Week of January 9th - 13th, 2017

Several committees held their first meeting of the 2017 Regular Legislative Session this week, and four bills made their way to the House floor for discussion. This was an exciting time for me because I got a chance to meet committee members that I will be working with to help put Mississippi on the TOP. The committees that I have been assigned by the Speaker of the House are as follows: Agriculture, Corrections, County Affairs, Energy, Drug Policy, Ports and Harbors, & Transportation. To my constituents, please text 662-522-1400 or email AHudson@house.ms.gov about any issues related to these committees or that impact our Mississippi Delta. 

On Wednesday, the Rules Committee introduced House Bill 479, which defines and outlines usage guidelines for campaign contributions by any elected official or candidate. The bill prohibits the personal use of campaign contributions and provides acceptable options for how to use leftover money at the conclusion of an elected official or candidate's service or campaign. Enforcement of this legislation would be overseen by the Mississippi Ethics Commission (MSEC). The bill passed by a vote of 102-13 and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

The Insurance Committee introduced two bills to the House floor. If signed into law, House Bill 319 would require drivers to show proof of motor vehicle liability insurance to renew their registration. Discussion ensued about the level of effectiveness and logistics of the bill, but the measure ultimately passed by a vote of 82-33.

No opposition arose at the introduction of House Bill 469. Enactment of this legislation would give a board of supervisors the authority to realign or redraw fire protection districts in an attempt to draw the districts so that residences are within five miles of fire protection.

Both bills will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

The Ways and Means Committee introduced House Bill 131, which would authorize the Department of Revenue to compromise and settle a tax liability that is a doubtful claim. The bill passed without opposition and will be sent to the Senate.

Throughout the week, the Appropriations Committee sub-chairmen met with numerous state agencies to hear their budget requests for the 2018 fiscal year. Those meetings will continue into next week.  

On Monday, January 16, legislators are scheduled to hear from the consultants of EdBuild, the organization hired to reevaluate Mississippi's education funding formula. EdBuild will present its recommendations for education spending in a joint meeting with the House and Senate Education and Appropriations committees. Because I am a staunch proponent of public education, I plan on attending this meeting to clearly understand what is being considered and proposed so that I can ask intelligent questions during each phase of the process.

Several groups visited the Capitol this week, including members of the Mississippi Municipal League, the Mississippi Board of Nursing, CASA Mississippi and a number of Mississippi's fire chiefs from different areas of the state.

Last week, I ran into three other Mississippi Deltans while in Jackson, Mississippi. Senator Derrick Simmons, Senator Buck Clarke, and Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons are each individually accomplishing much in their own right. Collectively, they have reminded me that working together, despite party affiliation, is the only way Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta can move forward on all fronts. 

This weekend, I had fun hooping with Representative Jarvis Dortch, Representative Chris Bell, and other metro Jackson residents. I went 2 for 20 shooting (horrible percentage) and had to be pulled out of the game by my coach. Nonetheless, it was great helping other members of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus get Mississippians excited about exercise and health. 

In this photo, I am getting my hearing screened by a few students from Delta State University at the Capitol. I was pleased to see them getting active, hands on experience in their field. I am hopeful and optimistic that we can persuade them to remain in Mississippi or the Mississippi Delta to live, work, and play. 

As I stated earlier, I received my seven committee assignments. I got a chance to introduce myself to Transportation Chairman Charles Busby. I am confident that the committee can work to improve infrastructure challenges in Mississippi. Our state deserves an upgrade and this is, from  my observation , one of the items that Democrats and Republicans agree on but have yet to figure out exactly how to get a statewide road and bridge project funded.

Bolivar Circuit Clerk Marilyn Kelly, Representative Orlando Paden, Coahoma Circuit Clerk Demetria Jackson and I shared a moment at the statewide clerks convention in Jackson, Mississippi. Circuit Clerks provide a variety of important functions in individual counties. They should be applauded for the work they execute.  

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    Representative Abe M. Hudson, Jr. | 662-522-1400www.abemhudsonjr.com