Parker Bills on DUI, National Guard & Foster Care Pass Senate

JACKSON (February 22, 2017) – Senator David Parker said a number of his priorities for additional DUI reform and measures to benefit the Mississippi National Guard have passed the Senate and are awaiting action in the House of Representatives. A foster care reform bill was folded into another Senate bill and passed as well.

DUI Reform

“The Mississippi Senate continues its efforts at strengthening law enforcement and the judicial system to prevent and prosecute DUIs. By bringing together everyone involved in the process from arresting officers to court clerks to those compiling information at the Department of Public Safety, we’re identifying problems and making corrections so repeat offenders don’t slip through the cracks,” Parker said.

  • SB2685 passed the Senate on February 8. It makes technical corrections to last year’s DUI reform legislation and expands the DUI Information-Exchange Improvement Advisory Committee. It also contains the language of Parker’s SB2832 which continues the efforts of the Mandatory Statewide Offense Reporting System Task Force.
  • Parker also has two appropriations measures pending in the Senate which would aid efforts to fight DUIs: SB2566 which funds an electronic submission of arrest records pilot program; and, SB2754 which funds field sobriety training for law enforcement.

Mississippi National Guard

Last week Parker, who is the Chairman of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs committee, led colleagues on the Senate floor to oppose cuts to the veterans budget and restore funding to necessary levels. “Our state and country made promises to our veterans. Honoring that commitment honors their service,” Parker said. Two bills authored by Parker on military issues passed the Senate.

  • SB2544 passed the Senate on February 1. When a disaster hits Mississippi and the National Guard is mobilized, it uses its operating fund to fulfill its missions. Those funds are reimbursed by FEMA or MEMA. But in the months it takes for reimbursement, the National Guard might have to make cuts in operations or delay missions for lack of funding. Parker’s bill would create a Mississippi National Guard State Active Duty Emergency Operations Fund which the Guard could pull funds from during a disaster and later replenish when reimbursed without using operations funds for an emergency.
  • SB2620 makes amendments to the Code of Military Justice requested by Mississippi military officials. It passed the Senate on February 2.

Foster Care Reform

Parker worked with Senator Angela Hill to fold the language of his SB2565 into SB2680 which passed the Senate on February 8. This measure would allow custody of a child to be given to “fictive kin” which is someone unrelated to the child legally or biologically but who is considered a relative due to a significant, familial-like and ongoing relationship with the child and family.

Parker explained, “Judges recognize that someone can be a parent without a legal or biological connection to a child. A step-father or step-mother or someone else who hasn’t legally adopted a child, but in the mind of the child is their ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ should be considered by a court for custody or care of a child. This legislation allows for those children to be placed with their ‘parent’ rather than foster care.”

More DeSoto Bills

Parker noted his Senate colleagues from DeSoto County also have a number of issues which have passed the Senate, including the Mississippi Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (SB2311) and a mammography reform bill (SB2006) by Senator Kevin Blackwell; and, a measure allowing supervisors to provide more assistance to fire departments (SB2013) and revisions to the licensing law for residential builders (SB2855) by Senator Chris Massey.

“Senator Blackwell, Senator Massey and I work well together on issues important to DeSoto County and the state of Mississippi,” Parker said. “We often co-author each other’s legislation and work in our respective committees to move legislation forward. I appreciate their work and I believe DeSoto has a unified team in the Senate.”

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Senate Passes Southaven Park Funding Bill

Parker: “bill addresses the wishes of both those in favor of and those opposed to this program

JACKSON (February 15, 2017) – Today the Mississippi Senate passed SB2949 which extends the current funding program for Southaven parks. The measure includes a mechanism to repeal the program. Senator David Parker authored the legislation which was co-authored by Senator Chris Massey and Senator Kevin Blackwell. The measure now proceeds to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite and the entire Board of Aldermen requested an extension of the Southaven parks funding program. But some individuals oppose it, and the Southaven city leadership agreed we should have mechanism to repeal it if the voters of Southaven so desire. The Senate passed this compromise today that puts the program in the hands of our local electorate,” Parker said.

