Freshman Senator Hill believes she had a good first session

Published 5:04 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2012

District 40 freshman State Sen. Angela Burks Hill (R-Picayune) looked on Monday as Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law what has been termed “the Gen. Burks bill,” a bill that extends the time limit to five years for prosecuting those involved in abusing or exploiting what is termed a “vulnerable person.”

Hill is the granddaughter of Picayune attorney and former state legislator and Army general the late Delos Burks. Another granddaughter of Burks, attorney Lisa Carol Bailey of Jackson, along with her son, Conner, also attended the signing ceremony, along with House Rules Committee chairman Mark Formby (R-Picayune), who is also kin to Gen. Burks.

A vulnerable person is described, in one instance, as a sick elderly person, not fully capable of taking care of themselves or their affairs.

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Sen. Hill authored the bill, which was Senate Bill No. 2539, and was named in honor of Burks, who served in the legislature from 1956-1964 in District 108, which at that time included Pearl River County and Picayune, was Mississippi’s first Deputy Attorney General and served on both the Mississippi Ethics Commission and Mississippi Building Commission.

He practiced law as a member of the Stewart and Burks law firm in Picayune during his last years.

Burks was a World War II veteran and a general in the Mississippi Air National Guard.

The bill had unanimous support in both the House and Senate.

Hill also had another bill signed by the governor, a bill that would permanently ban hog-dog fights in pens or cages in the state. They are called “dog rodeos,” she said, and her law eliminated a built-in repeal date in the current law, which would have repealed the law if nothing was done.

Hill also has another bill, ready to be signed into law by the governor, called the “window tint law.” She said fire and police personnel backed the bill. “They really need to be able to tint their windows to protect their gear and in some cases, their dogs, from the direct rays of sunlight which can damage and overheat their vehicles’ interior,” she said.

Hill said Picayune fire chief Keith Brown was an integral supporter who helped in getting the legislation drafted and passed. Current law does not allow tinting of police and fire vehicle windows.

Hill said she was not aware that she would be able to author some bills, get them passed through the legislative process and actually signed by the governor. “But that did happen in my freshman year, and I am proud of that. There is a lot to learn here, on how the process operates, and I am learning. I consider it a great honor to represent my constituents in Senate District 40,” she said.

She said legislators are anxiously awaiting the redistricting maps to seen if their districts have changed. District 40 consists of parts of Pearl River, Walthall and Marion counties.

Hill also co-authored a bill that will return the land used for the Columbia training school, from the state back to Marion County.

She said she was disappointed that the charter school bill did not pass and that a bill giving local rural utilities more power to regulate their own operations did not pass either, although she said she expected the bills to come up again next session.

She said she helped co-author a bill also that clarified teacher sick pay and substitute deductions.