2007 Regular Session


By: Senator(s) Dearing, Little, Albritton, Brown, Browning, Bryan, Burton, Butler, Carmichael, Chaney, Chassaniol, Clarke, Cuevas, Davis, Dawkins, Doxey, Fillingane, Flowers, Frazier, Gollott, Gordon, Harden, Hewes, Horhn, Hyde-Smith, Jackson (11th), Jackson (15th), Jackson (32nd), Jordan, King, Kirby, Lee (35th), Lee (47th), Mettetal, Michel, Moffatt, Morgan, Nunnelee, Pickering, Posey, Robertson, Ross, Simmons, Thames, Thomas, Tollison, Turner, Walley, Walls, White, Wilemon, Williamson

Senate Resolution 30

(As Adopted by Senate)


     WHEREAS, Senator Billy Howard Thames is retiring from the Mississippi Senate after serving 28 years in office; and

     WHEREAS, Senator Billy Thames is a man of integrity and hard work, and there is an acknowledged respect for the public and private life of our esteemed and beloved colleague, who is a role model for all members of the Mississippi Senate; and

     WHEREAS, Senator Thames first entered politics in 1976 when he was elected to the Smith County School Board.  He ran for the Mississippi State Senate in 1979, won, and has been reelected seven times representing Smith, Jasper, Clarke and now portions of Scott and Jones Counties.  Senator Thames has served as Chairman of a number of Senate committees and subcommittees since he was first elected.  Currently he is serving his second term as Chairman of the Fees, Salaries and Administration Committee and serves as legislative advisor to the State Personnel Board, the Institute for Technology Development, Information Technology Services, and the Public Employees Retirement System.  He previously chaired the Agriculture Committee and was Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee; and

     WHEREAS, born April 2, 1944, the son of Leland "Bill" and Cleo Thames, Billy Howard Thames grew up in rural Simpson County just outside of Magee, Mississippi.  After graduating from Magee High School and Hinds Community College, he received a degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.  In 1969 he established a farm and light industrial equipment business in Mize, Mississippi.  A natural salesman, he received the top Agricultural Tractor Sales Award for a five-state area in 1973.  Billy also used his love of music and his rich bass voice to direct music in churches for over 25 years.  In 1998 Senator Thames enrolled in Mississippi State University and in 2000 earned a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Administration.  He was inducted into Pi Alpha Alpha, the Honor Society for Public Administration.  He is also a graduate of the State Executive Development Institute; and

     WHEREAS, for many years he handled the budget for the Department of Mental Health, becoming familiar with the agency mission and developing a great compassion for the needs of the individuals it serves.  He has been instrumental in helping to secure funds to expand services to Mississippi's citizens with mental illness and mental retardation.  In 1996 Senator Thames convened a committee to study the needs of persons with mental illness and their families and, as a result, authored the 1997 Mental Health Reform Act (Senate Bill No. 2100) which made sweeping changes to mental health service provision, including the creation of the Crisis Intervention Center System.  His gift of persuasive public speaking has aided him in advancing many causes near to his heart and the bill passed in one legislative session.  For this accomplishment, the Central Mississippi Crisis Intervention Complex was named in his honor; and

     WHEREAS, a true statesman, Senator Thames has received 29 awards as Legislator of the Year and for outstanding service, including the first "Billy H. Thames Award," created by the Mental Health Association which is now given to legislators who make significant contributions to mental health issues; the Mississippi Psychiatric Association; Mississippi Families as Allies; the Southeast Chapter of American Association on Mental Retardation; the Mississippi Mental Health/Mental Retardation Council; the Mississippi Alliance for the Mentally Ill; and most recently the Mississippi Primary Health Care Association; and

     WHEREAS, as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, Billy was widely known and admired for handling the most difficult issues to come before the Legislature with skillful organization and credibility, including the "chicken bill" and the "hog bill."  More recently, he was responsible for enacting the motor vehicle fleet management legislation which had been debated for many years; and

     WHEREAS, with his many accomplishments, he is most proud of his family:  his wife, Ann; his daughters, Lisa Thames Williams and her husband, Mark; Lori Thames; Belinda Thames Arrington and her husband, Jay; and his seven grandchildren:  Sidney, Brittney, Jordan, Jace, Haley, Faith and Jaylin; and

     WHEREAS, Senator Thames' long service was marked by his commitment to success and recognized leadership, and was exemplified by sound judgment and fairness.  He set the highest standard in all of his many roles, as a father, husband, grandfather, businessman, citizen, statesman and leader in the Mississippi Senate and as a true friend:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend and recognize Senator Billy Howard Thames, whose long and outstanding service enriched everyone with whom he was associated, and we wish Billy and his family much success in their future endeavors.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be presented to Senator Billy Thames and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.