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 from the third week of session. Also, you can forward newsletter to others who might want to be better informed about the political process.  Thanks for your engagement.

 In this photograph, I was introducing two amendments to House Bill 957Last week was my first time "Going to the Well" as legislators and others around the Capitol call it when one presents on the house floor. Though neither of my amendments to help rural school districts was passed, it was an experience I will not soon forget. Click Here to listen to one of my amendments. Also, Click Here if you'd like to read my entire amendment transcript for both bills.

Additionally, there were 15 other amendments which were all voted down. In total, 1 7 amendments were offered to make adjustments to the bill and all were not accepted. The other amendments ranged from increasing the proposed $4,800 base student amount to requiring home economics to giving teacher pay raises. Please scroll below to hear more of my thoughts on this bill that could hurt several rural school districts.


Although winter weather affected the Capitol City in the same way it affected much of the state this week with many schools and state departments closing, the legislature continued with meetings as planned. Here, I am photographed with a long time Capitol staff member, Mike Moore, as the snow was coming down. He is an unsung hero here at the State House. On this day, he gave me a cardboard box and windex for my windshield.

On last Monday, the Epsilon Xi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated had its 22nd annual MLK scholarship breakfast at Coahoma Community College. I was proud to have two seniors from Bolivar County represent. Not only do the the first, second, and third place participants receive a monetary prize, but the chapter provides each student a token of financial appreciation. Afterwards, I spoke to each of the young men and they were happy about the speaking and networking opportunity that was afforded them.

Representative Greg Holloway was elected to the Mississippi state legislature in 1999. I always appreciate when he stops by my desk to share words of wisdom and advice.

Last week, the TRI-County Workforce Alliance was honored on the House floor. Charles Barron (Chairman of Board), Tracey Rosebud (Vice Chair of Board), and Josephine Rhymes (Executive Director-not pictured) work hard to develop a competitive workforce, reduce unemployment, and promote systemic change within the educational system. Click Here to find out more about their organization.

In this photograph, I am standing with John Fairman (CEO of Delta Health Center) and James Hodges (Delta Health Center Board Chairman). I was attending the Mississippi Primary Health Care Association ( http://mphca.com) Awards Recognition and Reception at the time of the picture. I am happy to say that the Delta Health Center ( http://www.deltahealthcenter.org) is located in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. It is the first rural community health center and the first Federally Qualified Community Health Center in the United States.

I am a member of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus. Representative Sonya Williams Barnes is the Chairwoman for the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus. She and I both serve on the Ports, Harbors, and Airports Committee which had its first committee meeting last week. We both have an interest in ports because she (Gulfport) and I (Rosedale) both respectively represent port communities.

  On Friday and Saturday, I attended the Mississippi Alpha Network Conference. It was good seeing the Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated this weekend in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Please check out the photographs below from the conference.

  On Friday morning, I moderated a panel discussion. The panel discussed topics ranging from community involvement to voter engagement to reasons to stay in Mississippi to education disparities. Members of the panel are as follows: Hinds County Judge Gerald Mumford, Assistant U.S Attorney Abe McGlothin, Southern Regional Vice President Kelsey Rushing, Brother David Garraway, Desoto County NAACP President Thomas Plunkett, and Brother Laderious Williams.

  Brother John Wall has been a fixture in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated since before I was an undergraduate student. I am appreciative of his service during various leadership roles in the State of Mississippi.
  I asked these young Alpha Brothers to take a photograph. I love listening to the ideas of young people because I either learn something new or discover different ways to approach an old problem.
  Here, I am photographed with Brother Tony Lewis, Brother Kevin Abraham, and Brother Kerry Taylor. They all are a part of the Vicksburg chapter. 
 
This weekend, Adrienne and I attended the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi's 18th Crystal Ball Gala in Southhaven, Mississippi. Click Here to read more about the organization. They have a mission to connect people who care with causes that matter.  Photographs from the event are below.

Kim and Phil Shank started an after-school program called Re>Direct After School Program in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. Please Click Here to find out more about their organization that shows Love, gives Opportunities and encourages Learning.
Adrienne and I were honored to meet Actress Sela Ward who is from Mississippi. However, when I got home to look at the photograph, I had been "photo bombed" by one of the auction volunteers. The photo helped to show the spirit of the night. It was a fun and memorable occasion. 
Though I was attending the event with my wife Adrienne, I got to see several of my legislative colleagues and their wives. In this photograph, Representative Robert Foster (and wife Heather) & Representative Trey Lamar (and wife Jill) all seemed to enjoy the annual event that takes place in their part of the state. 
Before we left, Adrienne and I got a second level view of the crowd. It was great being around others who care about the well-being of Mississippi. 
2018 Week 3 
Mississippi Legislative Session
 
In basketball, if I saw a final score of 66-54 I'd have to at least think it was a competitive game. Even if I didn't see the game, I'd have to assume a good enough fight was put up to think that if the same two teams faced off again the game could go the other way. On Wednesday during the debate and vote on House Bill 957, the spirited exchange from the dissenters did not produce a victory, but it was enough to get the attention of folks like you. Now, it's time for you to act!!! 

