• 73°

Funding increases highlight 2015 session

Mississippi’s legislative session has ended and as area legislators settle back into their everyday lives, they look back over what they accomplished – and didn’t accomplish – at the capital this year.

Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, and Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, collectively pointed out some of the highlights from this year’s session as  the increase in education and roads and bridges funding. However, Moak felt that education funding for the state is still too low.

“We did put more money in there, but we’re still $200 million short in education funding,” Moak said. “We didn’t put enough [in education] to keep it off of the taxpayers’ back.”

He said that the state is nowhere near where it needs to be in regards to education funding.

Doty and Currie both were proud that legislation regarding the elimination of the inspection sticker passed.

Currie said she also was glad the concealed carry bill that allows for women to carry concealed firearms in their purses passed.

“It’s something that’s never been spelled out before,” she said.

Currie also pointed out that legislators, this year, funded the second half of the teacher pay raise.

Currie said the Legislature was able to give so much money to different entities this year because of the state getting its budget under control in the past three years. She said sessions over the past few years have included tough votes, tough decisions and no one-time money.

All three legislators talked about the amount of money used towards roads and bridges this year with Currie citing $182 million being budgeted toward the issue.

Moak noted that 255 of the state’s bridges are deficient and felt that the actions taken during this past legislative session didn’t give local supervisors any help through the state. Although he said they did take some money to be used for roads and bridges, he believes it is not enough to go past one year.

Moak said that he was glad that they were able to recognize Peyton Flowers in District 5, and he shared gratitude for the things they were able to make happen for veterans in the state.

However, he said he was disappointed that the state didn’t request money from the federal government for healthcare. He said now that money would have to come from taxpayers.

All three legislators also were eager to address reframing policies around government agencies awarding contracts in light of the indictment of Mississippi Department of Corrections commissioner Chris Epps.

Doty felt that the steps the legislature took were steps in the right direction while Rep. Moak felt that the two pieces of legislation drafted to address the issues were “very meager.”

Overall Doty felt that the 2015 session was a pretty good and spirited session despite her disappointment by the governor’s veto of the common core bill, which would create a group of Mississippi educational experts to review the standards and make recommendations.

“We had a really good year. I think everybody will be very pleased,” Currie said.

Moak felt that the session was not one so much about public policy but political agenda. He said he was disappointed they were having more defined party issues than public policy discussions.

Now that session is over, Currie is back to nursing. Moak said he is back in Bogue Chitto practicing law and doing speaking engagements.

Doty  said she’s spending some extra time with her family as well as spending a good deal of time with constituents.

“Many folks have questions about the session, and I’m glad to talk in depth about different issues,” she said.

Doty also serves on the governor’s task force for human trafficking and prevention of teen pregnancy as well as the lt. governor’s liaison to PERS and Wireless Communications Commission. In May, she said she will serve as faculty for a week-long leadership program for college-age women.

“Public service is challenging but also very rewarding, and I am honored to serve my community,” Doty said.

decisions and no one-time money.

All three legislators talked about the amount of money used towards roads and bridges this year with Currie citing $182 million being budgeted toward the issue.

Moak noted that 255 of the state’s bridges are deficient and felt that the actions taken during this past legislative session didn’t give local supervisors any help through the state. Although he said they did take some money to be used for roads and bridges, he believes it is not enough to go past one year.

Moak said that he was glad that they were able to recognize Peyton Flowers in District 5, and he shared gratitude for the things they were able to make happen for veterans in the state.

However, he said he was disappointed that the state didn’t request money from the federal government for healthcare. He said now that money would have to come from taxpayers.

All three legislators also were eager to address reframing policies around government agencies awarding contracts in light of the indictment of Mississippi Department of Corrections commissioner Chris Epps.

Doty felt that the steps the legislature took were steps in the right direction while Rep. Moak felt that the two pieces of legislation drafted to address the issues were “very meager.”

Overall Doty felt that the 2015 session was a pretty good and spirited session despite her disappointment by the governor’s veto of the common core bill, which would create a group of Mississippi educational experts to review the standards and make recommendations.

“We had a really good year. I think everybody will be very pleased,” Currie said.

Moak felt that the session was not one so much about public policy but political agenda. He said he was disappointed they were having more defined party issues than public policy discussions.

“Many folks have questions about the session, and I’m glad to talk in depth about different issues,” she said.