Oppose


HB180 - For those sentenced to the death penalty, this bill reduces the time that a person has to file an appeal from 3 years to 1 year. 

Status: Died in Committee

The ACLU of MS opposes HB180 as it deprives a citizen of the meaningful due process rights guaranteed by the constitution. No person should be deprived of life or liberty without significant safeguards. Additionally, to shorten the appeals process for people on death row would dramatically increase the risk of executing an innocent person.


HB1271 - Allows juvenile offenders to be sentenced to life without parole at the discretion of the judge.

Status: Died in Committee

We oppose HB1271 because there is a global consensus that children cannot be held to the same standards of responsibility as adults and recognition that children are entitled to special protection and treatment. There are fundamental differences between youths and adults. Youth have greater potential to become rehabilitated. Additionally, the cost to the state of Mississippi to incarcerate juvenile offenders for a lifetime is significant.


HB541 - Requires on-duty policemen to wear video cameras with audio, or be subject to fines.

Status: Died in Committee

The ACLU recognizes the potential that police body cameras have to increase police transparency. With good policies in place, recording of police-civilian encounters will promote police accountability, deter misconduct, and provide objective evidence to help resolve civilian complaints against police without significantly infringing on privacy. However, without such protections body cameras can do more harm than good. We oppose HB541 because it lacks any law enforcement guidelines or limitations for when police must record encounters, who can access to such footage, nor does it provide privacy protections for those recorded.


HB256 - Enhances penalties for burglary offenses.

Status: Died in Committee

We oppose HB256 because enhancing the penalty prescribed for a non-violent offense such as burglary simply aggravates Mississippi's prison overcrowding issues. We need restorative justice, not policies meant to inflict further punishment and wholesale retribution.


HB172, HB1298 - Adds to the list of capital murder offenses, including "the killing of a utility worker" and “the killing of a uniformed security guard.”

Status: HB172 Signed by Governor into law. HB1298 Died in Committee

The ACLU believes that the death penalty inherently violates the Constitutional guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment as well as the right to fair treatment under the law. This bill adds to the list of crimes for which this unmerited penalty can be imposed without a reason of intent.


Support


HB173 - To “Ban the Box” by prohibiting employers from inquiring orally or in writing regarding a person’s criminal history, unless they are disqualified by law or if a required bond cannot be obtained.

Status: Died in Committee

The ACLU of MS supports HB173 because it breaks down the barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated individuals. Employers should choose their best candidates based on job skills and qualifications, not past convictions.


SB2568 - Requires that, prior to being detained, a school age child that has been referred to youth court by a school official must receive a juvenile delinquency risk assessment. Low-risk children will be sent to alternative school instead of a juvenile facility.

Status: Died in Committee

We support SB2568 because it proposes to evaluate each child on a case by case basis to determine their risk of recidivism before they enter the youth court system. Incarceration in any form should always be the last option when it comes to rehabilitating children.


HB1350 - At youth court, places limitations on the use of incriminating information obtained from a juvenile during a prior screening or assessment.

Status: Died in Committee

We support HB1350 becuase it protects the rights of children as they navigate the juvenile justice system. The bill takes into account that kids are often more susceptible to intimidation and pressure during conversations with authority figures. Protecting speech made during screenings and assessments allows a young person to speak honestly without fear of consequence.


HB1279 - Requires police officers assigned to patrol duties to wear body cameras.

Status: Died in Committee

We support HB1279. Body-worn cameras are a win-win, helping to protect the public against police misconduct, and at the same time guarding against false accusations of abuse. Considering that many law enforcement agencies across the state are moving to independently adopt body-worn cameras for patrol officers as part of a national trend, we hope that the legislature will enact regulations to govern use of the devices that will both ensure consistent use of the devices and protect the privacy of citizens. This bill contains such clear guidelines.


HB269 - Makes it legal for people to record law enforcement officers, firefighter's and conservation officers in the performance of their duties.

Status: Died in Committee

The ACLU of MS supports HB269 because it codifies a citizen's 1st Amendment right to record police officers. Taking photographs and videos of things that are plainly visible from public spaces is your constitutional right. That includes police and other government officials carrying out their duties.


HB235HB1291HB566SB2050 and SB2045 - Expands opportunities for expunction of a criminal record.

Status: HB235, HB1291, HB566, SB2050 & SB2045 Died in Committee

We support legislation which removes barriers to opportunity and which furthers restorative justice. The expunction of a criminal record can make a big difference in an individual’s future success.


SB2051 - Revises the sentencing of habitual felons, requiring that they be both sentenced to and served separate terms for prior convictions.

Status: Died in Committtee

We support legislation which removes barriers to opportunity and which furthers restorative justice. This bill would also promote consistency in the language between the statutes that govern habitual sentencing for violent and nonviolent offenses.


HB478SB2332 - Training for School Resource Officers.

Status: HB478 Died in Committee; SB2332 Dead.

The ACLU of MS supports HB478 and SB2332. School Resource Officers must be provided with the tools necessary to ensure safety, while respecting the rights of students and the overall school climate. By requiring that SROs be trained about their roles prior to entering the schoolhouse, and equipping them with knowledge regarding adolescent development, this bill creates a safe school environment for all and reduces reliance on the criminal justice system.


HB404 - Authorizes the MS Dept. of Youth Services branch of the Dept. of Human Services to operate "Adolescent Opportunity Program" instead of “Adolescent Offender Program.”

Status: Signed by Governor into law.

The state of Mississippi must find practical alternatives to sending children into the industrial prison complex. We support HB404 because the bill seeks to address the needs of troubled youth by getting to the root of the problem. By providing academic tutoring, vocational training, substance abuse treatment, family counseling and anger management instead of sending youth to juvenile offender programs, we give kids an opportunity at a life outside of the confines of jail and makes an investment in the future of the State of Mississippi.

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