Lawmakers look ahead to big issues for 2018 session - - Jackson, MS

Lawmakers look ahead to big issues for 2018 session

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

Lawmakers start the 2018 legislative session next Tuesday.

Most lawmakers will tell you that it's tough to predict exactly what will become the biggest issue in a session. But they're looking ahead to some issues they know will spark debate. The budget is a hot button issue that can't be avoided as lawmakers return.

"It looks like our revenue projections are down from what they were last year," said Rep. Earle Banks-D. "So, it's going to be a shortage of funds. So, where those funds are going to come from and who's going to get cut some more I think is going to be a big fight in the legislature."

Republicans stress that they'll push for spending only what they know will be available. But both sides of the aisle agree the budget will be part of many committee discussions.

You may remember that around this time last year there was a lot of talk about the possible rewrite of the school funding formula known as MAEP (Mississippi Adequate Education Program). Lawmakers didn't act on it. No formula was rewritten last year. But many of the legislators say it could still happen in 2018.

"We've had a year to think about it," said District 31 Sen.Terry Burton-R. "I think if we were to do something it would be a phased in period. Not an overnight rewrite."

Most lawmakers say there's a chance of lottery talks moving forward but think the question of how that money will be earmarked will just spark even more debate.

"If this is your answer to fixing all the budget problems in the state Mississippi then you're going to be very disappointed with the outcome of that, in my opinion," noted Sen. Joey Fillingane of District 41.

"Income from that state lottery, where is that going to go?" asked Banks.

The House and Senate were at odds at the end of last session over funding for roads and bridges. Expect those discussions to continue this session.

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