FRIDAY MARKS THE END OF THE 2010 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
BRYANT: ‘Disappointed pro-life legislation dies in House committee’
JACKSON – With one last bang of the gavel, Lt. Governor and presiding officer of the State Senate, Phil Bryant, officially ended the 2010 legislative session in the Senate.
“We began the session with job creation and closed the session by approving a $5.5 billion state budget for fiscal 2011,” said Lt. Governor Phil Bryant. “While I do not believe this is an ideal budget, it does fund government at a basic level during these though economic times.”
Legislators returned to the State Capitol Tuesday after recessing for 19 days in anticipation that the federal government would reduce the portion of Medicaid Mississippi pays, resulting in $187 million in additional revenue.
The recess did not add days to the allotted 90 day session and did not increase the cost of the session. Legislators also did not receive additional pay during the recess.
During the week legislators approved the reauthorization of the Department of Employment Security. The agency had been at the center of much contention over whether the State should make more people eligible for unemployment benefits. That change would have lead to higher taxes in the future. House Bill 1756 reauthorizes the department and extends the repealer for the agency for one year.
Lt. Governor Bryant opposed the change calling it “a tax on employers. I continue to believe the best way to stimulate an economy is targeted tax cuts and not a tax increase on our already struggling businesses here in Mississippi.”
According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security a change would result in adding approximately 7,000 people to the unemployment benefits rolls at a cost of over $14.5 million per year after the one time federal funds had been depleted.
In other business, Senate Bill Number 3214, known as the Federal Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act passed the Senate overwhelmingly but has yet to come up for a vote in the House chamber. The bill would prohibit health insurance plans offered by the Mississippi Exchange from covering elective abortions.
Bryant, a staunch supporter of pro-life efforts, said: “This is a great effort that ensures taxpayer money will not be used to pay for elective abortions. I was disappointed that the Senate bill was not brought up for a vote in the House Health Committee. I am hopeful the House leadership will reconsider the abortion opt-out legislation when they reconvene Saturday and pass it immediately on to the Governor.”