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Just around the corner
Republicans still in driver's seat heading into 2013 session
by Frank Corder
The 2013 legislative session doesn't begin until after the New Year , but the Capitol has been buzzing with lawmakers this past week in preparation for what is sure to be another historic session with Republicans at the helm of both chambers. Insiders know, however, the real work of setting up the next session has already started.

Lessons have been learned and the stage is set for more conservative reforms across the board, including the hottest topic, that of education.

YallPolitics has spoken with a number of lawmakers who believe charter schools will indeed pass this session, given the momentum and attention the measure continues to receive. Lawmakers have been inundated with education forums, both in state and out, in the off session and minds seem to be settling on the issue.

Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, and Speaker Philip Gunn all appear to be on the same page, not only on education reform, but fiscally responsible budgeting and other measures.

The Republican leadership team is strong and close knit, yet striving to be inclusive and considerate of their friends across the aisle, despite what Democrats say to grab a headline. A thoroughly compliant mass media will continue to help the Democrats, but votes are what count at the end of the day. And as Alan Lange wrote last month, there should be real consideration to reach out not only to those across the aisle on charter schools, but also beyond the bounds of the Capitol dome and directly into the black community to coalesce support to give parents real choice in the education of their kids. That is a place they can make inroads and possibly use to get some real bipartisanship on a meaningful "kitchen table" issue to Mississippians.

A number of party line votes by the Democrats should be expected in 2013, if nothing more than to save face. House Democratic leaders Rep. Bobby Moak, Rep. Cecil Brown, Rep. David Baria and others will be focused on whipping their minority the entire session, seeking to appear unified. Theirs will not be an easy task. They will continue to try and hold black caucus support together, and time will only tell if they can.

Expect Democrats to employ every procedural tactic possible and take to the well often. Republicans will need to be patient but firm. The math is totally on their side.

As always, YallPolitics will be here to breakdown the politics at play while providing up to date analysis and commentary. Absent real breaking news, posts will likely be slowing down some as everyone enjoys a blessed Christmas.

Posted December 14, 2012 - 4:48 pm

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