No more rallies inside Mississippi Capitol, leaders say

Top Mississippi lawmakers said Thursday that they take full responsibility for an event that violated a policy against rallies being held inside the state Capitol.

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 6:25 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Top Mississippi lawmakers said Thursday that they take full responsibility for an event that violated a policy against rallies being held inside the state Capitol.

Hundreds of people gathered in the Capitol rotunda Tuesday for an event promoting "school choice" — allowing people to pay for private school with public money.

Empower Mississippi, the group that organized the event, promoted it as a "rally," and some participants carried posters. Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn, all Republicans, spoke in favor of school choice at the event, receiving cheers and applause from the crowd that included school children wearing bright yellow scarves provided by the organizers.

In a statement Thursday, Senate President Pro Tempore Terry Burton of Newton and House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden of Meridian, also Republicans, said news conferences with 25 or fewer participants are allowed inside the Capitol, but rallies are supposed to be outside.

"Unfortunately, enforcement of this policy has been lax, uneven, and sometimes even non-existent, and for this we take full responsibility," Burton and Snowden said.

A parent who wanted to have an event supporting public schools said the state Department of Finance and Administration denied her request to reserve space for the event inside the Capitol after she said she expected at least 100 people to attend, Mississippi Today reported Wednesday.

Burton and Snowden said that the existing policy banning rallies inside the Capitol "will be strictly enforced immediately."

"We acknowledge that enforcement of this pre-existing policy at this time (mid-session) opens us up to the allegation that we are somehow playing favorites or appearing unfair," Burton and Snowden said in the statement. "We accept the unfortunate optics of the situation we find ourselves in. Regardless, however, we are not prepared to allow a bad situation to worsen through continued inaction."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15523

Reported Deaths: 734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17952

Reported Deaths: 630
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
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