By Tommy Reynolds
The House of Representatives last week passed Senate Bill 2642 that allowed the Department of Corrections to contract with counties for a regional jail. I had authored a House bill allowing Yalobusha County to be selected as one of the counties to receive a regional jail that would also have sufficient space to serve as a jail for the county as well. In the House Appropriations Committee, I supported a motion to insert the language of the earlier passed House bill into SB 2642. This motion was adopted, and the House‚s passage of the bill keeps hopes for action on regional prisons alive for this Session. County selection decisions will be made by the Department of Corrections. If the Bill is ultimately passed, it will still be necessary for an appropriations bill to be amended to provide for beginning state funding to repay the cost of borrowing necessary to build the regional jails.
The House of Representatives last week passed SB 2149 to attempt to help solve leadership problems in chronically underperforming school districts. The Bill as passed the House provides for a method of removing superintendents˜whether appointed or elected˜in school districts whose performance remains at extremely low levels for at least two consecutive years.
SB 2149 would also set up a study committee to determine what other measures could help chronically underperforming school districts to achieve better educational attainment for their students and better management for their districts.
I was pleased that the House passed SB 2246 last week. This Bill would allow drug courts to be established in additional circuit court districts around the state.
SB 2619 passed the House and will establish a task force to study the preservation of DNA evidence for use in criminal cases. The use of DNA evidence has proved to be an invaluable tool in criminal cases, and so justice may be done, it is necessary that this important evidence be preserved. The task force created by SB 2619 will be broad based and hopefully will recommend the use of methods that will effectively preserve and utilize this critical source of evidence.
The House passed SB 2209 which will authorize DeSoto County to add an additional county court judge who will serve that county. The cost of the judge will be borne entirely by DeSoto County which requested the passage of the Bill. The population of DeSoto County according to Census Bureau estimates now exceeds l50,000 people. When the first county court judge was established for DeSoto County, its population was less than half of its current level.
If I can be of any assistance to you please call on me. My phone number in Jackson during the session is (601) 359-3365. The phone number in my Charleston office is (662) 647-3203, and my residence phone number is (662) 473-2571. I can also be contacted by writing me at my home address of 15 CR 429, Water Valley, MS 38965, or at my office address of P.O. Box 220, Charleston, MS 38921.