The glorious State of Mississippi has two very important bills that just passed the State House of Representatives. It is actually embarrassing for most of us to admit we have not had these laws on the books for years now; we have a law to require a seat belt for every passenger and a law to allow domestic violence as grounds for divorce.
Monday, the House gave its final approval to a bill known as “Harlie’s Law”, which would require all passengers in motor vehicles to be restrained by a seat belt. (The only exceptions are farm vehicles, of course, and that includes the ones that drive on actual streets while we are trying to get to work; rural mail carriers, and we have a lot of those, I even have one; and vehicles that aren’t made with them, and that must mean really old pick up trucks, and there are a shit-ton of those around spewing all manner of black noxious smoke out the tailpipes.)
Before this law, only front seat passengers and children under the age of 7 were required to wear a seat belt. The bill passed 88-29, with most “no” votes coming from the Republican members. I don’t even understand how one could vote “no” on a bill to have people wear seat belts in their cars, especially when the bill is in memory of a child who died not wearing one – legally not wearing one – in the backseat. But this is Mississippi, by damn, and I have no idea if the Heritage Anointed Reverend Governor Phil will even sign it or not. I hope so!
After (actual) Reverend Andy Gipson, Esquire, killed the Domestic Violence bill before it could be voted on, people were mad. I was furious, all the women were seeing red. Then the story went national, and most of the country was furious. I don’t think Reverend Andy quite knew what to do with all that, so he quickly did an about-face. He claims it was the few women who spoke with him calmly and rationally, but I do not believe him for a second. Plenty of women have done that multiple times in the many years domestic violence has not been grounds for a divorce in this state, and to no avail.
He added an amendment onto another bill, which passed in the house Monday unanimously (better than seat belts for everyone).
Gipson’s amendment, which was added to a bill dealing with relatives’ custody of abused children, would make proving domestic abuse in divorce cases easier, in part by clarifying that the abused spouse can testify as a witness to the abuse. Middleton said current law, requiring more corroboration, often means children get dragged into court to testify against a parent.
The amendment also clarifies that one incident of physical abuse can satisfy the habitual cruel and inhuman ground for divorce. Often, anti-domestic violence advocates and law experts said, the habitual phrase has been judged to mean there must be multiple instances of violence to qualify.
Gipson’s amendment also clarifies that non-physical abuse can satisfy the ground for cruel and inhuman treatment, including threats and-or intimidation, emotional and verbal abuse and forced isolation, providing the pattern is “shocking to the conscience of a reasonable person.” (ClarionLedger)
It is our hope as we move forward with these radical and likely liberal laws on our books, the rest of the country will begin to look on the Great State of Mississippi not as a rural, backwater waste of space and government dollars, but as a bright and shining beacon of…oh hell who am I kidding?
I seriously had to explain to someone just yesterday that Mississippi has urban areas that are not farmland. I love my state, with all of her flaws, but she could really use some more liberal blood. Please send. STAT!