/Election year keeping legislators away from controversial issues

Election year keeping legislators away from controversial issues

The fourth year, which is the session before an election begins, the legislature usually eschews controversial bills in favor of popular items. Mississippi’s current session is in its fourth year. It is clear what is not being discussed at the 2019 session. For the past two sessions, Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) and Republican Lt. Governor were the main focuses. Tate Reeves is the Senate’s President. He oversees the reform or rewrite the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. This program provides funds for local school districts. Leaders argued that the Adequate Education Program’s full funding was too costly and out of date. After attempts to reform the funding formula were stopped during the previous two sessions, no mention has been made of this endeavor in the 2019 election year. There has been talk about vouchers and expanding school choice in this session. It is important to remember that there has been little action so far, but much talk. Gunn and Reeves both spoke at an earlier school choice rally. Both endorsed school choice. Gunn stated that the government does not know what is best for each child. This was reported by Mississippi Today. According to Mississippi Today, Gunn said that parents should have the option to make choices about what is best for their child. Gray Tollison (R-Oxford), was responsible for drafting legislation this session that would allow most students to benefit from vouchers to pay for private schooling. Tollison’s bill was ultimately rewritten to extend the life of the current program that offers vouchers to less than 500 students with special needs to continue private education. The state has not spent more than $2.1million on this program in any given year. This is a small amount considering the $2.5 billion the state spends annually on public education. Tollison made a promise to his Senate colleagues that he wouldn’t add language to the bill in order to alleviate their concerns about vouchers. From the Senate well, he stated that he had no plans to do so. Legislators are not only avoiding programs that were prioritized in previous sessions, but education is also one area. Gunn and Reeves, the leaders in recent years have supported the removal of civil service protection for state workers. For a time, there have been unsuccessful attempts to remove civil service protection from many agencies. These efforts failed, and nobody is discussing them this election year. Both the Department of Public Safety and Department of Correction requested that civil service protection be removed this year. The legislation to remove protection for Public Safety was not passed by committee. This week, the House departed before the deadline and did not take up a bill to exempt corrections. The bill was killed. There is still a bill that would have extended the civil service protection exemption granted at an earlier session to Child Protection Services and Human Services. It remains to be seen if there will be any effort to amend the bill to include corrections and public safety. It is evident that the idea of removing civil service protection for state employees in an election year is less popular than in previous years. What is the most popular issue this year? What is the most popular this year?