BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Fresh off a 2018 historic legislative session that brought the state a lottery and BP oil spill settlement money to the Coast, South Mississippi lawmakers are already looking ahead to what 2019 holds.
Tuesday, representatives David Baria and Greg Haney and senators Michael Watson and Joel Carter, Jr. set out to answer that question and several others as we head toward a 2019 legislative session that could feature a little bit of everything as it coincides with an election year.
“You see federally, the President is attacking prison reform, so we are looking at corrections in our state as well. There’s a couple of other issues that we’re looking at,” Carter said. “Reporting on the false DHS claims, holding people accountable and adjusting some sentencing issues. We have the board, but we need to decide how we’re going to design our lottery. It’s going to take some time, and there’s going to be some mistakes made. But we’ll get it rockin and rollin.”
Funding for education and public safety seem to be high on the list of objectives for what’s coming up in January. But what about things like human trafficking and wider broadband internet?
Those issues could also pop up in 2019.
“There’s not going to be any grand slams. We’re going to try and fine tune the last 4 years and move on into 2019,” Carter added.
While that might be the case, Governor Phil Bryant says don’t bet on 2019 being calm.
“One of the reasons is you’re looking at about $45 million dollars. Just now, $45 million more dollars that just came into the treasury than was projected. That will end up at about $160 million by the time the legislature begins its appropriation process,” Bryant said. “When you get that kind of money in the treasury, you’re going to see a lot of arguments on where that money should go.”