The measure would continue the current program, but allow for opponents to call for a referendum with a petition of 1,500 Southaven voters (or 20 percent of the electors, whichever is fewer) which would continue or repeal the program. A majority of Southaven voters have twice approved the program in previous elections.

“I’m proud the City of Southaven and my Senate colleagues could work together to listen to the concerns of everyone involved and pass a bill which addresses the wishes of both those in favor of and those opposed to this program,” Parker said.

The full bill can be read here.

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Senators Parker, Blackwell and Massey on shooting of Sheriff’s deputies

JACKSON (January 26, 2017) – DeSoto Senators David Parker, Kevin Blackwell and Chris Massey issue this joint statement today:

The attempted deadly assault on two DeSoto County Sheriff deputies last night illustrates again the sacrifice law enforcement officers make every day to protect our citizens and communities. We pray for a full recovery of both deputies, and pray comfort for their families and the DeSoto Sheriff’s office.

Every day, law enforcement on the city, county and state level stand between us and danger. When criminals attempt to kill them, it is an offense worthy of stronger punishment. The DeSoto delegation “backs the badge” and sends a clear message that we will not tolerate such attacks.

This morning the Senate passed SB2469 to provide further protection to law enforcement by making any crime committed against them or other first responders, because of their service, a hate crime under state law. We expect this or similar legislation to pass the House as well with overwhelming support.

We thank law enforcement for their work. While we hope we won’t see any more assaults on law enforcement officers, those wearing the badge know it can happen anytime as they do their jobs to keep us safe every day. We’re proud and grateful for their service.

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Parker, Massey meet with DeSoto firefighters

“Senator Chris Massey and I were honored to meet with DeSoto firefighters at the Mississippi Capitol. These first responders are essential to the protection of our citizens and community.”

Pictured are (left to right) Ricky Barnett, Dan Phillips, Ken Givens, Senator Chris Massey, David Linville, Senator David Parker and Jared Kelly.

Pictured are (left to right) Ricky Barnett, Dan Phillips, Ken Givens, Senator Chris Massey, David Linville, Senator David Parker and Jared Kelly.

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Parker Statement on Southaven Park Funding

Will introduce extension but provide vehicle for opponents to end program;approach agreed to by mayor, city leaders

JACKSON (January 18, 2017) – Senator David Parker released the following statement regarding the Southaven parks funding program. Parker serves as Vice Chairman of the Local and Private Committee in the Senate which oversees these measures.

“Southaven Mayor Musselwhite and the entire Board of Aldermen unanimously requested an extension to the local restaurant and tourism funding program for Southaven parks. After receiving this request, I reached out to the mayor, city leaders, the Southaven Chamber of Commerce, as well as parents, seniors, concert goers and tennis enthusiasts. They have shared the benefits they feel they have reaped both individually and as a community.

I’ve also spoken with some who oppose the extension of this program.

My wish is to honor the request of our city leaders and citizens, but be respectful of those who share a different opinion. The Senate plans to introduce legislation to extend this program, but provide a vehicle to require an additional vote, should citizens wish to see the program removed. I’ve discussed this with the mayor and city leaders and they agree that this would be the best approach.

I look forward to passing this legislation in the Senate and sending it to the House for their consideration.”

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Paid for by Friends for David Parker

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Trio of Awards Honor Parker’s Work

Recent awards recognize Senator David Parker’s legislative work to reform Mississippi DUI laws, protect children and support local governments

Three organizations recently honored Senator David Parker (R-Olive Branch) for his work this past legislative session to reform Mississippi DUI laws, protect children through a foster care alternative and support local governments.

“Voters expect us to make reforms and improve our state, that’s the job they elect us to do,” Parker said. “So we don’t do this work for awards, but I’m honored these organizations would recognize these efforts and through these awards continue to bring public attention on important issues like fighting drunk driving, protecting Mississippi children and making smart, fiscal decisions to address needs in our local communities.”

MADD – Legislators of the Year

MADD recognized 69 lawmakers across the country, including Parker, as “Legislators of the Year” for their tireless work and commitment to saving lives and fighting drunk driving deaths. “MADD is proud to work with these leaders in the battle against the leading killer on our nation’s roadways,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “With more than 10,000 drunk driving deaths every year in America, we must continue to push for smart laws that will help us create a nation of No More Victims.”

