Lawmakers complete 2022 legislative session
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s a wrap on the 2022 legislative session.
Both chambers adjourned sine die Tuesday evening. There are a few traditions for the final day of the legislative session including tomato plants left on Senator’s desks and a particular representative saying the opening prayer. Those all happened Tuesday.
Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann met with reporters to give his assessment of the session.
“Lots to go back and look at, I think, historically and what happened in the Mississippi Legislature this year,” said Hosemann.
From the start, lawmakers were under the microscope to get a medical marijuana program passed. They did that.
But they also tackled some other big issues and found common ground... eventually, after tensions between the chambers that, at times, were particularly public.
“What you saw was a democracy work,” noted Hosemann. “What you saw was the attempts that are going on in Ukraine to have what we have. They would love to be able to have a peaceful transfer. Arguments among Republicans are How big the tax cut ought to be, or, How big the raise ought to be for teachers. That’s a wonderful thing for conservative leaders, I think.”
After competing proposals, they found compromise on things like a tax cut plan and teacher pay raises.
And the budget, like usual, was the final piece. The wild card in that discussion this go-around was the ARPA money.
“We have a lot of that money, the first $750 million is going to counties, municipalities and rural water,” added Hosemann. “And we have a match program that I really championed in the last year, I was very pleased to see us come out with that.”
There were some last minute questions on some of the ARPA spends.
“We send this bill to the other end of the hall and it comes back $150 million dollars lighter and now 3,064 has $20 million in it for private schools and private colleges,” noted Sen. Daniel Sparks in the floor debate.
They expect $1.3-1.4 of the $1.8 will be spent this year.
What ended up on the chopping block---the ballot initiative process, because the Senate wanted to increase the number of required signatures and the House thought it was too high a threshold. And the extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage.
“These are live children that are here that have been born here,” said Hosemann. “We need to refocus ourselves. We’re better than that.”
Hosemann says the Senate will determine the issues that need more work and start planning hearings for this summer to get a jumpstart on next session.
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