Hughes takes on old guard

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, July 21, 2016

Some folks may think State Rep. Jay Hughes is “tilting at windmills,” in his battle with House Speaker Phillip Gunn, but it is refreshing to see a new face challenge the old guard when it comes to keeping government accountable.

The freshman state representative from Oxford filed suit against the speaker for violating the Mississippi Constitution and the case is before the state supreme court.

During the legislative session in the spring, Democrats asked to have bills read aloud in protest because they thought their ideas were being ignored by the Republican supermajority. The state constitution says any legislator can request that any bill be read aloud before it’s passed, and reading has long been used as a filibuster tactic.

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Speaker Gunn used a computer voice to read bills, and the voice was set so fast that some lawmakers called it a demon chipmunk — a nickname that came up in court papers and several times during arguments Tuesday before the Mississippi Supreme Court.

More than likely, the court — when they decide to rule on the case — will say the issue should be resolved within the legislature.

Even so, it’s nice to see a “Don Quixote” like Hughes decide he’s not going to be run over by the likes of Gunn.