Budget, remapping top issues for 2012

Mississippi lawmakers who represent the Pine Belt agree the state budget and redistricting will be two of the biggest issues they’ll tackle this year.

Legislators will be sworn in today in Jackson.

“It’s going to be a very big day,” said Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg. “It’ll be the largest freshman class in several decades. We’ll have a new speaker and a new speaker pro (tempore.)”

Lawmakers also will be led by a new governor, Phil Bryant, and a new lieutenant governor, Tate Reeves. Legislative committees will get new chairmen.

Republicans are taking over the House majority for the first time since Reconstruction. They already control the Senate.

Hattiesburg American