The 2015 Legislative session is underway, and the first week was dominated by a number of issues including education funding, state workers raises and whether or not Initiative 42 would be left alone on the 2015 general election ballot.
I am hopeful this will be the most productive session of my first term.
As a member of the House Education Committee, I have been in meetings over the past months to discuss what actions should be taken in light of the Common Core matter as well as requiring full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.
I will be acting in support of our public schools to keep them strong and successful here in Alcorn County. As the husband of a teacher, I know very well the hard work and care that goes into preparing classroom instruction for our children. We need to leave the nuts and bolts of the education process to the professional educators.
The state contract bidding process is under high scrutiny from a number of areas, and I believe we will be reforming the no-bid process where individual agency heads or employees are currently able to give lucrative contracts to vendors without benefit of any oversight or bidding process. The recent scandal involving the Mississippi Department of Corrections placed the contract system into sharp focus. I will be most interested in working to help straighten out how vendors receive contracts that are paid by taxpayer money.
As you may remember, our county was rocked not too long ago by revelations that local perpetual care cemeteries were not properly funded. It was impossible to continue the upkeep necessary and expected for the last resting place of our loved ones. The Secretary of State’s Office has been overseeing the operation of one of these cemeteries since the financial improprieties were discovered.
In order to offer a measure of protection and security for families, I have consulted with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and will be introducing legislation to require perpetual care cemetery operators to post a bond in order to operate this type of cemetery. This is an important step in securing the integrity of families’ investments in their chosen place of rest.
Some of my colleagues and I recognized Mississippi’s long list of “official symbols” was lacking an important component – a book. We felt that there was no better book suited for this designation than the Holy Bible. So, there has been a bill submitted to declare the Holy Bible as Mississippi’s official book. I have joined onto this bill. I think it would make a proper statement about the principles that should guide Mississippi.
You may recall Lane Caldwell, a brave Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics officer from Corinth who was killed in the line of duty in 1979. I am proud our Alcorn County Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution to rename a portion of Highway 2 “The Lane Caldwell Memorial Highway.” I will be filing a bill to do this as well. It is never too late to acknowledge the supreme sacrifice that our law enforcement officers are willing to make to protect our communities.
Please keep the Legislature in your prayers while we’re in Jackson that we will stay centered and focused on doing what is good and right for the people of Mississippi. It is easy to become distracted in such a highly charged atmosphere.
I look forward to hearing from you during the session. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (662) 287-1620. And, please let me know if you’re coming to the Capitol – I will be proud to introduce you to my colleagues.