Monday, April 2, 2012

In never-ending insurance battle, Rep. Chism channels his inner Valvano

Regular readers know that Rep. Gary Chism (R-Columbus), your House Insurance Chairman, has spent the better part of the last 15 years pushing insurance products from the State Capitol.  His efforts to force Mississippians to buy auto insurance, a product he sells as an independent insurance agent, have been well documented here.  So it should come as no surprise that Chism again finds himself in the center of a bloody legislative fight involving . . . wait for it . . . an insurance product-- this time workers' compensation.

During Monday's floor fight in the Mississippi House, Rep. Chism made a motion to foreclose debate on Senate Bill 2576, a measure known around these parts as the "Workers Compensation Destruction Bill".  This maneuver marked the fourth of five floor votes Chism has lost on this subject this session.  Two of his other losses came on a bill he co-authored, House Bill 555.

Having watched an insurance salesman doggedly pursue bill after bill pertaining to the sale of insurance products at the State Capitol, it's hard to know whether to cry over self-dealing run amok or simply tip your hat to one of the best examples of shameless persistence you'll ever see.  It is nice, however, to have a contrast in Rep. Tom Miles (D-Forest), an independent insurance agent from Scott County.  While his colleague fights tooth and toenail for every bill bearing even a whiff of insurance profits, Rep. Miles has heeded House Rule 26 and prudently voted present on Senate Bill 2576 and its House companion.

Regardless of how this protracted battle plays out, it'll be interesting to see if Rep. Chism demonstrates the same determination for something that won't profit insurance companies and the people who sell their products like, I don't know, school kids or Mississippi's elderly.  I know, I say crazy things sometimes.


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