Gov. Bryant hails successful legislative session

Gov. Phil Bryant appeared on the Paul Gallo Show on April 7th and discussed some priorities during his tenure and a range of legislative accomplishments during the 2014 session.  The entire interview is available free from SuperTalk Mississippi.

Regarding some of the successes during his tenure:

  • Teen pregnancy:  Noted a 10.3% reduction in teen pregnancy over the past year without passing out birth control in classrooms.
  • TANF Drug Screening:  Signed legislation this year requiring new applicants to be screened from drug use/abuse prior to receiving benefits.
  • 2nd Amendment Protections & Sales Tax Holiday:  Passed a sales tax holiday for guns, ammo, and related supplies for September 5th – 7th.
  • Religious Freedom Restoration Act:  Gov. Bryant said the state law mirrors federal law that was written by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and signed by Pres. Bill Clinton.
  • Criminal Justice Reform Bill
  • Banning Abortion at 20 weeks:  “A huge pro-life victory in Mississippi.”

Gov. Bryan talked at length about his biggest disappointment of the session, the failure to pass the special needs education bill (HB 765).  Saying it’s a “sorry day” and a “dark day” because public educators refused to release the funding to support 500 special needs children, he says the legislature turned their back on special needs children and he vows to make this a priority “from now on.”

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Lt. Gov. Reeves’ 2014 Legislative Summary

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves filed a summary of the legislative session headlined “Session Ends with Balanced Budget, Efficiency Measures, Investment in Education.”  The release documents the major legislative achievements to include education initiatives, the budget, public safety, reinforcing 2nd Amendment issues, and efforts to make Mississippi “business-friendly.”

Rep. Williams-Barnes’ Legislative Update

Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes (D-Gulfport) gave an update of the state legislatures “Conference Weekend” where the house and senate work-out differences between bills passed in their respective chambers so it can be forwarded to the governor for signing into law (or veto).

In January, House Bill 48 was passed and signed into law by Gov. Bryant.  The law requires public and private Mississippi schools to “adopt and implement a concussion management and return to play policy.”

Barnes does not like the requirement to drug test TANF applicants as required under House Bill 49.   The bill was championed by Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R-56) and Rep. Sam C. Mims (R-97) and the governor signed into law on March 24th.

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TANF drug testing bill passes Miss. Legislature

On March 12th, the Mississippi Legislature signed a bill that requires drug testing for all new TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) applicants if there is suspicion of drug abuse.  The intent is to provide the proper help for those struggling with addictions while ensuring proper use of the cash provided by the state managed federal grants.

Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to sign the legislation into law.

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