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Racing toward our first finish line, the House of Representatives was able to get through our full calendar by the deadline of March 3.  More than two hundred bills were passed out of the House, and we then turned our focus from bills concerning general laws to bills concerning financial matters.  Most all of these were non-controversial votes, as funding formulas and levels changed very little for most agencies.   The state budget as a whole is estimated to be $6.2 billion for 2016; if revenues come in below projections, some budgets will have to be tweaked.

The major budgetary change this year is that Mississippi was ordered by a federal court to remedy a failure in the state’s foster care system that was brought to light in the lawsuit known as “Olivia Y.”  Remedying this problem will cost the state around $35 million this year.  In addition to setting aside this funding, we provided that the Department of Children and Family Services—responsible for overseeing cooperation with the court order—answer directly to the governor’s office.

A few major financial bills that were passed through the House:

  • House Bill 1633—set the budget for the Attorney General’s Office at $8.6 million.
  • House Bill 1643—set the budget for Mississippi Dept. of Education at $2.5 billion.
  • House Bill 1650—set the Medicaid budget at $962 million.
  • House Bill 1651—set the Department of Health budget at $64 million.
  • House Bill 1640—set the State Fire Academy’s budget at $6 million.
  • House Bill 1648—set the Dept. of Transportation’s budget at $1.2 billion.
  • House Bill 413—provides a tax incentive for doctors and nurse practitioners to practice in areas deemed to have a “critical shortage” in those positions.

 

Bills that passed out of the Senate will move to the House in the coming days and will be referred to House committees.  If and when they pass through committees, those bills will head to the House floor for consideration.

If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Rep. Noah Sanford represents parts of Covington, Simpson, and Jefferson Davis Counties in the Mississippi House of Representatives.  He can be reached at 601-517-6622 or nsanford@house.ms.gov.

 

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