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.”

Clarion-Ledger | Bill to ban texting while driving dies as session ends

House Bill 484, a ban on texting while driving, died on the Miss. House floor last night after Speaker Philip Gunn adjourned the 2014 session.

Rep. Bill Denny (R-64) made a move to reconsider the bill late last night which apparently prevented the bill from being voted upon before the session ended.  Rep. Tom Miles (D-75) blamed Denny for single-handedly killing the bill at the last hour.

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AP News : Miss. lawmakers enter final days of budget writing

The Mississippi legislature plans to finalize the state budget before the end of the session in early April.  The 14-member Joint Legislative Budget Committee added $150 million to the fiscal 2014 budget (which ends June 30th) and $98 million to 2015 for a total budget of $5.4 billion.

Saturday, March 29th is the deadline for final versions of all proposed spending in the 2015 fiscal year.  Remaining significant issues include the following:

  • Teacher pay raise
  • Training school for Highway Patrol troopers, strike force teams, and the state Crime Lab
  • Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP)

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McDaniel Outlines Priorities in Ocean Springs Town Hall

The Sun Herald covered U.S. Senate challenger Chris McDaniel’s March 18th Town Hall in Ocean Springs.

While political advertisements have taken direct aim at his statement that he may not have voted for a Hurricane Katrina relief bill, McDaniel stated that he supports disaster relief but would insist upon safeguards against waste, fraud, and abuse.

Repeatedly asserting the need to return to a constitutionally sized government, McDaniel named the Education, Commerce, and Transportation Departments and the IRS among those government organizations that need to be eliminated.   He indicated that the few essential services provided by those organizations could be handled within other “constitutional” departments or by local governments.

McDaniel supports the repeal of Obamacare, perks for lawmakers, and tax reform.  But he emphasized that his platform is bigger than just the Tea Party while emphasizing the need to return to constitutional government.

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Gov. Bryant aims to end abortion in MS

During his State of the State address on 22 January 2014, Governor Phil Bryant (R-MS) announced the goal of ending abortion in the state of Mississippi.  “On this unfortunate anniversary of Roe versus Wade, my goal is to end abortion in Mississippi.”  According to CBS DC,

“Bryant did not propose any new restrictions on abortion, but he defended a law he signed in 2012, requiring hospital admitting privileges for anyone who performs the procedure. Mississippi’s only remaining abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, has been unable to obtain the privileges for its OB-GYNs, and filed a federal lawsuit in 2012 seeking to block the law. The clinic remains open, by court order, while the lawsuit is pending.”

After reducing the state’s unemployment from 9.4% to 8.3% during his first 2 years in office, Gov. Bryant listed numerous other goals in his annual speeach:

  • Continue economic growth
  • Improve public safety by hiring more State Troopers
  • Make the prison system more efficient and effective
  • Improve teacher performance and student test scores
  • Lower the teen pregnancy rate
  • Add “In God We Trust” to the state seal

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