State lawmakers preview legislative session - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

State lawmakers preview legislative session

Mississippi legislators took time to talk about some of the state’s most discussed issues at the 2016 pre-legislative briefing hosted by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce. (Photo source: WLOX) Mississippi legislators took time to talk about some of the state’s most discussed issues at the 2016 pre-legislative briefing hosted by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce. (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Lawmakers met at the Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi on Tuesday morning to discuss what could be on the agenda for the next legislative session. Among those topics were the BP settlement, education funding, gaming and several others.

The purpose was to update the business community on what could be expected in Jackson in January. It's an annual effort by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce to preview what could be in store for lawmakers.

The pre-legislative briefing also serves as a chance for lawmakers to connect with the community.

"They want to make sure that what they're doing is representative of what the needs are," said Kimberly Nastasi, CEO of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce.

A handful of issues were addressed in the form of questions from the community. The first topic of the day was education.

Rep. Scott DeLano said the failure of Initiative 42 to pass in November has the potential to help the education system. DeLano thinks the state should view education as a way to bolster the economy.

"We've got to turn this into positive energy and put forward a better product for our students," DeLano said.

Legislators agreed that another vehicle to bolster the economy would be the BP settlement funds. Sen. Sean Tindell believes there has to be a way to better channel the funds to the Coast.

"We need some sort of trust fund, some sort of mechanism, where that money goes, and we know it's going there, so we don't have to have this fight annually," said Tindell.

The legislators agreed that bringing BP funds to the Coast would help almost all the topics discussed.

Tindell, DeLano and Rep. Richard Bennett cycled through several other issues including gaming, infrastructure repair and internet possibilities. 

DeLano praised the efforts of Biloxi Mayor FoFo Gilich to bring fiber optic internet to the Coast. This was encouraging for the mayor to hear.

"They've got the point, so they get it. They know the opportunity and that component to our Coast. When industry comes, they want to know where the fiber is. We want to be able to answer it's everywhere," said Gilich.

The legislators expect these issues to be brought up when the legislative session convenes in January.

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