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Legislative leaders summarize '17 session

Published: Mar. 30, 2017 at 3:41 PM CDT
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After finishing the 2017 legislative season, lawmakers say they feel good about the amount of work they were able to get completed. But there's still a lot left on the table.

"We prioritized state spending on public education and we prioritized state spending on public safety," said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

While lawmakers were busy passing protection bills like the Back the Badge and new trooper school, one big item remaining is how Mississippi will take care of its roads and bridges.

"The public expects us to provide safe state roads and bridges," said House Speaker Philip Gunn. "And every day we wait the cost goes up exponentially."

A special session is expected to be ordered by Gov. Phil Bryant to take care of the matter before June 30. And lawmakers say whenever that happens, it's possible that a new public education formula could get a vote.

"We continue to have conversations as it relates to the new school funding formula," Reeves said. "I believe there is still commitment on the part of members of the House, members of the Senate to continue to have those conversations."

Before the season started, Gov. Bryant called for lawmakers to take a look at adding a lottery. However, a bill for that never saw the light of day.

Gunn, who has opposed a state lottery, says he is forming a committee this summer to start looking at how a lottery would benefit and hurt the state.