Opposition already in place over board of health nomination - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Opposition already in place over board of health nomination

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Terri Herring Terri Herring
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

With the clock ticking down on the legislative session, the state senate now has to decide whether to confirm nominations to state boards.  

"At this point in the ball game we're really vetting out all of these nominations," said Sen. Melanie Sojourner, a Republican from Natchez. "We're taking a lot of phone calls from constituents."

It's one nomination in particular though that's causing some concern at the capitol. It came from Governor Phil Bryant, who selected Terri Herring to take a seat on the eleven member state board of health.  

"Each senator has to make his or her decision," said Senator David Blount, a Democrat from Jackson.  

Blount is a member of the Public Health and Welfare Committee that must first take up the nomination before sending it to the full senate for a vote. He says Mississippi OB-GYNs oppose the nomination which in large part factors in to his decision.  

"These are the doctors who treat women, who care for women's health issues in Mississippi," said Blount. "They oppose her nomination and for that reason I cannot support her."  

Herring is known for her key role in advocating for anti-abortion laws as well as helping to lead the charge for the controversial "Personhood Amendment" known as Initiative 26 which voters rejected back in 2011.

Herring's spokesman, Keith Plunkett says she's more than just an anti-abortion activist, which he says some opponents and politicians will use against her.  

"Her credentials clearly show that she's qualified," said Plunkett. "The challenges come in showing that she's done a lot more than just focus on one issue."  

Republican Senator Melanie Sojourner, also on the committee, says she hasn't made a decision on Herring's nomination yet, mainly because of the importance of state boards.  

"We pass legislation that's the over-arching statue that they follow but the day to day management decisions come down from these boards," said Sojourner. "It's very important so we have to do the right thing for the state of Mississippi."

If the senate does confirm the nomination, Herring would serve a six-year term beginning in July. A confirmation hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 1 o'clock.

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