MS legislative session: What will 2017 bring?

The 2017 session, which begins Tuesday and is scheduled to run through April 2, promises similar budgetary issues, with revenue growth expected to be minuscule or flat. Initial proposals by the legislative budget committee and Gov. Phil Bryant propose more cuts for most agencies.

The Republican leadership returns to Jackson with a supermajority in both houses. The 2015 elections gave the House its first GOP three-fifths majority, meaning the Republican leadership can pass tax and spending bills and most of a roughly $6 billion state budget without support from the Democratic minority.

House Speaker Philip Gunn said he’s uncertain how difficult the 2017 session will be but said the GOP majority leadership “will continue to bring forward solid policy.”…

…House Minority Leader David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, said, “I’m the eternal optimist, and I go into every session hoping it will be better than the last.” He said the new GOP House supermajority appeared to “govern by caucus” last year and exclude Democrats from the process.

“I’m on record saying that’s a bad idea,” Baria said. “It needs to be inclusive … We are going to look for common ground with Republicans everywhere we can find it. But we will stand our ground on core principles — such as fully funding education.”

Clarion Ledger
12/30/16