From Your Capitol - Week of January 16

2017-01-18_07.50.14-1.jpgThe third week of the 2017 legislative session began Monday with a joint Education and Appropriations committee meeting, where the consulting group, EdBuild presented their recommendations to revamp the state’s education funding formula.  Mississippi's formula for funding our educational system was developed over 10 years ago by democrats who value appearance over substance.  The formula has only been "fully funded" twice in its history because it was designed to win votes at the ballot box with no thought about what the state could afford or what is best for students. 

EdBuild suggested increasing the base student cost, or the amount of money used to educate the average student, with weights added for students with specific needs. Weights would be included for Low-Income students, English Language Learners, Special Education students, gifted students, students in the lowest and highest grade levels and students in rural or sparse school districts.

Our current funding formula guarantees the state fund 73 percent of the cost of educating our children, only 2 other states make any guarantee, one guarantees 2% and the other less than 50%.  EdBuild suggested reconsidering this percentage and allowing school districts to exceed the state cap on the amount of local funds they can raise for their schools.

A more detailed account of the recommendations can be found on the state website at www.legislature.ms.gov

Legislators are now studying EdBuild's recommendations and deciding if we should make changes to our current method of funding education.  I participated in 2 additional meetings with EdBuild during the week where legislators asked questions and dove deeper into their recommendations.

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From Your Capitol - Week of January 9

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The second week of the 2017 Mississippi Legislature is complete and as always there are surprises in store for the citizens of Mississippi.  

As the session continues to move forward we are quickly moving past important deadlines.  This week was the last week for legislators to submit ideas for legislation to the House attorneys for drafting. 

Some of you may not know how the process of drafting legislation works.   As an example I will use one of my bills,  HB 633 which holds those who prohibit citizens from carrying a firearm onto their property liable for damages.  Last year I read about Tennessee's new law that says if a business prohibits citizens from carrying a firearm for self-defense on their property the business becomes responsible for the protection of their customers.  If a customer is harmed because they were unable to protect themselves, then the business becomes liable and can be sued for damages.  After reading Tennessee's new law I took the Tennessee law to a House attorney and we discussed how this could be applied to Mississippi.  The attorney then drafted the legislation and after several rewrites and more discussion we finally produced a bill that applied my idea to Mississippi law.

Once I had an acceptable bill I began the process of convincing other Representatives to become co-sponsors.  I have spent quite a bit of time tracking down other legislators and discussing my bill.  Some immediately agree with the concept and sign on as co-sponsors while others want more time to research and contemplate how the bill affects citizens.  My goal is to have as many other legislators sign onto my bill as possible because this helps convince leadership of its importance. Remember, as I'm doing this with my bill there are 121 other legislators doing the same with their bills.  This can create quite a frenzy around the capitol.

January 16th is the deadline for legislators to submit bills so the Speaker can assign them to a committee for review.  

Here is a list of legislation that I have either sponsored or co-sponsored;

HB 584 Welfare Policy Institute within the IHL board; repeal.
       01/13 (H) Referred To Universities and Colleges
  Hopkins
HB 633 Firearms prohibition; create cause of action against property owners with.
       01/13 (H) Referred To Judiciary A
  Criswell
HB 746 Stun gun; remove the term from the firearms category.
       01/13 (H) Referred To Judiciary B
  Criswell








There are several more bills that I have co-sponsored that will be submitted before the deadline and one bill that I sponsored that is still awaiting a committee assignment.

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Why I Believe Citizens Should Have a Say on Taxes


 


This is a reprint of an article I wrote earlier this summer.  I have received several emails from citizens of Southaven asking my opinion on extending the "pennies for parks" tax.  This tax is due to repeal this year, and I oppose extending this tax without the consent of the people of Southaven. When this tax was implemented the people voted for it with a repeal date, it is my belief that the tax should repeal, just as the people voted for it to do.  If the leadership of Southaven want this tax to continue they should ask the citizens of their city through a vote.

Have you even had an family member come to visit that you thought was only staying for a few days but they seemed to never leave?  It seems taxes are much the same.  Once a tax comes to visit it never goes away.

One of the surprises awaiting me during the 2016 legislative session was how local municipal taxes work.  The House of Representatives Local and Private Legislation Committee handles bills that affect local governments, like HB1585 which authorized Grenada County to contract with the United States and other states to house minimum or medium security offenders, or HB1584 which  authorized Oktibbeha County to contribute to Brickfire Project – Day Care Center (if you live in Oktibbeha County you might want to ask why).

