This week, I had two students (Alex Cox and  Henry Simmons ) from Bolivar County spend the entire week with me at the Capitol. Henry is a senior at Shelby Broadstreet High School and Alex is a senior at Cleveland Central High School. They participated in the page program which gives young people a chance to be a part of the political process. Alex and Henry made their parents, school, and community proud by exhibiting outstanding service. I am hopeful this will lead to lifelong political awareness and service in each these gentleman. Click Here to see more photos from their visit.  #TogetherWeCan   #bolivarcounty

Please scroll to the  bottom  to read my newsletter from the twelfth
 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:

*Weekly Update
*Photojournal
*Attorney General Revenue
*Transportation Funding
*Education Funding
*State Education Test
*Weapons in Classroom
*Appointments
*Convention of States

If you click on the blue hyperlinks in the newsletter, you will be directed to a bill or an article. Please read this pertinent information.

2018 Mississippi Legislative 
Session  (Week 12)

At this point in the 2018 session, several bills have already been sent to the Governor to be signed into law. A few are still being discussed in conference committees behind closed doors. With only one week left in the 2018 legislative session, lawmakers remained in Jackson to work throughout the weekend. This extra time allowed for selected legislators to discuss bills that both the House and Senate had to make substantive changes to satisfy each chambers.

As I have stated in previous newsletters, conference on a bill occurs when further discussion is needed by members of both the House and Senate to reach the best solution. A conference consists of three Representatives and three Senators who work together to finalize a bill. Once a bill is out of conference, it must go to both the House and Senate for a vote before being sent to the Governor. The deadline for bills to come out of conference and pass the House and Senate occurs during the final week. Any bills that are passed out of conference will then be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.

Also, just because a bill goes to the Governor does not mean that it will be passed. For example, House Bill 1476, which would revise the requirements for obtaining a real estate brokers license from one year to three years of apprenticeship, was vetoed by the Governor. Although the bill passed both the House and the Senate, it was halted at the Governor's office. 

Additionally, the House and Senate did meet as a whole to discuss and pass local and private bills.

Finally, legislators are expecting to end the session earlier than the proposed April 1 sine die date.

On Saturday, I stopped by to thank the people who attended one of Mississippi's "March for Our Lives Rally" across the street from the Capitol. Here I am photographed with Pat Price McKee (Cleveland) and Alice Tisdale (Jackson).

The National Caucus of Environmental Legislators ( https://www.ncel.net
) serves as a bipartisan resource on environmental items through providing legislative research, supporting the organization of events, and facilitating collaboration between lawmakers working on similar issues. After attending the conference this summer, Senator Robert Jackson and I helped to coordinate a visit for Jane Krantz and Dylan McDowell to visit the Mississippi Capitol to share with other legislators who represent Mississippi River communities. In addition to hearing from NCEL, Senator Jackson and I asked experts from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Audubon Mississippi to share why shepherding our environment is of vital importance.

Bolivar County Community Action Agency Executive Director Elnora Littleton, several of her dedicated staff, and concerned parents visited the Capitol with the Mississippi Headstart Association. With a $6 million budget, the Bolivar County Headstart program services 750 youth and employs 250 individuals. Considering the services they provide the community, we should not be discussing cuts but a larger investment. Click Here to read more about the agency.


I attended the University of Southern Mississippi with Representative Percy Watson's son. I remember hearing about him from afar. Now, I have the pleasure of working alongside this decorated Mississippi legislator. I have appreciated every moment I have gotten to spend with him the last two legislative sessions. In this photo, we were preparing to work for the people of Mississippi on a Saturday.

This weekend, I missed Abee participating in the first biannual toddler showcase. The Clarksdale Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta was raising money for graduation scholarships. It was the first time baby girl was in an event like this. I missed it because I had legislative responsibilities. 

I love to see students from the Mississippi Delta excelling. Anthony Jackson is from Mound Bayou, MS. He is a great kid who attends Mississippi College in Clinton, MS. Anthony invited me to a crawfish boil this weekend. Since I was in the area, I went to the event and met several other really amazing students.

When I got elected, I promised the people of Rosedale, MS that I'd work to help revive the Great River Road Park. The best way to accomplish that is to find partners like Audubon Mississippi who understand the value of the Mississippi River. Jill Mastrototaro is the Director of Policy at Audubon Mississippi. Their mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. Please LIKE their Facebook Page

This week, I met Monica Ritchie (Executive Director) and Danny Blue (Director of Finance and Administration) who work with Volunteer Mississippi ( www.volunteermississippi.org). Established in 1994, as the State Office on Volunteerism, the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service works to build a culture of citizenship and service in the state. After speaking with them, I am ready to go back to the Mississippi Delta and commit time to some worthwhile projects to help improve my area.   

