Legislative session saw more positive than negative

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 5, 2014

Another legislative session has come and gone, this time there were some positive outcomes.

Earlier this year, Gov. Phil Bryant said he wanted to make public safety a priority and it seems that the legislature took his request into consideration.

The legislative session approved several bills that will change the face of Mississippi’s public safety.

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For one, the legislature approved funding to train and employee 60 new Highway Patrol troopers.

The second major accomplishment of the legislature was passing House Bill 585, which greatly reforms the state criminal justice system.

The bill is projected to save the state $266 million over the next 10 years and, among other things, establishes rules on the minimum amount of time a criminal must serve of their sentence.

The second biggest accomplishment was creating a balanced budget and reestablishing a rainy day fund for the first time in years.

Instead of spending every penny, the legislature was able to put nearly $400 million in the state’s Rainy Day Fund to protect future budgets if the economy slows again.

Mississippi legislators showed they were willing to work together in a bipartisan effort to keep from adding to the already growing debt..

Maybe the nation’s capitol should take a look at Mississippi as an example of effective teamwork.

Compromise didn’t always occur this session, but there were a lot more positive outcomes than negative.

One bill that wasn’t passed because of a disagreement was a House bill that would have rearranged circuit and chancery court boundaries and funded the hiring of more judges, but funding for more prosecutors was guaranteed.

Another victory worth celebrating is the funding of teacher pay raises.

So while the good always comes with the bad, let’s take a moment to applaud and celebrate the many victories.