Mississippi Municipal League members hosted their “Home Rule Rally” at the State Capitol on Wednesday.

This years theme is “Hit a home run, for home rule.”

Wednesday, the group highlighted the importance of home rule and the need for keeping authority at the local level. The rally also served as the official announcement of the 2020 Municipal Government Week which is celebrated January 20 through January 26.

Municipal government is defined as the level of government closest to most citizens, and the one with the most direct daily impact on residents.

The mission of the Mississippi Municipal League is helping cities and towns excel. It was established in 1931 and represents 291 town, village and city governments in Mississippi.

Mayor of Flora and MML Legislative Chairman, Les Childress, said MML has roughly four items on their agenda this year. They include: fully funding The First Responders Act (passed in 2019), a local option sales tax to pay for local improvements on projects only, funding for the municipalities grant program in which they plan to request $10 million, and full funding for homestead exemptions and reimbursement.

“We’ve got a lot on our plate we need to work with our legislators. MML has been meeting with them and I think we are going to get a lot of this done,” said Childress.

“Kicking off the year with a conference focused on the legislative session and issues that are important to our communities across the state allows the League and its members to regain a clear and dedicated understanding of the importance of participating in the legislative process,” said MML President Mayor Billy Hewes of Gulfport. “It is especially important to get to know newly elected statewide officials after the recent elections and this event provides an excellent opportunity to do so.”

Mayor of Greenwood, Carolyn McAdams, who serves as the MML 2nd Vice President urged lawmakers not to introduce and pass bills that create ‘blanket policies.’ She said often times these preemptive bills are distributed by special interest groups that do not lie within the state.

“We as municipal leaders are not interested in over regulating any industries,” said McAdams. “Before you sign onto a bill that is preemptive in nature check with the municipal leaders that represent you.”

She said more often than not those leaders are willing to work through the issues to avoid a blanket policy.

MML is hosting its Mid-Winter Legislative Conference at the Hilton in Jackson with more than 600 local officials in attendance.