2017 Legislative Session Opens Today

The new year means it’s time for state lawmakers to head back to Jackson for the new legislative session. This session is set to be an important one for Coast residents.
News 25’s Katarina Luketich has our report from Jackson.
The session officially got underway at noon at the state capitol, but today was a ceremonial day with not much official work to be done. That will kick off later in the week. News 25 caught up with some state lawmakers and they tell us what they expect to be the commanding topics of the session.
The biggest for the Coast is the allocation of $110 million in BP oil spill money. It’s sure to be an uphill battle for Coast lawmakers who are in the minority, but there’s optimism things will work out. Representative Charles Busby said, “I think a majority of lawmakers understand that that’s where the damage was done. That’s where the greatest bang for the buck for the state of Mississippi is. We get a greater return on those investments than anywhere else in the state.”
Also a major topic is public education. Lawmakers are currently waiting on a report from private firm EdBuild on how to restructure the MAEP formula, a funding formula that’s only been fully funded twice in its existence. Senator Brice Wiggins said,“There’s something inherently at issue there and so this is a chance for us to get it right and set a course for the future.”
Something else sure to draw major discussion is the state budget. A number of state agencies underwent funding cuts last year and more cuts are expected. House Minority Leader David Baria said, “We’re cutting agencies to the bone, particularly those that take care of our poorest and sickest citizens. I’m opposed to that and so you will see some skirmishes break out around the budget.”
During the last session, there was some contention between Democrats and Republicans, particularly in the House. Democrats felt their voices were not being heard. House Minority Leader David Baria tells News 25 House Speaker Philip Gunn reached out to him and they will have sit down meetings throughout the session to ensure a productive relationship moving forward.

Categories: Mississippi State News, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *