Lawmakers return to the State Capitol for the 2023 legislative session

Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 8:03 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Lawmakers are back in Jackson to start the 2023 legislative session. It will span three months, and we’ll be tracking the issues that matter most to you. Here are some of the issues discussed by leaders on day one.

A new year but some deja vu as leaders of both chambers are again talking income tax reform, saying it’s possible because the state is brining in more than anticipated. Hosemann is leaning into the idea of tax rebates rather than full elimination.

“I’m not necessarily opposed to some longer-term income tax relief,” explained Hosemann. “I like grocery tax relief, as well. But we really have to absorb that by 2026. Before we start anything else. Everybody from our state economist, anybody else you talked to, she says we’re going into a recession.”

“I have been a champion for full elimination for over two years now,” said Speaker Philip Gunn. “We did what we could do last year. We’ll see how much more we can get this year.”

One item left undone from last year is the extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage to a full year after giving birth. The Senate has passed that legislation. But the Speaker pushed back previously, saying it seemed like a form of Medicaid expansion. Even Tuesday, it was unclear if the Speaker had received enough information from the Division of Medicaid to change his mind. Meanwhile, the Lt. Governor wants it done.

”It seems to me that if they were a proponent of that, they would have issued a statement in support of that encouraging that,” said Gunn of the Division of Mediciad. “Or they may very well have just done it on their own. The mere fact that they have the fact they have and indicates they clearly are not. At best, they’re cool to the idea or they’re not supportive.”

”Why am I asking the state agents to make a decision?” asked Hosemann. “What we should ask the state is for is the numbers. Will we have better health care for women and children?”

Help for struggling hospitals is an issue that some members view not as an option but a must-complete item.

“I think this is health care is not Democrat and Republican,” explained Sen. Sollie Norwood. “It’s not black or white health care when you need health care.”

It seems this could be an item that gets support from both sides of the aisle.

“We’re going to be trying to look for ways to make it to help them at a very minimum, maybe invest some of the surplus that we have into those hospitals in the short term,” said Gunn. “While we look for opportunities to address the issues long term.”

“I think we’re at a crisis mode here in the short term, but that shouldn’t dictate our long-term solutions here,” noted Hosemann.

But all these discussions will happen amidst campaigning because it’s an election year.

“We shouldn’t let the current election year to slow us down in terms of addressing the critical needs of this date because we have many we have to address,” added Sen. Sollie Norwood.

Governor Tate Reeves filed his qualifying papers to run for re-election just a block from the Capitol at the GOP headquarters.

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