaker and was mostly backed by Republicans, lost his post as chairman of Judiciary B committee to progressive Democrat Willie Bailey, D-Greenville.

Rep. Rita Martinson, R-Madison, said she was a little surprised at McCoy's picks.

"McCoy said he was going to try to make friends and that we would be able to work with each other. I kind of expected there to be a few compromises there, but there weren't," Martinson said, adding that McCoy would have to work with Republicans if he planned to move legislation forward. "If he has any hope of really moving the House forward he'll have to reach out in some manner, and it'll be interesting to find out how he chooses to do that."

Conservative Coalition members, who had backed McCoy's removal, flocked behind Amendment 2 of the House Resolution 5. Members said the amendment, which would have changed the two-thirds requirement to pull a bill out of committee to 50 percent plus 1, would have been a step toward true democracy. Democrats called the amendment a last-ditch effort to wrest control from McCoy's newly appointed committee chairs.

Rep. Phillip Gunn, R-Clinton, pointed out that Democrats in positions of power were the ones largely disagreeing with the amendment.

"Have we noticed that everybody in opposition is a chairman? They have a vested interest in seeing that this amendment does not pass," Gunn said. "Democracy is where the majority rules. We're talking about regular bills, things that should be brought before a body if the people want it."

Democrat newbie Rep. Brandon Jones, who took District 111 last November by a handful of votes from talk radio host Tim Lee, opposed the amendment. "I haven't been here long, but I've been here long enough to recognize a naked power play when I see one," Jones said.

Rep. John Mayo, D-Clarksdale, defended the current House rules, saying it protected the state from fad-driven sweeping constitutional changes.

"This (rule) … gives us protection from the issue of the day, because the issue of today is going to be the (problem law) of tomorrow. We have to make sure … that the minority are protected from the whims of the majority of the 50 plus 1."

Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson, said the two-thirds requirement had never been a long-lived rule of the House in the first place, and was non-essential.

"All the way back to the Buddy Newman days, we never had that, so the question is what do we need it for? For 16 of my 20 years we never had that rule in affect and we never had one single problem on the floor with that," Denny said.

The amendment failed in a 63-to-56 Friday vote.

Republicans and Democrats battled over the rules on Thursday, delaying committee appointments and ending the Thursday session with no decision on rules—one of the first requirements before beginning the chamber session.

Click here (PDF, 679 KB) for a complete roster of House committee members and chairmen.

Previous Comments

ID
98082
Comment

...and the childishness continues.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2008-01-20T16:09:41-06:00
ID
98083
Comment

Yep. I'm not sure if anyone here is proud of this or not, but it seems as though they are.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-20T18:33:37-06:00
ID
98084
Comment

Why do we have to have political parties? Seems to be more trouble than it's worth.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-01-20T19:53:06-06:00
ID
98085
Comment

Maybe none of the repugnants were qualified. Repugnant republicans have screwed up the country and our values and morality; so why let them screw up the Mississippi House too by giving them chairmanships. Trash is trash. "I would never be greedy because the greedy dog saw his shadow in the water and wanted that bone to." Perhaps this quote also explains why Speaker McCoy chose no repugnants for leadership.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2008-01-21T16:19:01-06:00
ID
98086
Comment

To be more specific, repugnants republicans and their constituents (to put it kindly) have screwed up our federal government by having so few morals and scruples so as to twice hire a war-mongering moron as the leader of the country, and allow a cesspool of candidates to practice immorality, thievery, perversion, waste, corruption, lying, financial irresponsibilty, and no accountability, like we have never seen it before. What is worse these unalterable morons would vote for Bush again. What sane person would pick this kind of balderdash, rubbish and twaddle for anything? I'm glad my granddaddy didn't get to see his old republican party become infested with so many low lifes in such an stymieing way.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2008-01-21T16:54:28-06:00
ID
98087
Comment

Ray...... Sarcasm?

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-21T17:46:38-06:00
ID
98088
Comment

Ray ... sarcasm master. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2008-01-21T17:56:11-06:00
ID
98089
Comment

Ray, sometimes I forget your masterful use of sarcasm and my blood begins to pound in my temples...then I see that it's you and I calm down.

Author
katbird
Date
2008-01-22T14:46:14-06:00
ID
98090
Comment

What sarcasm do y'all speak? There is some truth in the comments. McCoy didn't fall for the trick that Bryant pulled by choosing Democrats and republicans nearly equally for chairmanships. I was somewhat impressed by Bryant's selections of chairmans, I must admit. I watched Bryant's victory speech with great interest and was appalled at his climaxing or excitement while talking about Reagan and Fordice. I said to myself, we got another Jim Eastland or Billbo in Bryant. I even saw him at an outing since then and refused to speak to or acknowledge him as a result of that performance. The chairmanship selections hopefully is a truer window of who he is. He just might be alright! Lord knows, I long to see a decent republican, like I long to see dinosaurs. He, he....

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2008-01-22T16:01:41-06:00
ID
98091
Comment

"Repugnant republicans have screwed up the country and our values and morality" That's what I am referring to as your sarcasm. "and allow a cesspool of candidates to practice immorality, thievery, perversion, waste, corruption, lying, financial irresponsibilty, and no accountability, like we have never seen it before. What is worse these unalterable morons would vote for Bush again. What sane person would pick this kind of balderdash, rubbish and twaddle for anything? I'm glad my granddaddy didn't get to see his old republican party become infested with so many low lifes in such an stymieing way." And that.

Author
LawClerk
Date
2008-01-22T16:10:59-06:00
ID
98092
Comment

Well, Lawclerk, it's not sarcasm to everyone. Many Democrats have emailed me thanksgivings and praises. As you know, though: I treat both parties the same, and call it as I see it.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2008-01-22T16:15:14-06:00
ID
98093
Comment

wow...when i get old ima be like ray...

Author
skipp
Date
2008-01-22T16:54:11-06:00

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