Mississippi Legislative Session Starts Tuesday

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Jackson, Miss. Mississippi lawmakers convene the 90-day 2014 legislative session Tuesday.

Gov. Phil Bryant wants to see public safety at the center of reforms in the capitol this year.

“Make sure we put the victims first. Make sure we have public safety in mind," said Bryant in December. "But to spend taxpayer money wisely when it comes to incarcerating violent offenders and see if there are opportunities for those non-violent.”

A corrections and criminal justice task force finalized its recommendations on the issues last month. Members say it will be a good starting point for crafting legislation.

”I'm optimistic about us being able to put together something for public safety in three months because I don't think it's a partisan issue," said Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, a Democrat and chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus. "Everybody wants the same thing.”

Meanwhile, education advocates are all ears after House Speaker Philip Gunn recently voiced support for across the board teacher pay raises.

“If we're demanding more. I think we should pay them more,” Gunn said.

“We don't need to get bogged down in the politics of that," Jones said. "Give the teachers more money so we can recruit more teachers.”

A more controversial issue is waiting in the wings, Common Core. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle say the governor's order isn't the end of the discussion.

“We're looking at it now. We're pulling back the pages," said Jones. "We're looking at the legality of Common Core.”

Others are extending the call for more money to the roads and bridges.

Sen. Willie Simmons led a task force that traveled across the state discussing the infrastructure problems. He said he thinks a new gas tax could be the answer. But Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves disagrees.

“We've got to find other areas in the budget to cut to free up resources to do that,” Reeves said.

Democrats say they'll start up the Medicaid expansion debate again this year. But know they'll have plenty of opposition.