talks on session
By SUE WATSON
State Sen. Ralph Doxey was speaker
at the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce luncheon April 26. He provided
a summary of accomplishments and things the 2007 legislative class didn’t
get done, after introduction of state and local candidates by chamber
president Joanne Huff.
Doxey called this year “a banner
year” for Mississippi which included some of the following legislation
affecting education and workforce development:
the state has the largest appropriation ever - $5.499 billion
- not counting state tax dollars used as matching dollars for
education, K-12, received the largest appropriation in history,
about $3.5 billion. Doxey said the money spent on education is
at an all-time high because of construction of the Nissan plant
in Jackson that employs thousands of workers. Workers cannot get
a Nissan job without an education, he said.
the Servicorp steel plant, which has undergone two expansions
already and does not go online until next year, enlarged its construction
budget from $800 million to $1.5 billion, Doxey said.
American Eurocopter also expanded its assembly and customization
facility in Columbus this year. The company produces technologically
advanced light helicopters for government, law enforcement, medical
and paramilitary uses.
Northrop Grumman, in Pascagoula’s Ingalls Shipyard, will
modernize its shipyard to assure it continues getting U.S. Navy
and Coast Guard contracts.
Toyota has decided to locate an assembly plant in North Mississippi.
Doxey said land prices have skyrocketed in the region following
Toyota’s decision to build its Toyota Highlander SUV assembly
plant in Blue Springs.
“Land prices are skyrocketing if you can find anyone who
will sell it,” he said.
junior colleges and institutions of higher learning received
a huge boost in state support this year.
“We just put untold billions of dollars in education,”
Doxey said. “That’s got to be our focus. We’ve
got to continue our efforts to educate our workforce.”
Junior colleges received $20 million this year for workforce
training, he said.
Project Jupiter, an engine plant proposed for Lowndes County,
will pay $18 to $20 an hour, he said. The Mississippi legislature
passed an incentive package - $48.4 million - to help attract
a powertrain manufacturing and assembly plant to a 394-acre site
in the county.
A bill to toughen the criminal laws was passed. Criminals who
commit violent crimes with a deadly weapon or felons carrying
a weapon will get 10 years tacked on to their sentence, Doxey
Bills that died this year included all immigration bills, the
voter ID, and some corrections bills, including:
a Senate bill to stem the flow of illegal aliens into the workforce
in Mississippi with stiffer laws that would punish state contractors
who hire illegal foreign workers. The Senate bill did not however
pass in the House of Representatives, Doxey said.
Mississippi is not yet seeing as large an influx of unauthorized
undocumented workers per capita compared to other states.
“We need to set our laws now,” he
a voter ID bill failed, with the Senate passing the bill. The
bill never came out of the House committee, he said.
certain corrections and judiciary A bills concerning adequate
prison facilities. Doxey, chairman of the Corrections and Judiciary
A committee, said the number of new prisoners is increasing daily.
There are 26,000 state prisoners and 27,000 who are out of prison,
he said. More private, local and state facilities will have to
be built to house inmates, he said.
Calendar of events
May 19 - Holly Springs Walking Horse
Classic at the Marshall County Fairgrounds.
October 24-27 - Kudzu Fest in downtown
Holly Springs. Gospel, country and blues music, carnival rides, J Bar
B Rodeo, barbecue cook-off, arts and crafts, vendors.
The chamber announced 10 new members
and that chamber meetings are being held in businesses now as well as
Business After Hours.
Businesses can host a meeting or a Business
After Hours event. Call Susan Jordan at the chamber office, 662-252-2943
News: (662) 252-4261 or email@example.com
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