Gov. Phil Bryant pushing public safety, drug testing for welfare recipients in upcoming session

Republican Phil Bryant is starting his third year as Mississippi governor, and he says he wants to make public safety the top focus of the 2014 legislative session, which begins at noon Tuesday.

He wants to train more state troopers and create “strike force” groups to help local law enforcement officers in areas where mayors or county supervisors say there are problems with gangs, drugs or violent crime.

During an interview with The Associated Press, Bryant also said he remains firmly opposed to Medicaid expansion, which is an option under the federal health overhaul that President Barack Obama signed into law. He said he wants to expand community health centers as a way to provide primary care and deter people from going to emergency rooms for routine medical services.