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Senate to ponder MAEP, road repair

By CHRIS CAUGHMAN,

The 2018 Mississippi Legislative session began Tuesday of this week. 

This first week consisted mostly of legislators getting their bills prepared from Capital attorneys, talking to other legislators about their bill and trying to gain early support or co-authors, and lastly getting the bills filed.  There were also a couple of early committee meetings with one of them being an Appropriation Committee meeting where the Legislative Budget Office discussed their recommendations for this year’s budget request.  As of now revenue seems to be about par to last year and the budget should be very similar to what we passed last year.  This year the recommendation is to get back to the 2% set aside for the rainy day fund and that is certainly something I will support. Next week more meeting will take place and we will be off and running. Several things to watch for coming up will be what will we do about MAEP, the funding formula for education our state. I have not seen anything yet as far as something new for us to look at this year but in my opinion whatever it is needs to be student centered, classroom centered, and something doable each and every year.  It needs to be something that makes sense for our state, for our schools, and also our students and families.  Another item of interest will be roads and bridges.  I have in the past and will again this year support legislation that will move money back to the cities and also the counties for infrastructure.  I am of the opinion that the local roads and bridges and the county roads and bridges are where our efforts should be in repair and improvements. 

One other item we took care of this week was passing a Concurrent Resolution in honor of former State Senator Rob Smith, who passed away on December 15, 2017.  Rob was a Rankin County resident and had served 20 years in the Senate and four years in the House.  A large part of his district was here in Simpson County and he had had many friends here and was known as a hard worker for his district. 

As always, if you ever need me please don’t hesitate to call me or even stop by the Capital to visit!  It is an honor to serve you in the State Senate!