Last week, the Capitol was taken over by kids in gifted programs from all over the state. Thanks to all the educators from various schools around Bolivar County who brought the young people to the Capitol. If you know  Raquel Wells, Janella Sampolesi, Amy Chudy, Amy Plummer, Allyson Hardy, Paulette Howze, Pam Maxwell, or Danna Clemmons, please tell them "Thank You." I really appreciate you all making sure that I was able to say hello to our kids. There were students from I.T. Montgomery Elementary, Hayes Cooper Center, and D.M. Smith Middle School. Each group made me proud to represent House District 29. #youth #bolivarcounty #msdelta #TogetherWeCan #WeUp

Please scroll to the  bottom  to read  newsletter
 from the fifth 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
*How to Communicate with Legislators
*Local and Private Legislation Update
*Opportunity Zones
*Interesting Data

Danny Griffith is a realtor who resides in Bolivar County. He has called, text, emailed, and, most recently, visited the Capitol to ask for support of House Bill 1476. I am thankful that I have constituents who are active participants in the legislative process. 

Mary Swoope and I first got acquainted working on an initiative in Tallahatchie County a few years ago. She is the Executive Director for the Mississippi Economic Development Council. Please visit their website:

The Links of Mississippi came to the Capitol on Thursday. I was speechless when I ran into my third grade teacher, Mrs. Walton. She taught me at Friars Point Elementary School. It is people like her that have helped to encourage me along the way. Educators make a difference!!!

Senator Derrick Simmons and I were a part of the same mock trial team while at T.L. Weston High School. Here, we are photographed with one of our mock trial coaches, Judge Shirley Byers.

On Friday, Representative Alyce Clarke seized the opportunity to amend House Bill 1241 
to include equal pay language. House members overwhelmingly voted to approve the amendment by a vote of 84-32. The vote was indicative of the House's bipartisan enthusiasm for equal pay for women

(Important Note: Women from all over Mississippi converged on the Capitol to encourage lawmakers to do the right thing and join 48 other states in banning disparity in how women are paid in the workplace. They pointed out that women make approximately 76 cents for every dollar a man makes. They reminded us that the children of women who are heads of household have a greater chance of living in poverty due to wage disparity. They talked about the number of women who must work more than one job just to make ends meet.)

Former Mississippi State Representative Tommy Taylor was at the Capitol earlier this year. He represented parts of Bolivar County before he was elected Mayor of Boyle, Mississippi.

  These ladies came from Cleveland, Mississippi to show Mississippi Delta hospitality at Delta Day at the Capitol. I always enjoy seeing folks from back home. Also, I love the sign behind us: "Believe in the Delta."
On last week, I got to spend some time listening to the needs of Mississippi Delta Community College. Pictured with me below are Corey Smith (Director of Special Events), Dr. Larry Nabors (President), and Ed Rice (Vice President of Student Services). 
  Libraries were a big part of my childhood. Whenever Jenniffer Wann calls me, I try to make the time to talk. She never misses an opportunity to remind me that the l egislature is continually cutting their budget . However, her team makes the most of what we (Bolivar County) receive. I t is valuable to note that the Bolivar County Library System received over 93,000 visits. Also, library users checked out over 28,500 print items and over 5,700 electronic items . I am pictured below with Mary Ann Griffin (Director Sunflower County Library), Jenniffer Wann (Bolivar County Library), Meredith Wickham (Director First Regional Library which includes DeSoto, Lafayette, Panola, Tate, & Tunica Counties), and Sharman Bridges Smith (Interim Director Mississippi Library Commission).
2018 Mississippi Legislative 
Session  (Week 5)
Committee meetings to discuss House bills wrapped up on Tuesday, and the House convened as a whole Wednesday through Friday to discuss the legislation that made it to the calendar. A number of issues died for the year on January 30. Among bills that died were changes to the Mississippi state flag, establishing a lottery, changes to state-mandated tests, state employee and teacher raises, and all measures mandating equal pay for equal work in Mississippi

House Bill 192 would make it lawful to transport unopened beer and light wine on state and federal highways in dry areas of the state. This bill passed by a vote of 91-19. 

Similarly, House Bill 840 would give maritime retailers operating in the Mississippi Sound or on the Mississippi River the ability to obtain a permit to sell alcohol. This bill passed by a vote of 83-29.
Measures that were passed and will now go to the Senate for action include House Bill 175 which provides a tax credit to employers who hire persons convicted of certain non-violent crimes. In an effort to continue a more reasonable approach to our criminal justice system, House members agreed with the idea that a person who is able to work and contribute to society is less likely to reoffend. This measure will encourage employers to help. The bill passed by a vote of 110-5.