The Legislators of the Year played a major role in MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. MADD highlighted efforts in Mississippi “to strengthen all-offender ignition interlock laws and improve statewide reporting of DUI.” MADD thanked Parker for authoring and shepherding into passage SB 2778, the DUI Transparency Act.

Foundation for Government Accountability – Champion of Children Award

The Foundation for Government Accountability presented Parker with the 2016 Champion of Children Award “to honor his effort to protect Mississippi’s at-risk children and keep them out of foster care.” In 2016, Parker authored the “Supporting and Strengthening Families Act” which provides a mechanism for a family based alternative to foster care. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant.

“Leaders like Parker will save thousands of children from suffering through a short-term family issue like homelessness, unemployment, hospitalization, or whatever other challenges life presents. Since parents retain full rights under Parker’s plan, the children can avoid the tumult of foster care and families can be reunited more quickly at no cost to taxpayers,” FGA said its announcement of the award. Tarren Bragdon, CEO of FGA said, “Leaders like Senator Parker realize that Mississippi’s children and parents deserve a better alternative, and they are working on creating protections for families that ask for help and for the families that step up to offer it.”

Mississippi Municipal League – Friend of Municipal Government Legislative Award

The Mississippi Municipal League recently presented Parker with the “Friend of Municipal Government Legislative Award” for his efforts to improve funding for local infrastructure needs. This year, Parker authored a bi-partisan bill which would have increased infrastructure funding for municipalities by $42 million statewide after a three-year phase-in without increasing taxes. Parker said he would continue working with the MML to advance this conservative approach to improving local infrastructure.

Senator Parker was also recently recognized as a “Business Champion” by BIPEC (Business and Industry Political Education Committee) for an “A” rating on pro-job creation votes, and an “A” grade by Americans for Prosperity Mississippi on their 2016 Economic Freedom Scorecard on legislative votes.

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Parker Scores “A” on AFP-Mississippi Economic Freedom Scorecard

AFP-Mississippi’s 2016 Economic Feedom Scorecard ranked Senator David Parker with an “A” rating for his conservative votes on taxes and spending, regulatory issues and education.

AFP Mississippi scored 27 votes on bills in the Mississippi Senate “consistent with the principles spelled out at AFP’s MSGrowthProject.com.  These principles include: (1)  fairer  taxes  that  allow  taxpayers  to  keep  more  of  what  they  earn;  (2)  spending  limited  to  core  functions  of  government;  (3)  fewer  job  killing  and  protectionist  regulations;  and  (4)  more  choice and innovation in education.”

The full scoredcard can be found here.

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Parker Named “Business Champion” for 100% Pro-Growth Voting Record by BIPEC

Senator David Parker (R-Olive Branch) earned an “A” rating and was named a “Business Champion” by BIPEC for the 2016 legislative session for a 100% score on 18 pro-growth business votes as well as his efforts to create a stronger job creation environment in Mississippi. A full list of the votes and background on the legislation can be found at BIPEC’s 2016 Legislator “Business & Jobs” Report Card.

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Parker Works With Mississippi DUI Forum

Jackson meeting coordinates Mississippi efforts to reform DUI laws, enhance prosecution

JACKSON (July 11, 2016)– Senator David Parker (R-Olive Branch) praised the Mississippi DUI Forum for continuing progress toward more effective efforts to combat impaired driving in Mississippi.  “The work being done at meetings like this which bring together all parties engaged in this effort will help provide a framework to continue to improve our DUI laws, enforcement and prevention,” Parker said.

Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center sponsored the two day forum in Jackson this past Wednesday and Thursday, which brought together representatives from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police, the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety, Sobriety Trained Officers Representing Mississippi, and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

Senator David Parker works with law enforcement at the Mississippi DUI Forum to seek reforms in DUI laws and enhanced enforcement.

Senator David Parker works with law enforcement at the Mississippi DUI Forum to seek reforms in DUI laws and enhanced enforcement.

