2018 Mississippi legislative session underway

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JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - It was kind of like déjà vu when lawmakers were asked what would be at the top of the priority list for 2018.

"We've said all along we want to work on a rewrite of the education funding formula," said House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican. "I think there's a better way of doing it. I think we can find a more reliable predictable stream of revenue."

That was at the top of last year's list but it didn't gain any traction.

"I think information is critically important before any member of the Senate, at least, should be asked to vote on any new funding formula," said Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

Democrats are still skeptical about what they call a lack of transparency.

"The fact that this has been going on now for more than a year and it's still taking place in secret ought to absolutely terrify everybody who cares about public education in the state of Mississippi," said Sen. Hob Bryan, a Democrat representing District 7.

While you may have heard a lot of lottery talk, members of the leadership aren't so gung-ho about it.

"I've been very consistent in my opposition to the lottery," said Gunn. "I don't think it's sound public policy. I don't think it's good economics."

"I'm personally opposed to passing a lottery," Reeves said. "But I will tell you that I think that if it got to the floor of the Mississippi Senate that it would likely pass. I also believe that if it got to the floor of the Mississippi House, it would pass."

Gov. Phil Bryant puts the budget at the top of his list heading into the session.

"We've got to get a balanced budget," Bryant said. "I hope we'll save two percent of that for the rainy day fund, not spend any one-time money on recurring expenses."

And yet again, lawmakers will try to hammer out details of road and bridge funding. The House and Senate will have to work to come to an agreement on how to pay for those projects.

The governor and a few other lawmakers also mentioned that they'll be pushing to fund another new trooper school.