Lincoln County senator shares legislative plans for next year

Published 3:35 pm Tuesday, June 11, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Nearly a month ago, Lincoln County legislators Sen. Jason Barrett and Rep. Vince Mangold and Rep. Becky Currie spoke at a legislative breakfast. They covered topics ranging from healthcare to corrections, turkey stamps and more

Legislators are now out for the summer but will reconvene next year in January barring any new specially called sessions. Barrett said he already has two bills drafted for the next session. 

One drafted bill would extend the Brookhaven Tourism Tax which would be repealed in 2025. The two percent tax is imposed on gross proceeds from room rentals of hotels, motels or bed and breakfasts in the city of Brookhaven. Local officials first petitioned for the tax in 2014. Voters passed the tax in 2014. 

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“I have that bill ready to go. We have gained a lot from it,” Barrett said at the breakfast. “It is a tax that we reap the benefits from others using our hotels.” 

Another issue for Barrett is the lobbying system in Jackson is broken. He said he plans to write a bill to shorten the legislative session. 

“In my opinion, the session is too long. We spend 120 days in the first year and the first two months are a waste of time,” Barrett said. “It costs money. I think it is obnoxiously long. Lets move it to 90 and then 60. It can be done.” 

One thing which irks Barrett is when legislators drive to Jackson for a meeting and they take care of little business before gaveling out early in the day. It is more common early in the session before legislative deadlines hit. 

“We wasted the taxpayers’ money to gavel in and gavel out,”  Barrett said. “It is bothersome to me but it is the system we have.”

Currie will be busy this summer visiting prisons for the corrections committee.