Please email or call your Mississippi State Senators via Senators@senate.ms.gov and let them know how you feel about this bill. Please tell them you don't want this piece of legislation because it does not support education for ALL of Mississippi's 490,000 public school students; Particularly, it disproportionately hurts some rural areas like House District 29 (Sunflower and Bolivar Counties).

After a floor debate that spanned four hours, the bill passed by a vote of 66 to 54.  It was the sole piece of legislation discussed on the House floor this week. House Bill 957 aims to overhaul the current Mississippi Adequate Education Formula and replace it with the Mississippi Uniform Per Student Funding Formula. The bill, loosely based on recommendations from the consulting group EdBuild, would base school funding on student enrollment rather than teacher units. It sets the base student cost at $4,800 per student with additional weights added for students with individual needs, such as special education, gifted, low income and English language learners. The weight of sparseness (rurality) was included but I found it to be far from fair as it didn't provide for equitable division of dollars to some of the state's most disadvantaged students.

Supporters of the bill say it provides an easier way to predict how much funding a school will receive and ensures fairness across school districts. They also say it will gradually increase the overall investment in education by an estimated $107 million once the formula is fully established. Opponents of the bill expressed concerns about how the state would be able to finance the new formula. Also, some questioned why the bill made no provisions to recalculate for future inflation.

***Important: Both the Mississippi Association of Educators and the Mississippi Parents Campaign both oppose this education bill that came through the Appropriations Committee. 

***Upcoming Legislation to Watch: House Bill 1339 is expected to come up in the Education committee for a vote. It would offer  universal vouchers which would widen the eligibility of the state's education scholarship account program. Please Click Here to read the Clarion Ledger's recent article on the topic.

Transportation: Increase Fuel Tax
I agree with my Bolivar County colleague Senator Willie Simmons that we should raise the fuel tax from 18 cents to 24 cents. We must do something now to improve our roads and bridges in the state of Mississippi. Also, this is the one way we can all share in the success of Mississippi. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers ( https://www.nasbo.org), the gas tax has been raised in 26 states since 2013. We have not voted on this initiative yet; However, I think Mississippians should express how they feel on this issue. Do you think gas taxes should be increased: YES or NO? I look forward to getting your emails about this issue at ahudson@house.ms.gov.

Education: National Board Certified Teachers
I know it is has been a bad week for education in Mississippi (as House Bill 957 passed from the House to the Senate). However, there is some good news I want to share. We cannot merely focus on the divisive issues and expect to solve our problems. Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, and Conservatives can celebrate this victory. What is it?

According to the Superintendent's Annual Report, the number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) in Mississippi rose to 3,886 committed individuals in 2016, with 37 additional Teachers achieving NBCT status. The highest mark of accomplishment in the profession!!! National Board Certification demonstrates that a teacher has attained the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for 21st century success. The state of Mississippi provides significant support for teachers seeking Board certification. Mississippi's Board certified teachers receive an annual stipend of $6,000. Under the newly revised National Board Certification process, 1,400 Mississippi teachers are pursuing certification. New NBCT figures will be released in 2018.

Tourism: Visitors Are Coming
According to Mississippi Development Authority, approximately 700,000 people visited Mississippi in 2016. Tourism generated revenue is up in both Bolivar and Sunflower County. Bolivar is up $5.25 million from $43,737,304 in fiscal 2015 to $48,981,351 in fiscal year 2016. Sunflower is up $512,216 from $14,017,398 in fiscal 2015 to $14,529,614 in fiscal year 2016. "In Mississippi, we are very well organized," explained Glenn McCullough (MDA Executive) in the January 2018 edition of the Delta Business Journal. In the Mississippi Delta, we are ready to share our Native American Culture, Civil Rights and Civil War History, Culinary Treats, and Musical Lineage. If you are an entrepreneur, please prepare for guest as more and more people are being fascinated by our past, present, and future way of life. 

Truly,
Representative Abe M. Hudson, Jr.

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

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