What to expect for the 2023 legislative session

Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 9:00 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Lawmakers are preparing to head back to the State Capitol for the 2023 legislative session. Although there are typically surprises when it comes to the issues that rise to the top, here are some of the expected debate issues.

The first anticipated topic is really a continuation of last session.

“I do know that there, obviously, are still some ongoing debates about tax policy,” said Sen. Joey Fillingane (R).

The Governor and others plan to again push for full elimination of the state income tax. There was even some debate among Republican leaders on the issue last year.

“This debate is what you want in our republic,” noted Sen. Brice Wiggins (R). “And so, should we completely eliminate it? Or should we, you know, stick with what we have? But if we eliminate it, then do we have the money to find the needs that the government is responsible for funding?”

It’s a move that House minority leader Rep. Robert Johnson thinks is inappropriate. He has a different priority.

“What I hope to see happen is that we do something long term for healthcare and hospitals, but at the very least, do something short term to make sure that people have access to health care and keep our hospitals open,” added Johnson (D).

That’s an issue that has at least caught the attention of both sides of the aisle.

“We have a vested interest in making sure that these community rural hospitals, at least at some level, have the ability to take in patients to stabilize them and maybe get them to a larger facility in a larger town or area of the state,” said Fillingane.

And now that we’re living in a post-Roe world, both chambers have started discussing support for women, children, and families.

“If we don’t do it, then we only have ourselves to blame and low,” commented Wiggins. “Government is not the answer for everything. It is not. But we can assist, and we can set the agenda. And that’s what we need to be doing.”

Rep. Johnson is hoping they’ll be able to add TANF reform to that list.

“I hope we can integrate some of that,” he said. “And I’ve talked to some of the people on both sides that are working on those committees, they’re not resistant to some of the things that I have in mind, or our caucus has in mind. But so there’s room for discussion.”

Lawmakers also expect debates about restoring the ballot initiative process will continue this year. You may remember that it stalled out last session.

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