Legislative processes and procedures.

To: Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn

RE: Use of reading machine in debate.


This letter is to express my thoughts on technologies used in the legislative chambers. With all due respect for your position as Speaker, a most prominent and honorable role, I disagree with your textual interpretation of the State Constitution and beg of you to reconsider at the risk of precedent.

For Art. 4 Sect. 59, I am of the opinion that “read in full” is to mean audibly broadcasted in such a way that is faithful to its legibly written form, in entirety. Such is a sensible, modern adaptation.

Some people read more quickly than others. Very few, if any, read 10–15 words per second processing the information. In similar respects, people can hear even slow recitations without listening to the information. Reason dictates that “read [aloud]” addresses a corresponding “listening” audience. If legislators complain they cannot listen at such speeds, then text should not be read at such speeds. (However, interpreting as “…read [privately each to oneself]…” I’d think may delay debate even longer.)

As a JD, I hope you may agree that, hypothetically, if critical audio evidence in a courtroom was so unnecessarily sped up, either the judge or opposing council would likely challenge its presentation.

Comparably, the legislature deliberates bills impacting millions of lives, infrastructure, health and prosperity, et al. Processes are dilatory out of necessity, for we are not a whimsical society regardless of partisan supermajority or bicameral consensus.

Here, we risk setting the precedent that critical decision-making may forego extensive review. The result of such legislative shortcuts may be erratic policy implications or, perhaps worst of all, silencing minority speech. I suspect you may already be aware of much of what has been presented here; I plead for you to reverse course.

If you’ve read this all then I thank you for your time. If I am mistaken in my interpretation or for any other reason you wish to reply, then I promise to read it with full, objective consideration.

I hope you and your family may have a blessed week, and thank your for your service.


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