Mississippi Democrats introduce bill to repeal HB 1523

Beth Alexander, Media General Contributor - JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) - After some national backlash over the passing of House Bill 1523, a group of lawmakers, all democrats so far, want it repealed.

Those lawmakers want to suspend the rules and regular deadlines in the house to repeal House Bill 1523.

Representative Jay Hughes is leading the charge.

He says that the state shot itself in the foot with this bill.

"The economy is struggling and we were short $200,000,000 just this year and somehow we seem focused on passing a bill that will kill our economy," said Representative Hughes.

On the steps of the Mississippi capitol, several members of the House of Representatives announced they will try to repeal House Bill 1523 because of negative consequences on the state economy and tourism.

Many companies and entertainers have opposed the bill.

Rock star Bryan Adams canceled his concert in Biloxi this week and 95 Mississippi authors, including John Grisham, are calling for the repeal of the bill.

"Why are they picking on Mississippi? Why are they attacking North Carolina for example?" said Representative Gipson.

Representative Gipson says House Bill 1523 is similar to bills in other states.

He cited an early April report by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The report shows 19 states with religious exemption laws, including Vermont and New York.

"Even New York has a law like this and I think the people demanding the repeal either haven't done the research or are being unreasonable about it," said Representative Gipson.

"Churches already have an absolute right to dictate their activities. We would never want to interfere with but this repeal this is about economic fallout because of this bill," Representative Hughes.

Representatives Hughes has gathered signatures in support of repealing the bill.

So far, they're all from Democrats.

But Hughes says four Republicans did vote against HB 1523.

On Tuesday, he introduced a bill, the Mississippi Economic and Tourism Recovery Act that would repeal HB 1523.

It should go to committee and if it makes it out of committee, it goes to the house for a vote.

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