Last week, the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans selected a new executive board. The following were appointed by Chairman Allen Hamilton and Vice-Chairman Chris Hood: Ian Underwood, Treasurer; Courtney Harris, Secretary; Kendall Gregory, Executive Director; Robert Smith, Public Relations Director.
The House will convene at 9 a.m. today while the Senate will gavel in at 10 a.m. As lawmakers enter what is scheduled to be the final week of the session, they face a deadline today for final adoption of conference reports on appropriations and revenue bills.
Here are four stories that are driving the day in Mississippi:
Mississippi lawmakers on Saturday approved most parts of a $5.6 billion budget with only a few arguments about the level of education funding and whether to set aside money for an anticipated legal fight over voter ID.
The House and Senate return to the Capitol late this afternoon, and they face a Monday deadline to finish work on budget and revenue bills for fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1.
“Let me commend you on a hard day’s work,” Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, told visibly tired House members as they prepared to head home for a few hours to see their families and pick up clean clothes for what is supposed to be the final week of the four-month session.
House and Senate leaders were unable to agree on a compromise to approve bonds to fund a litany of projects, ranging from work on university and community college campuses to fire truck acquisitions for rural departments.
The deadline for an agreement to be reached on a bond proposal was late Saturday.
While the issue appears dead for the 2012 session, House Ways and Means Chair Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, said Gov. Phil Bryant told him he intended to call a special session to take up bonds.
State legislators slightly raised education spending but added no money for high-growth school districts Saturday as they slogged through a $5.55 billion state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
House and Senate members dealt with most of the more than 100 individual appropriations bills that, once approved, comprise the state’s spending plan for the new fiscal year.
Overall state education spending will rise 1.3 percent to $2.9 billion, about a $29.3 million increase over the current year’s spending.
In the tiny town of nearly 900, everyone stopped to remember on Saturday the sixteen people who died as well as countless others who narrowly escaped an EF5 tornado on April 27, 2011.
“What a blessing we have here Saturday to have such a good crowd and to be on some clean property,” Smithville Mayor Gregg Kennedy said. “And as we go through the festivities today just remember where we were one year ago today.”
Although the memorial service was for the most part a happy occasion, Kennedy offered up a solemn reminder of the day when 200-plus miles per hour winds destroyed most of Smithville.
“Y’all just join me and remember those who lost their lives during the storm: Jesse Cox, Courtney Easter, Nellie Ruth Estes, Roy ‘Peanut’ Estes…” said a town leader who read the names of those who were killed.