Chamber hosts legislative briefing on 2022 session

Six Coast legislators were at the Golden Nugget in Biloxi on Tuesday morning to talk to South Mississippi business leaders about the 2022 legislative session.

Members of the Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce submitted questions for the briefing, which allowed legislators to communicate directly with the business community.

Sen. Scott Delano of District 50 said the briefing is an opportunity to let business community know about the important issues that came up during the session and gives legislators a chance to learn from the community what they think needs to be the focus for the next session.

Two monumental bills that passed during the 2022 session were to allow medical marijuana use and and the teacher pay raise.

Legislators explained how they believe those bills will affect local business.

For example, the teacher pay raise could be a deciding factor for a business trying to decide where it will open. A healthy education system with new and returning teachers is valuable to business owners.

Rep. Richard Bennett of District 120 said if there is not a healthy education system, businesses aren’t locating in the state.

“And you can see that up in the Delta,” he said. “It’s hurting us drastically because we can’t recruit industry to come up there.

“On the Coast we were a lot more fortunate because we have a good education system here.”

Legislators also highlighted what’s coming next for students in high school with the passage of the comprehensive career and technical education reform act.

“We’re going to see more career technology training in classrooms in Mississippi high schools,” said Sen. Jeremy England of District 51. “We’re going to see more career coaches across the state that will go on and talk to these folks about a path that might be an alternative path that they can go into a trade, enter a workforce where they can earn a living and support their families immediately.”

And while legislators believe they just completed a successful session, there is still more work to be done in 2023.

“I know that in the 13 years I’ve been in the Legislature, we’ve passed more bills and have had more monumental legislation,” Delano said. “But there’s something that did not get addressed and that was the ballot initiative process.

“I know the legislators want to address it more vigorously and we will have something passed in the first couple of months in that legislative session.”

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