Report To The People

William Winter Honored On 90th Birthday,
Scholarships Offered For Speech Impaired

By Tommy Reynolds


Occasionally those of us in the Legislature have the opportunity to honor great Mississippians while they live. Last week, we enjoyed such an occasion.
I was pleased to author House Resolution 34 as a gesture of respect and appreciation for former Governor William F. Winter on his 90th birthday. The measure was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives and presented to Gov. Winter during his birthday celebration at the Old Capitol on February 19.
The resolution lists many of Gov. Winter’s acts of service to Mississippi and the nation beginning with his exemplary military service in the United States Army during World War II and the Korean Conflict and as a leader in the Mississippi National Guard. A lawyer, he was elected to office first in the House of Representa-tives and later as state Tax Collector, Lieutenant Gov-ernor and Governor.
His public service includes voluntary leadership in matters of archives and history and racial reconciliation–the state Depart-ment of Archives and History is housed in a modern building bearing his name, and the University of Mississippi is home to the William F. Winter Institute of Racial Reconciliation.
 We recognized his continuing efforts to make a difference at home and in the wider world with the following statement:
“WHEREAS, Governor Winter throughout his entire life has exemplified and continues to exemplify the qualities of courage, fortitude, integrity and vision, which have helped our state to progress, and he serves as a role model for all who would be called Mississip-pians.”
 Seldom in our lifetime are we fortunate enough to be in the presence of the truly great. My colleagues and I are grateful to know the statesman and leader, William F. Winter.         
 
DHS Offices Protected
Although we were unable to turn back House Bill 1009,which allows privatization of any or all services of the Department of Human Services (DHS), my colleagues and I were able to at least secure a degree of safety for the county offices themselves. I drew up an amendment to the agency’s appropriation bill (House Bill 1668) which states that no DHS office will be closed without prior legislative consent. My colleague, Rep. Sherra Lane, offered the amendment, which was adopted on a strong voice vote.  
The bill passed 115 – 2 and was sent to the Senate.  We must preserve access to this vital state agency for our local citizens and communities. I hope the Senate will see the wisdom in this action by the House and will approve the measure.
 
Scholarships Offered For Speech Impaired
In another important service to Mississippians, we passed House Bill 896.  Students in kindergarten through grade 6, or its equivalent who have been properly screened and diagnosed with speech-language impairment, will be eligible to receive scholarship assistance under this program for needed educational services to help remedy their impairments.    
I voted for this measure and hope it will become law.  We should do all we can to make sure our students have every opportunity to succeed.
 
Libraries Funding Remains Stable
Our public libraries will not suffer budget cuts from our current state level of funding if House Bill 1650 remains intact after it goes to the Senate.  Although many of us had feared the libraries would experience a budget reduction for FY 2014, my colleagues and I believe that our community libraries offer a needed service to our citizens.  I strongly support maintaining access to the important learning opportunities housed within our public libraries.
We are in the process of considering appropriation bills for the various agencies, and next week we will begin reviewing and voting on Senate measures.
Please contact me on these or any other issues at 15 CR 429, Water Valley, MS 38965 or by email at thomasureynolds@bellsouth.net.  I can also be reached by telephone at (662) 473-2571.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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