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Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Legislative breakfast set for March 26

Sally Doty is looking forward to the annual legislative update.

The Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce’s annual breakfast-backed talk with local lawmakers will be March 26, at Mitchell’s at 7:30 a.m., and Doty will be there. As a state senator, she’s used to politicking, and with a campaign aimed at making her the new representative for Mississippi’s Third Congressional District now underway, she’s doing more politicking than ever.

It’s just not always in such a formal setting as Mitchell’s.

“Usually, I’m in the potato chip aisle in the grocery store when I do most of my legislative updates,” Doty said. “I always enjoy an opportunity to talk policy with my constituents.”

Doty will be there, along with District 53 Rep. Vince Mangold and District 92 Rep. Becky Currie, talking about the 2018 legislative session in a moderated question and answer session. The session is quickly winding down, and lawmakers expect to be able to explain the year’s biggest law changes and political movements with a sense of finality.

“Most of the appropriations bills will be finalized by then,” Doty said. “They may still be in a little bit of flux, but should have a lot of answers as to what the final bills are going to look like.”

Most of Doty’s bills died in committee or on the calendar this year — most of every lawmaker’s bills do. Of her legislation, still alive is Senate Bill 2609, which directs the Department of Education to provide business services for the Mississippi School of the Arts and other institutions; Senate Bill 2618, which would revise the definition of “qualified resort area” under the state’s liquor laws (the bill is part of an ongoing effort to expand alcohol sales at Brookhaven Country Club); and Senate Bill 2668, which clarifies access to safe deposit boxes upon the owner’s death.

Most of Currie’s bills died, too, though she made headlines recently with her Gestational Age Act, which would enact the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws; and an amendment to another bill which would create mental health courts for defendants suffering from mental illnesses, similar to drug courts.

Both bills live on in the quickly ending legislative process, and other big issues — like Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ $1 billion BRIDGE Act for road and bridge funding — are still alive, too.

“The Legislature for the last several years has held back on doing a roads and bridges bill because it wouldn’t help our people. This bill does,” Currie said.

Mangold also believes roads and bridges will be a topic at the legislative breakfast, and he’s also a supporter of the BRIDGE Act.

“It’s actually going to send money to the cities and the counties,” he said. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it’s something for us to start with.”

Even Mangold, a man of few words, has what could be an important piece of legislation still active — House Bill 1359, which would exclude certain payments made by disaster programs to farmers from income tax. It passed the House overwhelmingly.