The echoes of a gavel brought both chambers to order Tuesday as state lawmakers begin a three-month legislative session to come up with solutions to state issues.
"I'm optimistic about this session. 2013 is going to be good for the state of Mississippi and good for the tax payer," said Rep. George Flaggs, a democrat from Vicksburg.
Although there will be plenty of new political battles stretching from gun control legislation to tax reform, the biggest challenge is getting revived from last year's session.
"The most important thing is going to be education. The charter school bill. That's going to probably dominate the session if you want to know the truth about it," said Sen. Terry Brown, a republican from Columbus.
Veteran lawmakers who may not be completely sold on the idea agree some type of education reform must be front and center.
"We have to make sure that education remains a priority because we're trying to attract industry and an educated workforce is important to attracting industry to this state," said Sen. Hillman Frazier, a democrat from Jackson.
"Economic development, hand in hand with education, I think, will be the centerpieces of this session," said Governor Phil Bryant.
The session begins the second year of a four year term for lawmakers, many of whom, like representative Steve Massengill were freshman last year.
"It's still a challenge because it's still a learning process," said Massengill, a republican from Hickory Flat.
With added experience, Governor Phil Bryant says he expects a more proactive session and more aggressive legislation.
"It takes that first year to get accustomed to understand they system which is somewhat complex here," said Bryant.
Medicaid expansion is also set to be a point of debate. Many lawmakers feel no decision will be made this year, that's if the issue is even brought up at all. While many republican leaders are against an expansion, claiming the state can't afford it, many democrats say it's move the state can't afford not to make.
"It may not be ready this year but as we work through it I think within the next two years you will see some expansion of Medicaid," said Rep. Flaggs.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:55 AM EDT2013-05-22 13:55:17 GMT
The votes are in, and preliminary results show Chokwe Lumumba has come out on top in the Democratic Party Runoff Election against Jonathan Lee. With 100% of precincts reporting, Lumumba claims the electionMore >>
The votes are in and preliminary results show Chokwe Lumumba has come out on top in the Democratic Party Runoff Election against Jonathan Lee.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:21:59 GMT
James Hutto interrupted his own capital murder trial Tuesday morning, angry that judge Bill Gowan decided against the admissibility of certain evidence. "None of that matters? F***. I don't give a f***More >>
James Hutto, accused of capital murder in the beating death of 81-year-old Ethel Winstead Simpson of Clinton, expressed anger over certain evidence in court Tuesday.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:34 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:34:41 GMT
NOTE: Photos and videos will be added to this story later in the evening. The Walthall County Sheriffs Department along with The Humane Society of the United States are in the process of raiding a puppyMore >>
Among the dogs, many are dead, and skeletal remains were mixed with living animals in small, dark, filthy enclosures.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:35 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:35:19 GMT
The Mississippi Tea Party carried a nationwide protest of the IRS to the streets of downtown Jackson at high noon. The issue, IRS security of conservative groups like the tea party. We found some 20-25More >>
The Mississippi Tea Party carried a nationwide protest of the IRS to the streets of downtown Jackson at high noon. The issue is IRS security of conservative groups like the Tea Party. More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 10:15 AM EDT2013-05-22 14:15:20 GMT
The storm system from Oklahoma is moving eastward Tuesday night. A Tornado Watch is in effect for Humphreys, Attala and Holmes counties until 10 p.m. Tuesday. The brunt of the action will stay northMore >>
A weaker version of the storms that hit Oklahoma is now slowly working its way through Mississippi, but not with as much punch.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:04 AM EDT2013-05-22 15:04:51 GMT
A Tylertown man is charged with animal cruelty in connection to that suspected puppy mill in Walthall Co. More than 100 of the rescued animals are now at the Humane Society of South MS.More >>
A Tylertown man is charged with animal cruelty in connection to that suspected puppy mill in Walthall County. Sheriff's officials say James Thornhill, 72, turned himself in Tuesday and was released on his own recognizance. Meanwhile, 102 of the animals rescued Monday are now getting a lot of TLC at the Humane Society of South Mississippi.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:50:30 GMT
Oklahoma Meteorologists say a killer tornado dwarfs the power of the Hiroshima bomb. To survive a tornado, a tornado shelter can come in handy.T.J. Halford has had a tornado shelter since 2006. He is anMore >>
Oklahoma Meteorologists say a killer tornado dwarfs the power of the Hiroshima bomb. To survive a tornado, a tornado shelter can come in handy.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:15 PM EDT2013-05-21 18:15:12 GMT
The two men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's democratic primary runoff. On the WLBT 6pm report, we talkedMore >>
The two leading men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's Democratic Primary runoff.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:35 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:35:44 GMT
Linda Gale Reed is accused of stealing over $20,000 from her employer in Copiah County, Moore Fabrication. That's what led investigators to change her status from missing to wanted during their 2012 searchMore >>
Linda Gale Reed is accused of stealing over $20,000 from her employer in Copiah County, Moore Fabrication. That's what led investigators to change her status from "missing" to "wanted" during their 2012 search following her disappearance.More >>
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