2020 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representatives Banks, Watson, Paden, Bell (65th), Brown (70th), Straughter, Walker, Aguirre, Anderson (110th), Anderson (122nd), Andrews, Anthony, Arnold, Bailey, Bain, Barnett, Barton, Beckett, Bell (21st), Bennett, Blackmon, Bomgar, Bounds, Boyd, Brown (20th), Burnett, Busby, Byrd, Calvert, Carpenter, Chism, Clark, Clarke, Cockerham, Crawford, Creekmore IV, Criswell, Crudup, Currie, Darnell, Denton, Deweese, Dortch, Eubanks, Eure, Evans (45th), Evans (91st), Faulkner, Felsher, Ford (54th), Ford (73rd), Foster, Gibbs (36th), Gibbs (72nd), Goodin, Guice, Gunn, Hale, Haney, Harness, Hines, Hobgood-Wilkes, Holloway, Hood, Hopkins, Horan, Horne, Huddleston, Hudson, Jackson, Johnson, Karriem, Kinkade, Ladner, Lamar, Lancaster, Mangold, Massengill, McCarty, McCray, McGee, McKnight, McLean, McLeod, Mickens, Miles, Mims, Morgan, Newman, Oliver, Osborne, Owen, Patterson, Pigott, Porter, Powell, Read, Reynolds, Roberson, Rosebud, Rushing, Sanford, Scoggin, Scott, Shanks, Smith, Steverson, Summers, Taylor, Thompson, Tullos, Turner, Wallace, Weathersby, White, Williams-Barnes, Williamson, Yancey, Yates, Young, Zuber

House Concurrent Resolution 13


     WHEREAS, on November 12, 2019, the final gavel tolled the transformation of celebrated public servant, longtime Legislator and former Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, Mr. William Joseph "Billy" McCoy, when he was summoned home to rest eternally with his Lord and Savior at the blessed age of 77; and

     WHEREAS, a visionary leader, lawmaker and public servant, dedicated farmer, beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather and loyal friend were all words used to describe the man most often referred to with love and admiration as "Billy"; and

     WHEREAS, born in Prentiss County on August 14, 1942, to the late Elmer E. McCoy and Susie Beasley McCoy, who were longtime educators, a young Billy was raised with his hands in the Mississippi soil, working the fields and following the good teachings of his Appalachian family ancestry; and

     WHEREAS, his love for the land was further nurtured during his education in the Prentiss County Public Schools, where he particularly enjoyed his involvement with the Future Farmers of America, and his education at Northeast Mississippi Junior College, where he earned an undergraduate degree in agriculture and Mississippi State University, where he earned his degree in agriculture education; and

     WHEREAS, he began his path, soon to be legacy of public service, immediately after obtaining his college education, when he became a Vocational Agriculture Teacher for a few years and went on to work for State Auditor Hamp King as an auditor of public schools; and

     WHEREAS, Billy's inspiration to public service with the Mississippi House of Representatives was born with his father, former State Representative Elmer E. McCoy, who served the Legislature for 16 years; and

     WHEREAS, in 1980, Representative William Joseph "Billy" McCoy began serving as the State Representative for House District 3 that his father previously represented, and would continue serving that district and the people of the State of Mississippi for the next 32 years with pride and distinction; and

     WHEREAS, his strong work ethic combined with his political savvy caused him to quickly rise from freshman legislator to influential Vice Chairman of the Highways and Highway Financing (now Transportation) Committee in 1984, to his appointment as Chairman of the House Education Committee in 1993, to his tapping in 2000 to chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and culminating in his 2004 election by his colleagues to the Office of Speaker of the House of Representatives, in which he served two terms; and

     WHEREAS, Speaker McCoy was a guiding force in virtually every meaningful economic development, educational, transportation and agricultural program, and amongst his proudest legislative moments were the 1987 Four-Lane Highway Program for which he is credited with being the co-author and "work horse," and the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, which modernized and equalized the funding for public education all across Mississippi and included a one cent sales tax to enhance monies to public schools; and