The Local and Private Committee also handles bills that allow local governments to implement taxes.  One of the most common methods local governments use to raise money is by adding a tax to hotel and restaurant sales.  They generally call these “tourism” taxes because they sell these taxes to the local citizens by claiming it only taxes tourist who travel throughout their city.  We all know that’s not exactly true, but it close enough to the truth for most politicians.

 

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Rep. Dana Criswell - From the Capitol, Week One

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The Mississippi Legislature convened at noon on January 3, 2017.  This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Great State of Mississippi.  Mississippi is a state with a rich history of which we are proud.  Remembering who we are and where we've been, both the good and the bad, makes us better people today.  The people of this state are hard working individuals who take pride in their self-reliance and independence.  Happy Birthday Mississippi!

The capital city of Mississippi in 1817, when the first legislature convened, was Washington—now just a community in northern Adams County, near Natchez.  The first state constitution was written and signed in Washington, and the first legislature met in the Washington church pictured above.   In 1822, the capital was moved to Jackson, a much more central location in the state, where it has remained.

Like any year 2017 is poised to be an interesting year in the Mississippi legislature. Unlike 2016 which began very slowly this year is moving very quickly.  

Here are the legislative deadlines:

9th day 
Wed. Jan. 11

Deadline for making REQUESTS for general bills and constitutional amendments to be drafted.***

14th day 
Mon. Jan. 16

Deadline for INTRODUCTION of general bills and constitutional amendments.*

29th day 
Tues. Jan. 31

Deadline for COMMITTEES TO REPORT general bills and constitutional amendments originating in OWN House.*+

38th day 
Thurs. Feb. 9

Deadline for ORIGINAL FLOOR ACTION on general bills and constitutional amendments originating in OWN House.*

39th day 
Fri. Feb. 10

Deadline for reconsideration and passage of general bills and constitutional amendments originating in OWN House.*

42nd day 
Mon. Feb. 13

Deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider general bills and constitutional amendments originating in OWN House.*

51st day 
Wed. Feb. 22

Deadline for ORIGINAL FLOOR ACTION on APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills originating in OWN House.

52nd day 
Thurs. Feb. 23

Deadline for RECONSIDERATION AND PASSAGE OF APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills originating in OWN House.

53rd day 
Fri. Feb. 24

Deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills originating in OWN House.

57th day 
Tues. Feb. 28

Deadline for COMMITTEES TO REPORT general bills and constitutional amendments originating in OTHER House.*+

65th day 
Wed. Mar. 8

Deadline for ORIGINAL FLOOR ACTION on general bills and constitutional amendments originating in OTHER House.*

66th day 
Thurs. Mar. 9

Deadline for RECONSIDERATION AND PASSAGE of general bills and constitutional amendments originating in OTHER House.*

67th day 
Fri. Mar. 10

Deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider general bills and constitutional amendments originating in OTHER House.*

71st day 
Tues. Mar. 14

Deadline for ORIGINAL FLOOR ACTION on APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills originating in OTHER House.

72nd day 
Wed. Mar. 15

Deadline for RECONSIDERATION/PASSAGE of APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills originating in OTHER House.

73rd day 
Thurs. Mar. 16

Deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills originating in OTHER House.

74th day 
Fri. Mar. 17

Deadline to concur or not concur in amendments from OTHER House to APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills, and for INTRODUCTION of LOCAL and PRIVATE bills that are REVENUE bills.

77th day 
Mon. Mar. 20

Deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider concurrence or nonconcurrence in APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills.

80th day 
Thurs. Mar. 23

Deadline to CONCUR or not concur in AMENDMENTS from OTHER HOUSE to GENERAL bills and CONSTITUTIONAL amendments.

81st day 
Fri. Mar. 24

Deadline for INTRODUCTION of LOCAL and PRIVATE bills that are not revenue bills.

82nd day 
Sat. Mar. 25

Deadline for CONFERENCE REPORTS on APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills to be filed.**+

84th day 
Mon. Mar. 27

Deadline for FINAL ADOPTION of CONFERENCE REPORTS on APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills**+, and for CONFERENCE REPORTS on GENERAL BILLS and CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS to be filed.**+

85th day 
Tues. Mar. 28

Deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider conference reports on APPROPRIATIONS and REVENUE bills.

86th day 
Wed. Mar. 29

Deadline for first consideration of conference reports on general bills and constitutional amendments.

87th day 
Thurs. Mar. 30

Deadline for filing conference reports on general bills and constitutional amendments that had been recommitted for further conference.+

88th day 
Fri. Mar. 31

Deadline for adoption of conference reports on general bills and constitutional amendments after recommittal.

89th day 
Sat. Apr. 1

Deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider conference reports on general bills and constitutional amendments.

90th day 
Sun. Apr. 2

SINE DIE

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