The House voted unanimously to pass House Bill 826, which outlines criminal penalties for the embezzlement or misapplication of perpetual care trust funds. These trusts are established so that earnings may be used for the repair and overall maintenance of public cemeteries.

Another unanimous vote occurred on House Bill 1028, known as "Nancy's Law." This bill would allow the Department of Human Services to relocate an individual or provide a new caretaker when investigations reveal abuse of a vulnerable person.

On Friday, the House voted to expand the Mississippi Virtual School Program with the passage of House Bill 1037, which creates an online application process for course providers in an effort to provide students in the program with a wider range of classes.

The House Committee on Public Health and Human Services introduced House Bill 709. This bill would create the Prescription Drugs Consumer Affordable Alternative Payment Options Act, which allows pharmacists to provide additional information to patients detailing options for medication that might be more affordable. The bill passed by a vote of 118-1.
House Bill 419 had some interested debate. Please Click Here to read the Clarion Ledger Article about this bill. The House also supported the expansion of the pilot program for Mental Health Courts that was passed last year. The House approved this measure 116-1.

County government would receive more power under House Bill 164, which would allow the president of a county board of supervisors to issue a proclamation declaring a local emergency. This measure passed by a unanimous vote of 118-0.

The House also passed House Bill 1510, sparking debate among members. This bill would prohibit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Supporters of the bill say it would protect both the lives of unborn children and their mothers. Those of us opposed to this bill argued that this seemed unconstitutional and that the state should not be making decisions about women's health. The measure passed by a vote of 79-31.

A number of noncontroversial bills also passed through the House this week, including a bill creating the Mississippi Travel and Tourism Council, a bill adding veterans diagnosed with PTSD to the list of persons who may use support animals, and a bill designating a section of Highway 49 as "MS World War II Veterans Memorial Highway."

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: and Each Representative and Senator will receive the email. Your voice matters!!!

Local & Private Committees

A few weeks ago, I received a memo from the Chairman of the Local and Private Committee. The House Chair is Representative Manly Barton and the Senate Chair is Senator Gary Jackson.  As Chairmen for the Local and Private Committees (L&P), they are asking your assistance in making bills pertaining to L&P flow easily through the legislative process.  Generally speaking, prior to the last couple of years, these bills have been taken up the last couple of weeks of the session during the budget process. Beginning in 2013, L&P started several weeks earlier, and it worked out well.

They are suggesting a Chairman's deadline of Friday, March 9, 2018 in order to give you sufficient time for us to communicate with our local officials about introduction of legislation. This will also allow chairmen and staff to concentrate on revenue and appropriation deadlines, which are handled towards the end of the legislative session.

Below is the information to remember when submitting bills for L&P:

1. A certified copy of a resolution from your board must be attached and a unanimous vote is needed. The resolution should reflect how each member of the board voted on the resolution.
2. If the resolution is requesting legislation to impose a tax on hotels and motels or restaurants, revenue collected from the imposition of a tax may only be utilized for tourism, parts and recreation and an annual audit of the records of the receipts and expenditure of revenue from the tax by an independent certified public accountant will be required.
3. If the resolution is requesting an amendment to or is extending a repealer on an existing local and private legislation that authorizes the imposition of a tax on restaurants or hotels and motels or a sales tax and the tax has been imposed, please provide us with a copy of the most recent annual audit of the receipts and the expenditures of the revenue from the tax (an annual audit of such receipts and expenditures by an independent certified public accountant is usually required by the legislation authorizing the imposition of the tax).
Again, if you should have any questions, please contact Representative Manly Barton ( Senator Gary Jackson ( Thank you in advance for your assistance regarding this matter.

Opportunity Zones

Recently, a legislative colleague sent me a New York Times article about Opportunity Zones. Please Click Here for full article or read the snippet below.

A little-noticed section in the $1.5 trillion tax cut was signed into law late last month. It is drawing attention from venture capitalists, state government officials and mayors across America. The provision, on Page 130 of the tax overhaul
, is an attempt to grapple with a yawning hole in the recovery from the Great Recession: the fact that, in huge swaths of the country, the economic recovery has yet to arrive. 

The law creates "Opportunity Zones" 
which will use tax incentives to draw long-term investment to parts of America that continue to struggle with high poverty and sluggish job and business growth. The provision is the first new substantial federal attempt to aid those communities in more than a decade. And it comes as a disproportionate share of economic growth has been concentrated in so-called superstar metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and New York.

By the Numbers...

A few weeks ago, I attended a meeting where the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi presented some fascinating data:

*52% of Mississippians are women
*37% of Mississippians are Black (or African American)
*23% of Mississippians ages 18-29 are not registered to vote (accounting for nearly 113,000 eligible voters.)
*37 states and the District of Columbia currently offer early voting.

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    Representative Abe M. Hudson, Jr. |