Emmett Till

A few years ago, I went to Tallahatchie County to visit Representative Robert Huddleston. He and several others took me all around the county area on a cold Sunday afternoon to share the different places where the various scenes of the Emmett Till atrocities occurred. My wife, Adrienne, and I take people on tours of the Mississippi Delta and wanted to get more acquainted with the event. This was the beginning of a journey in history that garnered a new chapter a few weeks ago.
From the start, I have done my personal best to tell the story as I understand it. When I share it with people, I try to use it as an opportunity for healing rather than hurt. Stories like this one remind us of the pain Mississippi has endured over the years. I am optimistic Mississippi will see better days ahead.

***Please scroll to bottom of newsletter to read the weekly update!!! Thanks for staying engaged.
Representative Shane Aguirre is a level headed guy who loves Mississippi as much as I do. We've had a chance to talk on a number of occasions, and realize we have some things in common. #MSLeg

  If you are interested in what's happening with education in Mississippi, please attend the public education rally on March 16th at the Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi. This is an opportunity for you to make your voice heard. #SpeakUp

Eudora Welty's photography has always fascinated me. One day after session, I stopped by the library that bears her name. #Art
Last week, Innovate Mississippi had an open house where I met the Chief Administrative Officer, Darryl Pieroni, of Edge Theory Conversation Media ( www.edgetheory.com). They have a unique service that is sure to help businesses looking to craft messages for the digital marketing world. #Technology

Here, I am pictured with Representative Debra Dixon's youth page, Ivy Green. She is the daughter of Dr. Torrence and Lakeisha Green of Jackson, Mississippi. #Youth

Last week, I briefly attended a Open Mic Night to support one of the local undergraduate chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated at Tougaloo College. Here, I am pictured with Angel Garcia who is a senior biology major and member of the organization. #AlphaMan

Last Thursday at the Mississippi Forestry Association luncheon, I met Chad Robertson who is the Raw Materials Coordinator for Domtar. They take raw materials from Amory, Mississippi and ship them to Kentucky to create specialized products. #Forestry

Representative Abe M. Hudson, Jr.
Legislative Update
February 26th-March 3rd, 2017

The deadline for House committees to pass Senate bills occurred Tuesday. Any Senate bills that did not make it out of these committees died. Throughout the rest of the week, the House met to discuss Senate bills as a whole. Contrary from last year, it appears the mood has shifted from a fight between parties (Democrat and Republican) to a battle between chambers (Senate and House). Neither form of politicking gets our state any closer to resolving our revenue woes.
House Bill 974, which removed almost all state employees from civil service protections, died in committee. Also, House Bill 711, which would support the film industry's tax incentive program, was stopped. House Bill 1039, which provided help for sexual assault victims on college and university campuses, died as well. House Bill 555, which was designed to tie the Attorney General's hands when taking corporate wrongdoers to task, died in a Senate committee after barely getting out of the House. House House Bill 480, which contained language for an internet sales tax designated for road and bridge repair, died in committee.
On Friday, March 3rd, Federal inspectors closed 100 Mississippi bridges due to dangerous conditions. The Mississippi Department of Transportation has already designated over 4,000 bridges as deficient. This is a very urgent matter. There is nothing else on the horizon, except a $50 million bond bill to help municipalities and counties repair bridges. With an estimated cost of $350 million per year for the next ten years to take care of this problem, $50 million is only a meager portion. 
The state budget should be a big concern to all Mississippians. The central piece of this budget is the K-12 funding. On Monday, Representative Jay Hughes, public education advocate, urged colleagues to suspend the rules and take up a lottery bill outside the normal deadline. When I asked him about his thoughts on the matter, he responded by saying:
"All bills filed during a legislative session have deadlines before which they must be filed. The deadline to file a lottery bill had already passed. The worsening budget and revenue crisis made it clear that we simply are not going to have enough revenue to fund our public schools or our critical roads and bridges. So, I drafted a paper called a Suspension Resolution to ask the members of the House to suspend all deadlines and consider a new lottery bill. It could generate tens of millions of dollars for education and infrastructure." -Representative Jay Hughes
As the Clarion Ledger reported, Representative Hughes proposed having 25 percent of the proceeds designated for municipalities and 50 percent earmarked for education. The remaining 25 percent of funds would go toward counties. The story went on to say that municipalities and cities would have discretion on how to spend the revenue, but Representative Hughes indicated most would ideally apply the funds toward infrastructure.
Both the House and Senate introduced bills regarding campaign finance this year. This week the House discussed the Senate's version, Senate Bill 2689. The Senate version included a grandfather clause exempting campaign accounts created before the bill would go into effect and provided more specific definitions that would clarify the bill. House members compromised on this bill with their own version by inserting language from the House's campaign finance bill. This transferred more authority to the Mississippi Ethics Commission and clarified situations in which campaign funds would not be allowed for use. The bill passed by a vote of 102-12.
Senate Bill 2625 garnered a lot of discussion when introduced to the House floor this week. While the bill simply makes a few technical corrections to legislation passed last year, some Representatives expressed concern about how the previous bill is affecting state agencies. The bill passed last year authorized a yearly sweep of the special funds of 15 state agencies into the state general fund. Agencies now have to ask for that money from the general fund instead of having it automatically allocated to them in special funds. Supporters say that this allows funding to be distributed to areas that need it and adds transparency in how money in special funds is being used. Those opposed say that agencies should be able use the money at their own discretion as they have in years past. The new technical corrections proposed passed by a vote of 84-33.
A couple of items were added to previous legislation with the passage of Senate Bill 2305, known as the "move over bill." Legislation which formerly required drivers to yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles will now include mail carrier vehicles in the list of public servants for which drivers must move out of the way on the road.
House members passed Senate Bill 2006, which will require mammogram providers to alert patients to dense breast tissue that may cause problems in the future. Currently, patients simply receive information about whether the test was positive or negative without being alerted that there may be tissue that indicates possibility of future complications.
Legislators honored several Mississippians at the Capitol this week for their personal accomplishments and positive representation of our state. On Tuesday, members presented a concurrent resolution to the 2016 Alcorn State University Women's Tennis Team for winning the 2016 Southwestern Athletic Conference Women's Tennis Tournament. On the same day, Blues musician Bobby Rush was honored for winning the first Grammy of his career at the 59th annual Grammy Awards in early February for his album "Porcupine Meat." Later in the week, legislators recognized Mississippi NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Miss Mississippi 2016 Laura Lee Lewis for their titles and accomplishments.
Several groups visited legislators at the Capitol this week, including the Alcorn State University National Alumni Association, the National Association of Social Workers, Keep Mississippi Beautiful, the Desoto County Economic Development Council and the Mississippi Sickle Cell Foundation.

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