The 2015 Legislative session is now history, and, although we had some spirited debates, we were able to do some good for the people of Mississippi.
For example, Senate Bill 2906 secured $100,000 in bonds for the Jacinto Foundation for the purpose of restoring, repairing and preserving the Jacinto Courthouse, one of our most treasured historic buildings, and its related structures. Many of us here in Alcorn County have fond memories of spending the Fourth of July on the grounds of the courthouse, as we listened to some of our state’s most notable public speakers. I was proud to support this measure.
Also included in that bill is $1 million in bonding authority to help complete the Railroad Authority of East Mississippi’s construction of short rail lines. While this construction is taking place in south Mississippi, once complete, the project will open the rail service all the way from Corinth to the Ports of Pascagoula and Mobile.
House Bill 1630 sets aside $162 million for the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to apply toward road and bridge repair for our State Aid roads and bridges. In Mississippi’s rural areas, the conditions of our roads and bridges are important because so many of us travel long miles to church, work and school.
Additionally, the measure provides for $20 million to be used to replace what the Legislature removed from the State Aid Road Program last year and to fund the Local System Bridge Program (LSBP) for repair of deficient bridges on state-maintained highways.
I authored House Bill 1674, which provides an exception for Alcorn County to enter into road and bridge repair contracts, even if their completion may extend past 30 days of the end of the contracting supervisors’ terms, as required.
Our roads and bridges, many of which were built under the State Aid program, are in serious deficient condition. Although these measures will help, Mississippi is still some $1 billion short in fully funding these transportation infrastructure needs.
It was my honor to sponsor House Bill 968, designating a segment of MS Highway 2 in Alcorn County as “Agent Harold Lane Caldwell Memorial Highway.” Agent Caldwell was killed in the line of duty in 1979.
House Bill 885 requires insurance companies to provide coverage for specialty services for children with autism, from ages 2 until 8. Experts say that this age span comprises the prime period in which a child with this disability can be helped. I was a proud co-sponsor of this much-needed legislation for these children and their families.
One of the great things about being in the Legislature is that we can enact measures that will do good in unexpected ways. For example, I worked hard to include authority for a special license plate that will benefit the Alcorn animal shelter in the omnibus “special tag” bill. I have the greatest respect for those individuals who dedicate so much time and effort in making sure that abandoned and endangered animals have a refuge. I hope this measure helps.
As always, I welcome your ideas and input on the issues that affect not only us here in Alcorn County, but all Mississippians as well. Please feel free to contact me at (662) 287-1620, email firstname.lastname@example.org, message me on FaceBook at Nicholas Ryan Bain or follow me on Twitter @StateRepBain.