Bill to expand Jackson airport board passes Senate - - Jackson, MS

Bill to expand Jackson airport board passes Senate

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The State Senate has a bill that will give municipalities outside of Jackson a voice on the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Board of Commissioners. 

On Thursday night a group of concerned Jackson residents met with some of the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority commissioners.The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm how to keep the board composed of Jackson residents. 

"Generally the state takes over something if it's in trouble, but the airport, our airport, is not in trouble and because of that it's serving as an injustice," says Pastor Hosea Hines who presides over Christ Tabernacle Church in Jackson.  

The Senate voted for the airport bill known as Senate Bill 2162.  If the governor signs the legislation the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Board will go from five members to nine. Five members would include Jackson residents.

Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber currently names all five board members but under this bill he and the Jackson City Council would name one each. The governor gets to name two members and Rankin and Madison counties would name one each. The lieutenant governor, the executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority and the adjutant general of the Mississippi National Guard also get one appointment each. Those appointed by the governor and lieutenant governor would have to live in Jackson.

Senator Josh Harkins, (R) District 20, supports a regional board.

"They feel like it's being taken away from them and it's not," said Senator Harkins. "They will continue to receive all the revenues they've been receiving and the sales tax and the property tax," said Senator Harkins. 

Commissioners on the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority Board oppose the bill.

"The city of Jackson owns and controls the board that means when contracts are let, when contracts are bid we're at the table making decisions who will get those contracts, that's what they want," says Reverend James Henley, the Vice Chair for the JMAA Board of Commissioners. 

Senator John Horhn, (D) District 26, held the bill on a motion to reconsider. He says the issue is a political ploy and an attempt at power and control.

"Someone sees an asset that they want. They like it and they want it for themselves and they want to try to take it away from us," said Senator Horhn. 

Governor Bryant's Director of Communications says the Governor will review the legislation thoroughly before making a decision.

Senator Harkins says if the legislation passes, board members would be required to have at lest ten years of experience as a CPA, chartered financial analyst, attorney, engineer, businessperson or someone with some type of aviation background. 

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