New lawmakers get crash course in legislative process

Published: Dec. 6, 2011 at 8:59 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2011 at 7:42 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - These are the new faces of the Mississippi Legislature, 47 total and all of them getting a crash course in what it's like to be a lawmaker, from policies and procedures to rules and regulations.

"This is taking a sip of water out of a fire hydrant, it is clearly a crash course," said Dr. Hank Bounds, Commissioner of IHL.

It's a two day orientation in the very place these men and woman from across Mississippi with little legislative experience will be joining lawmakers with plenty of it.

Having never been elected to a public office before, Republican Senator-elect Sean Tindell from Gulfport says he's up for the challenge, taking the seat of current senator and Senate President Pro tem, Billy Hewes.

"There's a lot I want to achieve," Tindell said. "We want to pass good common sense laws for Mississippi."

So does Democrat Representative-elect Charles Young, Jr. from Meridian.

"My family has a very strong passion for politics," Young said.

As they now get ready to start their first term, Governor-elect Phil Bryant says it won't always be easy and they need to be ready on day one.

"They got to realize how much they have to work, the hard work that's put in to getting one piece of legislation passed through this house and senate and getting it to the governor's desk and that's a learning curve," Bryant said.

By getting these freshmen lawmakers acclimated to how the legislative process works, the state's veteran politicians hope they will be ready for a list of challenges come January.

"It's so very important for you to pay attention to that budget," said current House Speaker, Democrat Billy McCoy. "Take the time to learn it."

The members are hearing from experts on the issues that will face them such as healthcare, education and a state budget as well as lingering and heated issues like redistricting.

"These are men and women of passion and commitment and at the end of the day it's going to take some collaborative effort to get to where we need to be without giving up your core beliefs, that's a fine line that they need to understand," Bryant said.

With Republicans now in control, these new lawmakers are standing by their parties, but say they're not opposed to working together.

"Republicans have the House, they have the Senate and so it's up to us now to do the things we promised we were going to do," Tindell said.

'Hopefully we'll be able to open avenues of communication," Young said.

Every four years the legislative session is extended and this will be that year, lasting up to 125 days instead of the normal 90 days.

Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.