Mozell Little, III, an 8th grader, asked if he could spend a day with me at the Capitol during spring break. I was glad to have him visit me on Thursday for the short morning session.

Please scroll to the  bottom  to read my newsletter from the eleventh week of the 2018 Mississippi Legislative session. Also, you can forward the newsletter to others  who might want to be better informed about the political process. Thanks for your engagement. In the email, I have included the following:

*Monday Motivation
*Brief Weekly Update
*State Revenue
*More About Conference Committees
*Photojournal


If you click on the blue hyperlinks in the newsletter, you will be directed to a link.

2018 Mississippi Legislative 
Session  (Week 11)

The deadline to consider revenue and appropriations bills that originated in the Senate occurred this week. Last week's House floor action was forerunner to what is known as "conference week" in the Legislature. Appropriations and revenue bills will be discussed in conference. This is a period during which Representatives and Senators will work together to finalize figures in each bill. These bills detail how much money will be appropriated to a number of different state boards and departments. A few examples are the Department of Revenue, Department of Public Safety and Institution of Higher Learning.

Between these last two weeks of session, legislators will work through the weekend to also finalize changes on any general bills that were amended and require further discussion from both sides. Also, changes to House bills are being "concurred" upon and the bills sent to the governor to be signed into law. Among these is the Gestational Age Act, which would limit abortions to up to 15 weeks of pregnancy instead of 20 weeks.

State Revenue

As you may know, revenue is down due to significant corporate tax cuts enacted during the past few sessions. Just like your decisions for your own family budget, legislative spending decisions must be made within our state's income. The imposed constraints on our budget have had a damaging ripple effect throughout state government and the greater economic welfare of many Mississippians.
 
For example, due to the corporate tax cuts, hundreds of state employees have already been fired or laid off, and others may face the same fate unless there is an infusion of income to state coffers. Not only are state employees being asked to absorb more job responsibilities when their colleagues leave, they are also doing so without raises. In fact, the Mississippi Association of State Employees was at the Capitol last week reminding us that public employees have not had a raise in 13 years.
 
When the ranks of state employees are cut, their contributions to the state employee retirement system go away, and the stability of the fund is threatened. Additionally, underpaid or fired public servants cannot contribute to the overall state economy at the level necessary to help pull our state economic ranking off the bottom of the national list. The House Democratic Caucus has asked for a roll back or at least a delay in the corporate tax cuts to prevent devastating reductions in vital state services, but concerns appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

More about Conference Committees

Both chambers vote on the "money bills," and the opposite chamber may choose to amend the work of the originating chamber. Committee chairs then present the measures to the originating chamber and recommend whether the bills should be passed as amended or go to conference. If a conference is requested, the chairs of the House and Senate committees appoint three members from each chamber. Usually, the committee includes the chairman. Then, the committee meets to come to an agreement. Sometimes they agree to let the bill die in committee. Conference committees will continue to meet through the weekend to complete work prior to Sine Die, the date the session must end.
 
Significantly, conference committees primarily meet at unannounced times in unpublished locations. From what I understand, the protocol has tremendously changed. Whereas in times past conference committee deliberations were open to the public, now members rarely get a glimpse of the final versions for more than a brief amount of time before we are asked to vote. It is the House Democratic Caucus's position that these committee meetings should be conducted in a manner that will allow the public to observe negotiations and allow all members access.

Monday Motivation:

Congratulations to Mississippi State Representative Tyrone Ellis for 38 years of service. I am thankful I got to attend all of his farewell events last week. Representative Ellis had a career worthy of honor. Moreover, I am thankful he was my deskmate for one year during the 2017 legislative session before he left. I appreciate all the wisdom, guidance, and support he provided me during my rookie year in the House chamber.
  Here I am photographed with Judge Linda Coleman. She was the Representative for House District 29 for 25 years before I was elected to serve.
Last week while at session, I got this photo from my mother. It is a photo of my Dad (Abe, Sr.) coloring with my daughter (Abee) with her. I am thankful for my family. I really appreciate their support while I am off serving House District 29.
Friday in Cleveland, MS, Grammy Museum Mississippi had a musical tribute to the Civil Rights Music Commemoration. Later that night, I saw this group from the Recording Academy (GRAMMY Los Angeles) enjoying an afterparty at the Senator's Place Restaurant. Top row from Left to Right: Alicia Warwick (Nashville, TN), Kenny Cordova (Miami, FL), & Blair Caplinger (not staff)(Atlanta, GA). Bottom row from Left to Right: Susan Stewart (Nashville, TN), Michele Caplinger (Atlanta, GA), &  Jon Hornyak (Memphis, TN).

Thanks to Representative Mark Baker for taking a moment to talk to Mozell Little, III. Representative Baker really took time to patiently answer questions and attentively listen to the youth visitor.

Representative Tyrone Ellis, former Secretary of State Eric Clark, House of Representatives Clerk Lisa Davis, and Judge Linda Coleman share a moment at Representative Tyrone Ellis' retirement reception.

 Last week,  Wonder Woman (Megan Fleming) and an Angel (Bobbie Matheney) came to the Capitol advocating for more funds and less cuts on behalf of the Bolivar County Library System. I am always glad to see folks from back home being involved in the political process.  

Last week, Representative Debra Gibbs and Representative Chris Bell introduced and honored the 100 Black Men of Jackson, Mississippi on the House floor.
Visit, Call, or Email

I look forward to welcoming Mississippians to their State Capitol. I encourage you to come to the House gallery to watch your State Representatives in action. Want to contact a House Member? You can call the Capitol switchboard at 601-359-3770 to leave a message for a legislator. Also, you can mail your Representatives and Senators via group email at the following addresses: Representatives@house.ms.gov and Senators@senate.ms.gov. Each Representative and Senator will receive the email. Your voice matters!!!

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

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