The Mississippi Legislature’s 2007 Session is fully underway. We are in the Committee Action phase of the legislative process. We will continue to examine and research legislative initiatives until the Committee deadline to take action expires on January 30th. The bills that pass out of committees will then be presented to the entire Senate for consideration. The target date for adjournment for the legislative session is April 1st.

I authored Senate Bill 2856 that will provide $5.6 million for the Desoto County School System for new student enrollment. My bill will fully fund the high-growth allocations pursuant to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) formula. The State of Mississippi has short-changed high growth school districts in recent years, with DeSoto being unfairly penalized the most. Our delegation has fought tirelessly for more funds for high-growth districts, and we were able to secure $1.8 million for fiscal year 2007. However, with the addition of 1,794 new students, the Desoto County School System desperately needs and deserves this additional $5.6 million. We need new buses, more textbooks, smaller class sizes, and more GED programs, just to name a few. All we have ever asked is to be paid for the students enrolled in our schools.

There has been a national debate the past several months about illegal immigration reform. Unfortunately, there are over 11 million illegal aliens residing in the United States, with many living in Mississippi. I filed Senate Bill 2123 that would require a person to show proof of U.S. Citizenship in order to obtain public assistance, such as welfare or housing. Mississippians work too hard for their money to have it given away to illegal aliens. We live in a land of law and order. If we continue as a society to ignore this problem and prop up these illegal aliens, I believe we will have more social problems than this country has ever experienced. This must not and can not happen. Let’s hope Mississippi does her part to stem this illegal alien problem.

I am honored to represent your interests in the Mississippi Senate. Please continue to send me your thoughts and ideas. 2007 is poised to be another great year of progress for DeSoto County, and a great year for Mississippi.

Merle Flowers