Last week was a busy week for House floor action. This is a photo of Representative Cedric Burnett, Representative Willie Bailey, and I at our desk. They both represent parts of the Mississippi Delta. 

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

*Photojournal
*Appropriations & Ways and Means Bills
*Education and State Test
*Brain Drain Bill
*Felony Disenfranchisement
*Monday Motivation

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

The Mississippi Film Production Group Legislative Reception was last week. This group of filmmakers and story tellers are each from Greenwood, Mississippi in the Mississippi Delta. The film industry can help to stimulate Mississippi's economy, but we must create more welcoming policy.

The ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated were at the Capitol last week. I spent some time with Lottie H. Williams, Ja'Nekia W. Barton, Teresa Griffin, Twila Proctor, and Tracey Williams. All of them are part of the local Bolivar County chapter. Thanks for the visit!!!
 

Several House and Senate members gathered for a press conference to say "NO" to HB 957. I was proud to stand because this change in the education formula would financially impact all four of the school districts I represent in a negative way. CLICK HERE to see how the bill impacts your district.  The columns show the amount of funding that school districts would receive in Fiscal Year 2025. This bill is now referred to the Senate Education Committee. It's not too late to stop this legislation!!!

On Valentine's Day, I had a special visitor at the Capitol. Abee attended an anti-gang hearing, a lunch meeting, and House floor voting. To all my colleagues who slipped my daughter candy, I want to go on record and say you were WRONG. A two year old and candy should never be mixed. Seriously, thanks to everyone for sharing a memorable day for both she and I.

On last Monday morning, I got up early to speak to over 100 Bolivar County farmers. One topic we discussed was infrastructure (roads and bridge) issues in the Mississippi Delta. I am hopeful we can pass some meaningful infrastructure legislation not only for farmers, but for all Mississippians.

On Friday, the  Mississippi State University Black Alumni Network asked me to share a few words and offer the invocation at their annual weekend meeting. I attended graduate school there from Spring 1998 through Summer 2000.
 

Being that it is Black History month, I took great joy and pride in participating in this event. Fortunate for me, I got to sit near James Meredith and Richard Holmes at the Gala on Friday night. 
Most people know about James Meredith (  CLICK HERE to read more about Meredith) being the first black student at  The University of Mississippi. However, I was not familiar with the first black student, Richard Holmes, at  Mississippi State University ( CLICK HERE to read more about Holmes). Let us never forget the struggle of those before us who courageously fought for justice and liberty.


I got a pre-Valentine's Day visit on Tuesday in Jackson. Adrienne, Abee, and I attended a rodeo. I am sure you can guess who enjoyed seeing the animals the most. It was a fun time.
  Audubon Mississippi's (http://ms.audubon.org) mission is to conserve and restore our Mississippi's bountiful natural resources, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of our people and the state's abundant biological diversity. A few weeks ago, I attended a reception to hear more about the work they are doing. had several questions about the wildlife implications of the Great River Road Park in Rosedale, Mississippi. I look forward to continuing the dialogue with this organization.
2018 Mississippi Legislative 
Session  (Week 7)

The 2018 Mississippi legislative session is at the halfway mark. The House spent most of the week considering several Appropriation and a few Ways and Means Committee bills. This activity was in preparation for the February 21 deadline to send those measures to the Senate. Appropriation bills determine how much money is given to various state organizations. Ways and Means legislation is important because this is the avenue that bond bills originate. 

The House was responsible for looking at the preliminary budgets of 51 state agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Public Health, Medicaid, and Public Safety.  The bulk of state agency appropriations are reduced from the previous fiscal year allocations. This has been the case since a trend toward slashing revenue began several years ago. Also, budgets included reverse repealers. This is a clause which ensures a bill cannot become law before going to a conference committee for further revisions. Because reverse repealers were in place, most appropriations bills were voted on in a block to help speed up the process.
 
Members were eager to consider a slate of bond bills that will enable various local governments, state agencies and other public concerns to address infrastructure and construction needs. Furthermore, it helps to enhance their ability to provide services to Mississippians. During floor debate, it was noted that no bond bills have been approved by the legislature during the past two sessions due to the inability of the House and Senate to reach agreement. 
 
Among the bills that passed the House were HB1217 and HB1557. Both of these bills support of programs to help small businesses and others who are working to revitalize municipalities.
 
The House also passed HB1559, which will provide bonds necessary for construction of buildings and infrastructure at Camp Kamassa in Copiah County. This project will benefit seriously ill children who will be able to experience all of the adventures of summer camp despite their illnesses. It passed 114-4.

The drastic revenue cuts that have been championed by legislative leadership have not only left the coffers too low to accomplish the necessary tasks of governing, but have hurt public education by funding schools at only a "C" level. HB1592 provides that the State Department of Education's funding will be level. This means that the vital service of public education will receive no more money this fiscal year than last year. As I have reported in previously newsletters, the Mississippi Adequate Education Program is over $200 million short of full-funding for the current fiscal year. This has been the case each year since 2010. Many members have advocated a slow-down of the funding drain that has been caused by corporate tax cuts and which will increase this year when the 2016 "tax-cut" bills come into play.

Education and State Test
The State Department of Education recently released its latest graduation rate statistics which show an increase in the percentage of Mississippi public school seniors who are graduating from high school. I applaud this increase. The higher graduation rate may be due in part to the fact that since 2014 some seniors are no longer required to pass each of the four state exit exams. It is my opinion that these exit exams are not valid measures of a student's potential success in college or in life. Administering these tests has created a stifled teaching atmosphere as well as an expense that the already-strapped public schools cannot afford. Representative Tom Miles offered an amendment to the State Department of Education's appropriation bill to eliminate state exit exams passage as a requirement of graduation. The amendment to  HB1592 passed 113-2 with broad bipartisan support.
 
Brain Drain Bill

A recent article by The Hill (CLICK HERE to read full article) reports that e conomists, demographers, and political leaders are increasingly concerned that the next generation of  workers won't be ready to fill millions of new jobs across the country . Hence, Mississippi needs to keep all of its best and brightest instead of losing them to other states .

Since I have been in the legislature, there have been few bills that have excited me like HB1550This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Representative John Thomas "Trey" Lamar, would allow recent college graduates to file for a tax deduction within one year of graduating from a four-year college or university.  These graduates would be entitled to this deduction for up to three consecutive years if they maintain residence in Mississippi and have employment in Mississippi. Also, they can get an additional two years of tax deductions if they purchase property in the state for residential or commercial use. I am hoping this will offer some incentive for our smart young people to stay in Mississippi.

Felony Disenfranchisement

State felony disenfranchisement laws in 48 states and the District of Columbia prevent  6.1 million American citizens from voting for a specified period of time because of their  criminal record.
Nearly 10% of Mississippians are disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. 
An estimated 218,181 people in Mississippi were disenfranchised as of 2016. Of this total, only 7 percent are incarcerated. The remaining 93 percent are living in the community either under probation or parole supervision, or have completed their criminal sentence. The number of African American residents disenfranchised in Mississippi numbered 127,130 in 2016 or nearly 16% of the black electorate. Please CLICK HERE this link to learn more about Mississippi's rights restoration activity.

 MONDAY MOTIVATION

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

You can stay in touch with Abe by using social media. Follow him on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter. Please click the links below and be a part of what's going on in the Mississippi Delta.
 
View on Instagram

Like me on Facebook


Follow me on Twitter

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

STAY CONNECTED: