Bill would drag the Mississippi Archives and History Board into politics

Bill would drag the Mississippi Archives and History Board into politics

A bill that has angered many state historians would require the governor and lieutenant governor to appoint members to the board of directors that oversees the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, a move that , according to opponents, would politicize an agency that has remained above this fray for more over 100 years.

“It’s a scandal,” said Senator Hob Bryan, D-Amory, a vocal opponent of the bill. “… I don’t know of any other board or agency that has worked so well for decades. Changing the board of directors into a group of political appointees is very disturbing… They have been immune to the political whims of the day. Where would we be if (former Governor Ross Barnett, a segregationist) had appointed members of the Archives and History Board? “

Currently, the nine-person board members appoint their own successors, a “self-sustaining” board, subject to confirmation of the members by the Senate. MDAH preserves and provides access to archives and state archives, performs historical preservation work for the site state history sites and structures and operates numerous museums, including the world-renowned Mississippi Civil Rights and Mississippi History Museums.

Senate Bill 2727, drafted by Senator Mike Thompson, R-Long Beach, would have the governor and the lieutenant governor appoint the members of the board of directors, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The bill was passed in the Senate and this week was passed by a House committee, but only after making changes that would ensure more…

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