     WHEREAS, during his more than three decades of diligence and devotion to the needs of the citizens of Mississippi, many constituents, colleagues and friends often referred to him as the "People's Champion" because of his progressive attitude and his keen vision and perspective about the future of Mississippi, and as a strong advocate for programs benefiting the mentally challenged and his unwavering support of community colleges; and

     WHEREAS, during his time in the Legislature, Speaker McCoy's committee assignments have included:  Agriculture, Apportionment and Elections, Education, Penitentiary, Highways and Highway Financing (Transportation), Appropriations, Management, State Library, Joint Congressional Redistricting, Joint Legislative Reapportionment, PERS, Juvenile Justice, Legislative Budget, Ways and Means, Investigation of State Offices, Rules, and Joint Legislative Code Compilation, Revision and Publication; and

     WHEREAS, because many people near and far cherished his great contributions to this state, his name has been given great honor in various ways, including having Group Homes in Booneville named after him, McCoy Hall on the campus of Northeast bears testimony to both his father and himself, and after his long and distinguished service, the Legislature recognized his unselfish and untiring contributions to the state he so loved by naming the Mississippi Department of Transportation Headquarters Building across the street from the State Capitol, the William J. "Billy" McCoy Transportation Building; and

     WHEREAS, throughout his life, he has been honored with many awards, but amongst his most cherished awards were Paul Harris Fellow, Trailblazers Award, Prentiss County Outstanding Citizen, MSU Alumnus of the Year, and being featured on the cover of Farm Bureau Magazine; and

     WHEREAS, many articles and descriptions of Billy always have described him as a man who knew "from whence he came and whither bound" and he used common decency and respect for everyone and a work ethic derived from his "knot on a log" approach to getting things done; and     

     WHEREAS, while his celebrated public life is a matter of public record, Mr. William Joseph "Billy" McCoy was really a homebody, whose priority was loving his family and providing for them dearly; and

     WHEREAS, this champion of Prentiss and Alcorn Counties was commonly known in the back roads and country stores not as "Mister Speaker" but just plain, ole "Billy," unless you were his grandchild and affectionately called him "Bill"; and

     WHEREAS, a longtime member of the Gaston Baptist Church where he had served as a Deacon, Billy was also a faithful member of the Prentiss County and Mississippi Democratic Party, a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason; and

     WHEREAS, a silently generous person, Billy always found time to remain active in many charitable causes, and was instrumental in encouraging thousands of young people to follow their dreams and to never forget their responsibilities to give back to society all they could for the benefits they enjoyed; and

     WHEREAS, the State of Mississippi, the members of the Legislature and citizens of Prentiss and Alcorn Counties will forever remember the statesman affectionately known as "Billy" McCoy, who lived his life with a passion and purpose to improve the quality of life for all Mississippians; and

     WHEREAS, to cherish his memory and honor his legacy, he leaves his beloved wife of 56 years, Edith Leatherwood McCoy, whom he married June 21, 1963; children, Sam and Kim; grandchildren, Lee, Tate, Jackson, Molly Beth and Chloe; great-granddaughter, McCoy; his sister, Mary Sue; sister-in-law, Barbara; his Leatherwood family, Joyce Blackwell, Charley Leatherwood, Mary Jewel Wade, Wayne Leatherwood and Glenda Lee; his confidant and chief chauffeur the last few years, Jeff Williams; and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends all around Mississippi and the nation; and

     WHEREAS, it is the policy of this Legislature to honor and commend the lives of outstanding Mississippi leaders, especially those such as Mr. William Joseph "Billy" McCoy, whose unparalleled public service, dauntless fortitude and remarkable dedication to his family and his community, bring honor to the great State of Mississippi:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby mourn the loss and commemorate the life and legacy of Mr. William Joseph "Billy" McCoy, and express sincere and deepest sympathy to his family and friends upon his passing.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the family of Mr. William J. McCoy and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.