“Nobody pray for me / Even a day for me” Kendrick Lamar
Happy Black History Month! The month reserved for celebrating the great accomplishments of Black people in America throughout the country’s history. (Come through Black Panther) – It’s also when people from other races ask why there isn’t a white history month and why we can’t just “get over” the past or say “All Lives Matter.” Questions like that are pretty sickening because they reek of the privilege afforded to a person who doesn’t know what it is to walk around in brown skin. There’s a whole tangent I could go on about this. Instead, I’ll just say Come through, “Black Panther” *fist emoji*
We’re a week behind because the flu tried to take your girl out. I told you I’d be here, so I’m back. The only thing I intend to spread for the remainder of this week is information about what’s happening in both chambers of the Legislature. Since we are talking 2 deadlines, I will give you the play by play from deadline to deadline.
Watchlist: What’s Alive after January 30 Deadline? The deadline for committees to report general bills and constitutional amendments originating in their own house. Senate versions of education bills and the Medicaid tech bill were high on the list of priorities since the toxic House bills were not brought up in Committee and were left to die on the calendar.
Medicaid was of major concern as the House version of the Medicaid tech bill had an abortion ban that would surely have placed the entire Medicaid bill in jeopardy, as it would have faced litigation and a court fight that would shut the program down because without a technical bill it’s needed to run the Medicaid department. This leaves even more people than we already have without critical health care coverage. The thought of that alone should make you shudder.
Good news: That House version is dead. Let’s all take a big, collective exhale on that! The bad news: There is a House education bill that we have fretted over for a few weeks, HB 957, that’s still alive. It passed in the House and has been transmitted to the Senate. They did kill their own bill, so maybe there is hope! It’s too soon to tell, though. This will be one that may play out until the last deadline.
More good stuff: Rep. Alyce Clarke, a true-blue veteran legislator and advocate did women in Mississippi a solid, despite scrutiny from leadership, brought up HB 1241 and offered an amendment forcing a vote on equal pay that passed the House overwhelmingly and left the 40 members who voted against out in the cold. This was a huge win for the Women’s Rights Movement in the state. When you get a chance, call or email Rep. Clarke your thanks and ask what you can do to keep up the momentum. May this spirit catch fire and receive continued support from both sides of the aisle. Hooray!
But never to fear, there was still a horrendous bill on the horizon to dampen some of that excitement. Booo! Rep. Beckie Currie sponsored House bill 1510 Abortion bill that would ban abortions beginning at 15 weeks (the earliest in the country); it remains alive. As news outlets began to pick up the news of this bill, articles rolled out painting Mississippi in a negative light (again). Taking away a woman’s right to chose without clear ideas on how she’ll care for the child she’s forced to birth … deplorable. Here are a couple articles from national and local news outlets on the topic:
Two Deadlines in One Week Let’s get ready to rumble. Wait. I can’t because … sick. Thank goodness I have two computers so I can watch both chambers at the same time!
Deadlines come and go and from here on out. We are looking at bills and deadlines to ensure we are abreast of amendments (especially the sneakiest kinds) and zombie bills (like school vouchers that would divert public education funds to private and parochial schools and could be amended to make it even worse; HB 957). Our friends at The Parents Campaign shared the following update after so many Senators stood in favor of public education with a reminder to contact Lt. Governor Tate Reeves asking for opposition:
Lt. Governor Reeves – Capitol: 601.359.3200
HB 957 would both starve public schools and facilitate vouchers in one fell swoop.
It is estimated that HB 957 would shortchange school districts statewide by approximately $292-million in its first full year of implementation, 2025. See how much your school district stands to lose.
Claims by state leaders that districts would see funding gains with HB 957 are based on a false comparison. They are comparing 2025 full funding of HB 957 to 2018 underfunding of current law.
The funding in HB 957 is even less than what schools would receive if the Legislature continued underfunding school districts at the same rate that it has for the last six years.
The ‘student-based formula’ in HB 957 would make it easier to convert public school funding into vouchers for private school tuition.
The per-student amount would simply follow the student out of public schools and into a private, for-profit, or cyber school – which have no obligation to provide a quality public education or to answer to taxpayers for how they spend our tax dollars.”
Here we go! February 8 was the deadline for original floor action on original bills and constitutional amendments originating in each house. And February 9 (that’s right, the following day), the deadline for reconsideration and passage of general bills and constitutional amendments originating in each house. Stay woke ‘cause another deadline is a-creepin’!
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Here are a Few Articles to give you a little background on some legislation:
Social Media Sound Bites “Last year they said I could carry it to church, now they want me to be able to carry it to the Grove. Meantime, the roads and bridges crumble and education is in the tank #screweduppriorities #msleg”
“Surprise, surprise … #MSleg doing something stupid again. At least this time it’s sports related so people are actually speaking out against it.”
TwitterChat – Monday, February 26 at 6 pm. If you would like to join us, please email us at email@example.com and let us know what legislative issues concern you or what you’d like more information on so we can add them to our list of questions. You will also receive an email explaining the outline of the chat, Twitter handle and hashtag to follow the conversation through your timeline.
Up Next Hold on, stay strong. We’re almost there, y’all. We have another deadline today, February 12. This deadline is to dispose of motions to reconsider general bills and constitutional amendments originating in their own house. Tuesday will bring about what’s left, meaning you can look for a post-deadline update this week. We hope to have less bad bills to report and what bills may come back again, as we continue to move from deadline to deadline. After tomorrow, the next deadline will be Appropriations deadline on February 21. Those are a bit harder to pass, as a 3/5 majority is required. Let’s see what happens.
Until soon …