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Report To The People

Mississippi To Get Federal Stimulus Money Totaling $2.3 Billion Over Next Two Years

By Tommy Reynolds

The House of Representatives devoted most of last week to consideration of bills which had earlier passed the Senate.

I handled on the House Floor Senate Bill 2746 which would allow the University of Mississippi Medical Center to donate surplus food items to charity to feed needy residents. Currently there is no state law which allows the Medical Center to give surplus food to charity so the surplus food is discarded. I had introduced a House bill allowing the Medical Center to donate surplus food to charity, but it was not passed out of the Senate committee to which it was assigned. I encouraged the House committee handling SB 2746 to pass the Bill. In committees, I made a motion to amend the Bill to add earlier House passed language permitting State correctional inmates to work on the Fuller Center for Housing projects for housing construction or repair projects for the needy. I was very pleased that the Bill passed by an overwhelming margin.

The Senate passed HB 1566 which would allow donations by local governments to Boys and Girls Clubs around the state. I introduced this legislation and the Senate slightly amended the Bill. It will be necessary for the House to accept the Senate amendment for the Bill to be sent to the Governor.

Each year tens of thousands of Mississippi young people are served by the Boys and Girls Club. These clubs helped to provide recreation and training activities for these youngsters and also training in good citizenship for young people. The work of Boys and Girls Club throughout the state has been threatened by financial constraints and hopefully this additional source of funding will help to allow the work of Boys and Girl Clubs to continue.

The House of Representatives passed SB 3049 which would require that 75 percent of the state owned passenger vehicles get 40 miles per gallon by the year 2014.

The House of Representatives heard two experts from the Council of State Government in Washington who briefed members of the House on the effect of the recently passed Federal “Stimulus” package. The experts estimated that Mississippi would get approximately $2.3 billion in Federal funding over the next two years from the Program.

Among the items that Mississippi will receive, is $829 million in additional Medicaid funding and a good portion of this is slated for immediate arrival into state hands. The Medicaid Program provides healthcare coverage for approximately one-fourth of Mississippi residents including the great majority of nursing home residents in our state.

The House passed SB 2628 which would provide for additional oversight from the state level over failing school districts. These are districts who because of severe financial discrepancies or academic deficits are classed as “failing” districts. This legislation had been supported by the state Department of Education.

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 280, Charleston, MS 38921

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