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District Nine Report

Bill Limits Eminent Domain To Beneficial Public Projects

By Gray Tollison

Mississippi Senate Report, February 13, 2009

This week we passed several bills that aim to better the lives of our constituents.

Our passage of House Bill 1628 will allow us to assist with the creation of at least 275 full-time jobs by December 2011 that will grow to 800 by 2017. These high technology jobs will be at Alliant Techsystems Inc., (ATK) in Iuka, where composite aircraft components will be manufactured. The average salary will be $53,000.

ATK develops parts for the U.S. military and the commercial airline sector. It is the largest manufacturer of military and police ammunition. While many longstanding U.S. companies have been forced to lay off or downsize staffs, losing much of their profits, our choice to assist ATK with incentives is a futuristic move, considering the company’s stock was selling at $80.05 per share on the New York Stock Exchange, indicating its long-term financial strength. The Governor has already signed this bill into law.

We passed Senate Bill 2746 that will allow large scale food preparers like the University of Mississippi Medical Center and restaurants to donate leftover food to charitable organizations.

The donation of completely edible foods is an honorable thing for organizations to do, as we see more services like Stewpot and others seek additional donations to help them keep up with the demands for hot meals that our needy and homeless populations place upon them.

We passed Senate Bill 2230 that limits eminent domain to being used strictly as a means of benefiting the public, like the creation of a school, a needed roadway extension or some other project that benefits the community. Our citizens no longer have to worry about land grabs for commercial gains.

We passed Senate Bill 2631 that intends to increase from five years to 20, the amount of prison time that persons convicted of accessory after the fact of a crime can be sentenced to. This should help our law enforcement and prosecutors. It was one of several law enforcement friendly measures that we passed this week.

We also passed Senate Bill 2978 that will allow the addition of $1 to certain fines. The increase will’s go to the Attorney General’s office for increased enforcement of cyber crimes often aimed at molesting children.

 Senate Bill 2616 will for the first time create a law that makes it illegal to present a false ID at a liquor store. This should prevent teenagers from trying to buy alcohol.

Our passage of Senate Bill 2867 will increase the fine from $500 to $1,000 for driving without proof of insurance. It will allow the person who purchases insurance after being stopped to pay only $100.

Along the lines of seeking more accountability for our children, we passed Senate Bill 2628, “The Children’s First Act of 2009.”

Senate Bill 2628 establishes a process that allows the state to identify troubled or failing school districts, provide them leadership, management oversight and a host of resources they need to be successful.

Senate Bill 2628 also provides transparency so that the community at large will be able to see how the district is doing in terms of educating children.

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