Lawmakers hold budget hearings
The head of the state prison system is requesting more than $22 million to renovate some buildings at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.
Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall says the buildings are housing maximum-security inmates, even though they were not designed for that.
She was among the state agency directors speaking to state lawmakers Monday. They held a day of public hearings to start planning for the budget year that begins next July.
Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher wants money to hire more Highway Patrol troopers. He says the state has a "critically low" number of troopers on the road.
Drew Snyder, director of the Division of Medicaid, says the health insurance program for low-income residents has taken dozens of steps to reduce expenses
Mississippi lawmakers are starting to look at agencies' budget requests for the coming year.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee is holding public hearings Monday. It's an early step in writing a state spending plan for the 2020 budget year, which begins in July.
The 14-member committee used to hold several days of hearings each September to ask questions of state agency leaders. The schedule has been condensed to a single day with only a few agencies, including the departments of corrections, education and public safety. More requests appear on the Legislative Budget Office website.
Mississippi's current budget is just over $6 billion. The budget office says that for first two months of the fiscal year, state revenue was $17.8 million, or 2.6 percent, higher than predicted.