Parker gave a detailed legislative update to the 150 in attendance and participated in breakout sessions made up of law enforcement, court clerks, judges, prosecutors, driver records and systems personnel and mental health workers. Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn addressed the forum.

“The program began with recognition that as agencies in Mississippi, we are all part of the problem and so we must all be part of the solution. Legislation without education of those involved in these reforms won’t be effective. I’m encouraged to see agencies coming together to provide more ideas to make DUI prosecution, enforcement and prevention stronger. We need cooperation like this to continue to update our DUI laws as technology continues to improve,” Parker said.

Two DUI reform bills authored by Parker were signed into law from the 2016 regular legislative session. They went into effect on July 1. The DUI Transparency Act (SB2778) adjusted offense categories to assist in prosecution and enhance punishment; created more intense repeat offender prevention programs and requires complete reporting of DUI offenses to prevent repeat offenders from dodging consequences. The DUI Modernization and Technology Act (SB2777) created a study committee to monitor reporting of first offense DUIs, measure the impact of these reforms and report recommendations back to the legislature. It also created a Mandatory State Offense Reporting Task Force.

The Mississippi DUI Forum will present its findings and solutions to the study committee for recommendation of additional reforms to the legislature.

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More than 150 people met in Jackson representing law enforcement, the judiciary, court clerks, prosecutors, driver records and systems personnel and mental health workers. Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn also addressed the forum.

More than 150 people met in Jackson representing law enforcement, the judiciary, court clerks, prosecutors, driver records and systems personnel and mental health workers. Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn also addressed the forum.

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Senators Call On MDE to Disregard Federal Bathrooms Policy

Twenty-seven state Senators sent a letter to the Mississippi Board of Education and State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright demanding the Mississippi Department of Education disregard the joint guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding Title IX funding and accommodations for students with gender dysphoria. The text of the letter follows below:

May 17, 2016

MS Board of Education Board Members
Dr. Carey Wright, State Superintendent of Education
MS Dept of Education
PO Box 771
Jackson, MS 39205-0771

Dear MS Board of Education and Dr. Wright:

Members of the Mississippi Senate, along with our constituents and fellow Mississippians, stand with Governor Bryant and demand the Mississippi Department of Education disregard the joint guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding Title IX funding and accommodations for students with gender dysphoria .  The federal government is, in effect, trying to blackmail our state by implying that funding for public schools will be withheld should we continue to recognize biological sex when setting safety and privacy policies for our schools.  Dr. Wright made the decision to usurp the board’s authority and unilaterally issue the policy decision to acquiesce to the illegal demands of the federal government. For this, the superintendent must be held accountable.

Section 203 of our state constitution establishes the Board of Education. The Board holds the sole responsibility to “formulate policies according to law for implementation by the State Department of Education.” Dr. Wright’s decision to forego the will of the Board and impose her political will on the entire state is fundamentally unconstitutional. It is the Board’s job to formulate policy, not the superintendent’s. Dr. Wright’s policy statement issued on May 13, 2016  is non-binding and should be immediately withdrawn.

Additionally, if Dr. Wright, in her capacity as State Superintendent of Education, does not recognize the danger that such an irresponsible policy decision will impose on the children of our state, then it is obvious that her ideals and values do not represent those of the state of Mississippi and the board should act accordingly. We look forward to your swift and decisive action on this urgent matter and each of us stand ready to meet or speak with you if necessary.

Thank you in advance for your immediate attention on this issue.

Senator David L. Parker
Senator Michael Watson
Senator Kevin Blackwell
Senator Jennifer Branning
Senator Nicky Browning
Senator Chris Caughman
Senator Videt Carmichael
Senator Lydia Chassaniol
Senator Buck Clarke
Senator Dennis DeBar
Senator Sally Doty
Senator Joey Fillingane
Senator Tommy Gollott
Senator Josh Harkins
Senator Angela Hill
Senator Billy Hudson
Senator Gary Jackson
Senator Dean Kirby
Senator Chris Massey
Senator Chris McDaniel
Senator Chad McMahon
Senator Phillip Moran
Senator Rita Parks
Senator John Polk
Senator Mike Seymour
Senator Sean Tindell
Senator Chuck Younger

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