Thursday, March 20, 2014
Report from the Mississippi Senate
Congrats to teams on great seasons
In a very busy week in the Mississippi Senate, we enjoyed visits from Byhalia boys, Pine Grove and H.W. Byers girls basketball teams.
Teams were in Jackson to compete in the annual MHSAA State Basketball Tournament.
Congratulations to all three teams on a great year and a big congratulations to Coach Jason Thompson and the H.W. Byers Lady Lions on their fourth straight state championship. The Lady Lions have won a state title in six of the last seven years.
With a deadline on Wednesday, we passed House Bill 72 that will require all school buses be marked clearly identifying what school or school district they are affiliated with. Some districts in the state contract transportation services and may have only the name of the company on the busses. We also passed House Bill 928 that will ensure public records costs are kept reasonable and are not inflated. In keeping with our pledge to keep government transparent, it provides a civil penalty for violations.
House Bill 1318 authorizes the state auditor to review state-funded economic development projects and it allows the office to recoup up to $100,000 in auditing/investigative costs if need be. House Bill 765 would allow parents of certain children to directly receive education funds, in the amount of $6,000 per child annually. The bill, which is, at best, constitutionally questionable, provides little accountability for the use of funds and sets a dangerous precedent. Many of us are concerned that either bill will hurt the children the proponents purport to help and will be a step toward the privatization and “profitization” of our public education system.
After a lengthy debate, we passed House Bill 1476, the Department of Education Appropriations Bill. Several members of the Senate offered an amendment to prohibit any of the funds from being used to implement the Common Core Standards.
That amendment failed by a vote of 11-39. A second amendment, to increase funding for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program passed 26-24. The bill has been returned to the House where it will almost certainly be sent to Conference.
House Bill 432 authorizes the teaching of CPR and AED to students grades 9-12 by the Red Cross and the American Heart Association. This could be a life-saving measure.
Other bills passed included:
• House Bill 273 that gives public defenders supervisory authority over their employees.
• House Bill 762 would require officers arresting persons for domestic violence to check their criminal status with the Mississippi Protective Order Registry.
• House Bill 558 allows county supervisors to grant themselves salary supplements subject to several conditions and limitations.
• House Bill 1409 increases the salaries of sheriffs statewide.
• House Bill 749 allocates $1.5 million for a Strike Force that would battle crime in hot spots across the state under the supervision of Attorney General Jim Hood.
I can be reached at the capitol while in session at (601) 359-3221, by cell phone at (662) 224-4126, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/senatorbillstone or by e-mail at: email@example.com. The Senate mailing address is P.O. Box 1018, Jackson, MS 39215.
News: (662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: (662) 252-3388
Questions, comments, corrections: email@example.com
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