All too often, in the halls of the state Capitol, the interests of voters are pushed aside while back room deals and political maneuvers determine the outcome of legislation. For example, in 2012, at the start of the last four-year term, the leadership pushed through a new rule in the House of Representatives that was designed to prevent amendments to appropriations bills during floor debate. That rule allowed a couple of leaders in the House of Representatives to craft their own version of the state budget each year, with little input from rank and file legislators.
Did you catch the irony there? For the last four years, your legislators turned over all education funding decisions to one man from Hinds County (House Speaker Philip Gunn) and one man from Pearl River County (House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson).
The 2016 Legislative Session convenes at noon tomorrow, and we will be watching to see if the House again adopts this rule. It is critical that you and other public education supporters in your community begin meeting with your legislators soon – and continue to meet with them regularly throughout the session – to ensure that they understand your priorities and reflect them in their votes. Many thanks to those of you who are already doing so.
As the session progresses, we will keep you updated with vote reports on education bills and other news from the Capitol. Be sure to watch your email inbox. News on our new vote reporting service is coming soon!