Lawmakers Head for Last Week of Regular Session  
This past weekend, March 29th and 30th, was "Conference Weekend" at the Mississippi State Capitol. The last weekend before the close of the legislative session, Representatives and Senators are so busy that they stay in session through the weekend. Throughout last week and for the majority of this week, members of both chambers will be working in conference to see if remaining bills will be sent to the Governor's desk. Before a bill can be sent to Gov. Bryant's desk, the Senate and House must pass the identical version of that bill. Conference between the chambers is needed when they cannot agree on identical language. The biggest task still ahead for legislators is to agree on the FY 2015 budget. Lawmakers will have to decide how to spend the $5.9B in the budget. Debate and conference on the budget will most likely last well in Saturday night and potentially into Sunday.
Last week, one bill that made it through conference and to Governor Bryant's desk was House Bill 48. The Governor signed that bill into law this week. HB 48 created a youth concussion law that will help battle concussions and head injuries for youth athletes across Mississippi.
Rep. Williams Barnes Opposes TANF Drug Testing 
Once the House of Representatives and the Senate pass the identical version of a particular bill, it is sent to Governor Bryant's desk. There, he can either sign the bill into law or veto the bill. One bill that reached his desk this week was HB 49, a measure that would require TANF recipients to pass a drug screen to continue receiving benefits. Against the advice and wishes of many Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Sonya Williams Barnes, Governor Bryant signed HB 49 into law.
Supporters of the measure insist HB 49 is not an attack on Mississippi's poor and working families. They could not be more incorrect. It is unfortunate that our state is going to target the most vulnerable, needy group of people. Supporters of HB 49 also claim that the measure was created to "save tax dollar money." This, too, could not be further from the truth. According to an article in the New York Times, the state of Florida actually ended up SPENDING money on their drug testing program. Reports from that state show that Florida saved no tax payer dollars, and that they actually spent around $50,000 reimbursing TANF recipients for the drug test they were forced to purchase. Reports also show that Florida did not see a decrease in the number of people applying for TANF benefits.
On top of the many reason that this bill is a failure, it is important to know that the Florida bill that was passed with such close similarity was ruled unconstitutional in federal court. House Bill 49 will face scrutiny in federal court, and Mississippi will be forced to use MORE tax dollar money to defend the law in federal court.

Save The Date




Save The Date


Saving our Sisters and Brother 2 Brother 2014 Teen Pregnancy Prevention Conference!


The conference will be held on May 10, 2014 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum at 8:30 am.


Boys and Girls Ages 9-18 are invited to attend.


For further information, please call 228-326-8819


To help sponsor the event or to set up a booth at the conference, please call JZ 94.5 at 228-896-5307. 


                         Heads UP!
The 2014 regular session of the Mississippi State Legislature is in its last week! Sunday, April 6th is Sine Die, or the final day of the session. Bills that are not sent to Governor Bryant's desk by April 6th will be considered dead. After Sunday, all legislative action for 2014 will be finished, unless Governor Bryant calls the legislature in for a special session.
Next week be expecting a 2014 legislative recap version of this newsletter. We will be summarizing the ups and downs of the 2014 session and reviewing several pieces of important legislation.
Sonya Williams Barnes was first elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2011. She has proudly served the 119th District since 2012. House committee assignments are Public Health, Conservation and Water Resources, Gaming, Marine Resources, Tourism, and Ports, Harbors and Airports.
She is Vice President of Lockett-Williams Mortuary, Inc. Barnes was a Legislative Correspondent and Legal Researcher for the United States House of Representatives in Washington D.C.
She is a graduate of Jackson State University and Bishop State Mortuary Science School.
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Rep. Sonya Williams Barnes with Harrison County seniors at the Mississippi Sate

Capitol in 2013. The trip was sponsored by Williams-Barnes, Supervisor William Martin, and Lockett-Williams Mortuary, Inc. 



View our photos on flickr   


NOBEL Women to Hold Annual Conference in Biloxi



The National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL) has announced that they will hold their 2014 annual conference at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi.
The theme of this year's conference is MOVE: Motivating, Organizing, Vocalizing, and Empowering the next generation of Black Women Leaders. The conference will be held from June 19-June 22, 2014.
To register for the 2014 NOBEL Legislative Conference and for more details, please visit