As time to submit legislation ends, debates begin

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Today marks the final day for the introduction of bills in the Mississippi House of Representatives. As of Monday afternoon, 1,457 bills have been submitted to the legislature this year. While many of those potential laws are similar, and have also been presented in years past, a large stack of bills remain for legislators to read and take a stance on.

This is all done while trying to pass their own bills and speak with other representatives who have to prioritize their own concerns, and those of their constituents.  Some well-seasoned legislators, like Rep. Mark Formby, have presented close to 50 bills, some quite similar and some he has said, most likely, won’t pass. Sen. Angela Hill, elected to office in 2012, is the principal author of about 40 bills this year.

With six senators and representatives covering at least part of Pearl River County, it can be difficult for constituents to stay up to date with everything that is being proposed by their elected officials. However, the Internet has made keeping up with legislation easy for the general public.

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For example, Hill submitted SB 2845 which would require 18.5 percent of sales tax revenue collected from businesses outside of municipalities to be paid to the county. While this is a sizable amount of the state’s source of revenue—$50 million according to Formby—counties around the state are also scavenging for revenue.

By returning a portion, and a small portion at that, of sales tax to the county, it puts that money back in taxpayers’ service at a more local level. Whether the county spends it on development, parks or police, it’s easier to see how the additional seven percent on the dollar they spend at a county store benefits them.

If you feel passionate about this issue, or any other, it’s important to contact your local representative at this critical time. With the final legislative deadline approaching, legislators are going to spend the next couple of months poring over documents and making decisions. While we at the Item work hard to keep the public informed about issues that come across our radar, we encourage our readers to reach out to us if you see a piece of legislation you would like more information about.