State Representative John Hines (D, HD-50) has filed House Bill 28 that would create a Legislative Public Project Grant Program allowing legislators to award $25,000 each year for a public project in the legislator’s district. Grants from different legislators could be combined for projects, as outlined in the bill.
The bill reads:
There is created the Legislative Public Project Grant Program to be administered by the Community Services Division of the Mississippi Development Authority. Each legislator is authorized to award a grant of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) each year to be used for a public project in the legislator’s district. Grants from different legislators may be combined for projects.
Hines would have this program administered by the Community Services Division of the Mississippi Development Authority. Upon award, the funds would be distributed to the county where the project is to be located.
In order to receive and award a grant, a legislator would submit an application to the MDA Community Services Division, the criteria for which would be determined by the agency. MDA would review the application and award the grant if the application complies with the established criteria.
Mississippi has 122 members of the House of Representatives and 52 state senators. This program would cost the state $4,350,000 annually for the 174 lawmakers to essentially establish a pot of money to fund pet projects that otherwise may not be considered in the state’s annual appropriations.
Rep. Hines has served in the Mississippi Legislature since 2001. He serves on the House Appropriations, Insurance, Management, Medicaid, Military Affairs, and Public Health and Human Services committees.