Under the Dome, Week 4 | Bills, Bills, Bills

Another head hangs lowly / Child is slowly taken / And the violence, caused such silence / Who are we mistaken?” Zombie, The Cranberries

This week, let’s focus on the important part of the legislative process where House and Senate chairs of committees and the members of each specified committee look through thousands of bills to decide which pieces of legislation would make the cut before the next deadline (tomorrow, Tuesday January 30).

This part of the process is a tedious one where committee members are forced to decide what legislation is priority and will make the cut or die on the calendar. Remember there were more than 2,000 bills submitted,  so many of those bills will certainly die in committee. During this process, committee members ain’t too proud to beg for passage. That means House and Senate members, issue-based  lobbyists and advocates are all trying to see if the relationships they have are solid or as shallow as a cocktail pool. (What’s the point of those?) This doesn’t minimize the job of committee members but highlights there is no way to look through and bring up every bill referred to more than one committee, so people have to hustle.

This process is the first (and for some, the second) time their bill will die.  In reality, some great pieces of legislation won’t see the light of day and zombie bills—those that need to die but pop up out of the grave when you turn your back—will come back. With those creepers, all we can do is keep track and work to ensure the stake goes through the heart and resurrection is not an option. This entire process is survival of the fittest at its most true.

Excuses, Excuses – Bending The Law!

This week was a week filled with people visiting and rallying inside their Capital (and breaking some rules while doing so). There’s something thrilling about a bit of rebellion, isn’t there? Is it just me? Anyway, I’m going to give you a little homework, if you want additional background on how last week’s rally for School Choice went against Capitol access rules, along with other key issues and how each issue was handled (or mishandled).  

We Laugh to Keep From Crying

Three #msleg of my favorite Twitter posts from last week 

“Ever notice how politicians say ‘I’ve talked to teachers and …’ Who are these mysterious educators they talk to that just happen to have the same philosophy as the policy the politician is promoting?? …Because I don’t ever see them visiting classrooms. #msleg”

“Good news. Only about 25 hours until thousands of bills die. #msleg”

“I think #msleg is using the @BetsyDeVos playbook. It’s called: Horrible, Harmful #education Practices: How to easily make kids hate learning.”

Coming soon! We’re preparing to co-host a TwitterStorm on HB957 that allows you the opportunity to ask additional questions about it and anything else that may be on your mind. We’ll get you details soon.

Here is a better idea of what we are looking at as the next deadline on committee deadline on January 30: We will have a much clearer picture of what’s going on. You know, after we sift through the rubble. And I’ll keep you updated on the status of the following bills. This isn’t a comprehensive list; it’s a sample of the dreadful legislation submitted for consideration.

Education
HB 198 – No remediation in college
HB 987 – New school funding formula
HB 1053 – Move the Department of Education under the leadership of the governor

Health
HB 1227 – Medicaid Waivers – creates a barrier to the services currently provided and would likely result in the removal of many individuals on the program under medical care.
HB 1481 – Medicaid Limitation of Services – a technical bill would eliminate or reduce services for recipients

Reproductive Rights
HB 45 – Would deem abortion services illegal
HB 226 – Ban abortions at six weeks

Give Me What’s Mine
Mississippi has an opportunity to increase women’s wages by passing Equal Pay legislation this session. We need a public outcry to get HB 717 and HB 1257 out of committee. Please contact Chairman Mark Baker of  at 601.359.3770 and show your support for the two Equal Pay bills to be brought up in committee. Women make more than $9,000 less than men in the state of Mississippi. We have the power to change this! Read this piece by Sarah Fowler on equal pay for women that explains the issue more in depth.

What’s Happening?
Tuesday January 30, 2018
Equal Pay Mississippi Advocacy Day at the Capitol – click to RSVP for lunch
Noon · Mississippi State Capitol South Steps

Wednesday January 31, 2018
Young, Gifted & Empowered Awards Announcement Reception
5:30 pm · Smith Robertson Museum & Cultural Center | 528 Bloom St.

Up Next
There are only 500 bills expected to live past tomorrow’s deadline. I’ll share a midweek update of what’s left. Until soon …

About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.