After nearly four months of hard work, the Mississippi House of Representatives adjourned sine die last Thursday. This session has certainly been nothing short of challenging, and while there is a lot of discussion surrounding this session, my colleagues and I worked hard and I am proud of the good conservative policy that we passed. Most notably, our leadership helped pave the way for the largest tax reform in state history, allowing hardworking Mississippians, small businesses and the state’s employers to keep more of their own money to invest in Mississippi’s economy.
In the last two weeks of the session, conference committees were focused on ironing out differences in pending legislation before the House and Senate. Our Appropriations Committee worked hard to set the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The House and Senate reached an agreement to pass The Taxpayer Pay Raise Act of 2016: it gives Mississippians a pay raise by phasing in an income tax cut and eliminates the burdensome franchise tax that discourages job creation in our state.
The legislature passed hundreds of good bills this session that will help make our state a better place to live. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Economic Freedom: HB 1381 prevents excessive regulations to ensure that companies like Uber will be able to conduct business in the state, and SB 2541 removes a restriction that prevents individuals from participating in fantasy sports.
- Education: HB 207 makes it easier for teachers to receive reimbursement for National Board certification, SB 2501 authorizes one of our agricultural high schools to innovate by converting to an early college high school, SB 2388 strengthens reading intervention programs by allowing the state Department of Education more latitude to implement the program across the state, and HB 989 helps direct resources to struggling districts by establishing an achievement school district. We moved to administratively consolidate some of the many school districts in our state, to help direct more resources to classrooms.
- Right to Life: HB 519 protects the unborn by prohibiting dismemberment abortions in the state, and SB 2238 prevents Medicaid from reimbursing institutions that perform abortions.
- Public Safety: HB 786 allows churches to establish security teams to protect houses of worship and also allows for “constitutional carry” of firearms, SB 2313 removes a burdensome registration requirement for individuals who manufacture or use firearm silencers, and HB 107 helps bring equity to our criminal justice system by ensuring that individuals who are imprisoned for nonviolent crimes are not denied the opportunity for parole.
I was proud to stand with my colleagues to help pass these measures that advance freedom and prosperity in our state.
One of the best days of our session was marked by a visit from Rev. Franklin Graham. Thousands of people rallied at the Capitol for one reason – to pray for our state and our country. The turnout for this event was larger than any I have ever seen at the Capitol. In 2 Chronicles, His word tells us, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” It is encouraging to see so many Mississippians standing for their faith and joining together to ask God for His guidance and thank Him for His providence.
During my campaign for this office, I pledged to work with transparency and openness. In an effort to fulfill that pledge, I’ve posted each and every vote that I have taken online. Here on my blog, you can view my vote on every bill that we considered, along with an explanation. As your representative, it is my goal to always be accessible to you. I am available anytime by email or on my cell phone at (601) 207-0813.
I appreciate all of you who reached out during the session to voice your support, questions or concerns on the measures before the House, and I look forward to visiting with all of you around Madison and Ridgeland in the coming months.
Thank you so much for allowing me to represent you! I will continue to stand for our conservative values, and I am humbled by your friendship.
Sign up below to receive emailed updates straight to your inbox!