***In 2017, Volunteer Mississippi programs oversaw  96,970 volunteer engagements and  1,331,441 hours of service. To quantify the above data, this is a n estimated value of $32,140,333.96.

Amanda Delperdang is a committed educator and board president for Regional Initiatives for Sustainable Education ( https://www.risems.org). This weekend, their team hosted a problem solving session in Mound Bayou, MS to discover solutions for the teacher shortage in the Mississippi Delta. Their approach is not to focus on the problem, but to search for plausible answers. From what I hear, t here were almost 30 individuals at the event. We appreciate what you and your team are doing in the Mississippi Delta!!!

John C. Stennis Space Center  in south  Mississippi  is one of 10 NASA field centers in the United States. When NASA and it's partners came to Jackson for their day at the Capitol on last week, I met Sheila Varnado who works at A2 Research. She  impressed upon me the impact and influence that the NASA location in Mississippi has around the world.

Attorney General Revenue
On Friday, state economist Dr. Darrin Webb presented a report showing that Attorney General Hood's recovery efforts had brought over $32 million into state coffers recently. Dr. Webb also reported that state revenue estimates are up some $22 million for the 2019 Fiscal Year. (Note This does not count the Attorney General's recovery.) This "surplus" gives us hope that some of the agencies suffering from massive budget cuts can be relieved. At the least, it could ensure that the $8.2 million additional education funding could remain in the K-12 appropriation bill.

Transportation Funding
I, along with several other legislators, was surprised to learn via the media that the "BRIDGE Act," Senate Bill 3046, had died in conference committee. This bill was brought out late and touted as a real program to address our state's road and bridge infrastructure crisis. House members who served on the conference committee determined the measure would force local governments to raise taxes to support the proposed road and bridge projects in the bill.  They moved to kill it in the conference committee. Though reluctant, I, along with several other House members, voted for the measure when it first came before the chamber because I thought it was a chance to get something meaningful done for our state infrastructure.

Education Funding
The appropriation bill for K-12, House Bill 1592, was another significant bill under consideration in conference. After the successful defeat of House Bill 957, or the public school funding rewrite bill, and the death of Senate Bill 2623, the charter school bill, rumors surfaced that public school funding would be slashed. The original House Bill 1592 provides an additional $8.2 million over the "level funding" of last year's K-12 appropriation. Education proponents are urging that the $8.2 million stay in the appropriation. Even with that additional money, our public schools are still $235 million below what they would receive from a full MAEP appropriation.

State Education Test
House members participated in a press briefing to discuss whether subject matter tests should be used as criteria for a student graduating from high school. A number of public school administrators were on hand to explain the difficulties that the current state-imposed system of mandatory testing places on our teachers and students. Testimony provided detailed the amount of time, in terms of lost instruction and preparation hours, that the current testing system demands of educators and students. Others told of the extreme stress that caused educators and students to become sick on test days. Although the Mississippi Department of Education denies the existence of "exit exams," testimony revealed that the ability to pass a state-mandated subject assessment test did indeed determine whether a student could graduate.

Several bills had been filed during this session to remove the test mandate and replace it with the already-present administration of the ACT test as a means of judging students' achievement. All of the bills died without consideration. It is important to note that the push to lift the testing millstone is a bi-partisan effort. We expect this effort to continue during the year and into the next session.

Weapons in Classroom
House Bill 1083, which would have allowed teachers to carry weapons in an effort to protect against potential shooters, was left to die on the calendar. I think that was a prudent decision and I hope we are finished considering this idea.

Appointments
History was made this week when former state senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner, w as named Mississippi's first female United States Senator to replace retiring Thad Cochran, and Dr. Alfred Rankins, President of Alcorn State University, was named the state's first African American IHL Commissioner. We congratulate these two and wish them well in their groundbreaking endeavors. 

Convention of States
Some discussion occurred with the introduction of House Concurrent Resolution 56, which calls for the state to submit an application to request a convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. In order for this to happen, 34 states must submit an application. Proponents of the bill say this would allow for a few helpful amendments to be made to the constitution. Several members and I opposed the resolution saying that a meeting to amend the constitution would open the doors for more changes than would be helpful or necessary.




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!!!

Stay in Touch With Social Media

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

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