Additionally, the House Appropriations Committee finished passing bills regarding budgets for state entities last week, so most legislation addressed this week came from the House Ways and Means Committee.
The Mississippi Development Authority Bond Bill,
House Bill 1731
, details the amount of bond money that will be given to MDA programs. One section of the bill provides money for the ACE Fund, which provides grants to local economic development entities to help expand businesses. Other sections of the bill provide money that could be distributed in grants to counties and municipalities to improve infrastructure, enhance local facilities and improve marketability of public property for economic development.
House Bill 1732
proposes that $50 million in bonds be disbursed by the Office of State Aid Road Construction to repair bridges throughout the state. Half of the money would be allotted to municipalities and the other half would be given to counties to assist with repair, rehabilitation or reconstruction of bridges overseen by those groups. Although this is a start, please note this is not a significant investment towards the road and bridge issues that we face as a state. We must remain committed to finding options to increase revenue so that we can maintain and repair our crumbling infrastructure.
Also, legislation proposing how much bond money should be given to state colleges, community colleges and state parks - among other things - was passed in the form of
House Bill 1734
Each of the above bond bills passed when presented on the House floor. The Senate has been busy passing similar legislation, and now the two groups will come together to begin deciding how much money will be put into each bill. This process typically lasts until the end of session when a final decision is reached.
The House also passed
House Bill 1598
, which will provide a state income tax credit to venison processors in the amount of 50 percent of the production cost of processing venison donated by hunters for the Mississippi Hunter's Harvest Program. The program, which is part of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, provides donated venison meat to less fortunate Mississippi families as a low-fat, dependable source of protein. Hunters and processors can learn more about how to be a part of the program at
Lastly, the House has not passed any legislation to address the the education formula that impacts our 490,000 kids. As reported by Mississippi Today, a special session is on the horizon. A bill attempting to adopt a new education funding formula, along with a bill for education appropriations, will likely be introduced during a specially called session. Please read the article for more details:
. As a Mississippi citizen, I urge you to stay engaged as state lawmakers make decisions about the future of our most important asset, YOUTH.
Committees have also begun to meet again, this time to discuss Senate Bills. Over the next couple of weeks, Senate Bills will make their way out of House committees and onto the House floor for discussion, while the Senate reviews bills that passed through the House.
Students who are members of Future Farmers of America came from all over the state to visit the Capitol this week. Legislators also received visitors from the NAACP, the Mississippi Wildlife Enforcement Officers' Association, the Epilepsy Foundation of Mississippi and the Mississippi Academy of Physicians.