Before the Associated Press and dozens of other outlets speculated whether Mississippi state Rep. Steve Holland's pithy bill to "rename" the Gulf of Mexico was a serious proposal, Gambit wondered the same. Holland's House Bill 150 aims to rename "the body of water that is located directly south of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties" the "Gulf of America."
Holland submitted the measure to Mississippi's House Marine Resources Committee, where it awaits consideration. But the lawmaker tells Gambit that the "Gulf of America" bill (which includes one other key provision: a July 1 effective date, just in time for our nation's birthday) isn't really intended to pass. Instead, says Holland, a Democrat, he's mocking anti-immigration legislation supported by Miss. Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican.
"That's exactly what it is," he told Gambit, adding that his Republican counterparts should be helping "feed, clothe and educate children, take care of older adults, provide economic development and high systems in this state, and all the hell they want to talk about is running illegal immigrants out, and drug testing welfare and Medicaid recipients — all superfluous crap as far as I'm concerned. So I thought I'd just join them with a bill to chew on, saying the Gulf of America instead of the Gulf of Mexico, since everything Mexican and Hispanic is 'so bad.' Nothing but a 'spamalot' bill is all it is. Tongue-in-cheek."
"Nobody in Mississippi has responded, but I've been responding to phone calls all over the world," Holland said. "Maybe I didn't think about it, but hell, I've been here 29 years, I got to try and have some fun as best I can with all these jerks." — ALEX WOODWARD