Bill Text: MS SC505 | 2010 | 2nd Special Session | Enrolled

Bill Title: Commend the life and service of John Ed Ainsworth.

Spectrum: Bipartisan Bill

Status: (Passed) 2010-08-31 - Enrolled Bill Signed [SC505 Detail]

Download: Mississippi-2010-SC505-Enrolled.html


2010 2nd Extraordinary Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Gollott, Blount, Burton, Carmichael, Clarke, Dearing, Fillingane, Harden, Horhn, Jackson (11th), Jackson (32nd), King, Montgomery, Ward

Senate Concurrent Resolution 505

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


     WHEREAS, John Ed Ainsworth, the last person to serve as Mississippi's State Land Commissioner, passed away on May 9, 2010; and

     WHEREAS, John Ed Ainsworth served as Land Commissioner from 1976 to 1980, all while calling for the abolishment of the post in an effort to make state government more efficient and effective.  The Legislature agreed with Ainsworth and did away with the post, folding its duties into the Secretary of State's Office in 1980; and

     WHEREAS, one of John Ed Ainsworth's main goals was to make 16th Section school lands more profitable for the school districts that benefit from them.  Efforts he advocated included placing limits on the terms of leases and seeking competitive bids to make sure income was at least on par with private land; and

     WHEREAS, school trust lands or 16th Section school lands were set aside by the federal government in 1787 for education purposes.  The 16th Section leases were a source of abuse and squander by counties for almost two centuries until Ainsworth and the Mississippi Legislature reformed the leasing procedures in 1979.  Ainsworth detested the widespread practice of "sweetheart leases" of school trust lands, which gave leaseholders the opportunities to pay pennies for long-term leases while shortchanging the schoolchildren's trust fund.  He attacked these out-of-date, absurdly low perpetuity leases as a fraud on the public trust and the worst kind of backroom good-ol'-boy politics.  In the late 1960s, 16th Section revenue was about $3 Million a year in Mississippi.  In Fiscal Year 2008, 16th Section revenue was $77.1 Million; and

     WHEREAS, John Ed Ainsworth was a native of Washington County and attended the public schools at Glen Allen and Hollandale.  He earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Mississippi State and a Master's of Public Administration from the University of Mississippi; and

     WHEREAS, Ainsworth spent the last few years working as an expert in casino development on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  John Ed was one of the most informed experts on gaming laws in the South.  He helped pass legalized gaming in Mississippi in 1992 and assisted the Mississippi Legislature in setting up the gaming laws that are a model for the nation.  He had a way of making simple statements memorable and complex statements understandable; and

     WHEREAS, John Ed Ainsworth is survived by his ex-wife, Nan, and three adult sons; and

     WHEREAS, John Ed had a distinctive laugh which he shared with others.  He was a man of great good humor.  Ainsworth helped Mississippi schoolchildren and state taxpayers in a way that should be remembered.  He was a truly great man and a public servant:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby mourn the loss and recognize the legacy of service of John Ed Ainsworth, an historically important Mississippian and a great friend, and extend to his surviving family our sympathy on his passing.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to the surviving family of John Ed Ainsworth, forwarded to the Secretary of State, and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.