Lawmakers Begin Legislative Year

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

Sen. Videt Carmichael of Meridian prepared Monday for the start of the new legislative session Tuesday in Jackson.

Carmichael says a normal session lasts 120 to 125 days, but he says newly elected Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant will try to shorten the session to 90 days.

Carmichael says he doesn't expect any new topics during this session.

"The big issues this year are nothing different than what it normally is. Money is going to be the big thing," said Carmichael. "Can we keep funding education to levels that they prefer? Medicaid. That's no secret. It's going to take a lot of money to fund Medicaid."

Specifically for Lauderdale County, Carmichael said mental health is a major issue he wants to present as a topic of concern.

"Mental health is becoming more and more of a priority with me because I know that we need to do some things out at East Mississippi State Hospital and I want to see some of those things happen," Carmichael said.

House Rep. Greg Snowden echoed Carmichael and said the budget will be a major issue.

"I would like for us to get control of our budget," said Snowden. "We have a very serious problem with Medicaid. We've got to find a way to resolve the deficit we have. We have about a $60 million deficit in Medicaid this year, maybe a little more."

The Speaker of the House will be elected during Tuesday's session and Snowden says whoever is elected will determine the tone of the agenda. As a result, he says it's difficult to determine what will be the hard-hitting issues for this session.

"Tomorrow will be extremely interesting it could very well be bloody in a figurative sense," said Snowden. "But it's going to be a very serious, very important day for the people of Mississippi."

Rep. Jeff Smith of Columbus, a Republican, is mounting a challenge to current House Speaker, Rep. Billy McCoy of Rienzi, a Democrat. Both men has said they have sufficient votes to win the position.

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