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     GCN GUEST OPINION      Filed 3/10/05

Hall of Shame/Hall of Fame 
 for Public Officials #2


Royce Hignight

Once again, the Senate Judiciary Committee A, led by Republican Chairman Senator Charlie Ross (Madison and Rankin Counties), along with Republican Vice-Chairman Senator Ralph H. Doxey (Benton, Marshal, Tippah Counties), have earned another spot in the Hall of Shame.  The Committee of Shame let a bill die in Committee that had passed in the House.  The Bill would have allowed the attorney general’s office to prosecute price-gouging charges throughout the state when the governor calls a state of emergency in a certain region of the state.

 The Bill was sponsored by Democratic Representative Jamie Frank of Mooreville, Chairman of the House Conservation Committee. According to a news article in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Franks said  his legislation would have helped hold down gas prices by allowing the attorney general to publish gas price comparisons from different parts of the state on his Web site.  Frank said, “Without passing some legislation, we cannot fully prevent oil and gas jobbers (distributors) from gouging the public.

According to the article, Franks also said that the posting of similar data in other states has resulted in lower gas prices.  He said the changes were needed because retailers might dramatically increase prices to take advantage of people fleeing an area in which an emergency has been declared.

The Daily Journal article said that Senator Charlie Ross said his objection centered on the power the bill would have given the attorney general, not on the posting of gas prices. According to the article, Ross, also said, he thought the definition of price-gouging is vague and that the attorney general has enough power now to deal with price-gouging.  One way, he said, is through the attorney general’s use of “the bully pulpit to highlight the activity in the media, which usually results in a reduction in the price.  In this writer’s opinion, Ross’s reasons for letting the legislation die, is simply hogwash.

Other Senators who serve on the Judiciary Committee of “Shame” are:

 (From the Coast Delegation)

T.O. Moffatt (Jackson County) Republican;

Thomas E. Robertson (Jackson County) Republican;

Scottie R. Cuevas (Hancock, Harrison Counties) Democrat;



Kelvin E. Butler (Adams, Amite, Pike,Walthal, Wilkinson Counties) Democrat;

Billy V. Harvey (Covington, Forrest, Jefferson Davis, Lamar and Jefferson Counties Democrat);

Gloria Williamson (Neshoba, Winston, Leake Counties) Democrat;

Dean Kirby (Rankin County) Republican;

Alan Nunnelee (Lee, Pontotoc) Republican;

Hillman Terome Frazier (Hinds) Democrat;

Travis L. Little (Alcorn, Tippah, Tishomingo) Republican;

Jack Gordon (Calhoun, Chickasaw, Grenada, Lee) Democrat;

Walter Michel (Hinds, Madison) Republican;

Richard White (Hinds) Republican.

In all the press coverage afforded to the current legislative session by the Sun Herald, has anyone seen anything in regard to Representative Jamie Frank’s legislation?  Can anyone argue that the legislation was not in the public interest, particularly on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Representative Franks is commended for looking out for the public interest. 

Readers should keep in mind that the Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck appoints the Chairmen of Senate Committees.  She is therefore ultimately responsible for the success or failures of the Committees.

From this time forward, public officials, institutions, and others who disregard the public’s interest and trusts in favor of other interests, or take particularly strong stands in the public’s interest, will be enshrined in the Hall of Shame or Fame as appropriate.  The Hall is strictly non-partisan

Hall of Shame I -  Ethics Bill Failure Generates Hall of Shame, Hall of Fame for Lawmakers - Royce Hignight

About the Author

Royce Hignight is a long time Coast resident and retired FBI Agent who spent much of his career investigating white collar crime and corruption in the state and area. He currently operates a private investigative and consulting service.

Hignight is among public and private citizens that have been campaigning for reforms in the county's leading economic development agency.

To Contact the Author: mailto:hignight@cableone.net



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