LEGISLATIVE REPORT: A Summary of the 2012 Session

Another set of bills important to our local economy that had previously been killed in committee was passed this year. Three bills addressing the alcohol content in beer were passed and signed into law. Together, these new laws will bring Mississippi into line with the rest of the country as it relates to alcohol laws. Additionally, these new laws will allow the promotion of our local economy. More specifically, our local restaurants, retail, and the state’s only operating brewery, Lazy Magnolia will directly benefit by raising the legal limit of alcohol by weight in beer from 5% to 8%.

The Mississippi Legislature also passed a balanced budget that reserves $234 Million for use in future budgets. The 2013 Budget continued the trend of underfunding of MAEP- a legislative mandate that has been underfunded by approximately $700 million over the last 4 years. Additionally, the budget decreased university funding significantly. This decrease, coupled with the failure to pass a bond bill this year, will result in tuition increases of approximately 8% at our universities. The House bond proposal included $96 million for state universities for building renovations and repairs and capital projects, and $20 million for community colleges. The Senate refused to pass any bonds whatsoever. However, funding for community colleges did see an increase in the 2013 Budget. On the whole, the budget is fair and much better than the initial recommendation received from Governor Bryant.

Rep. David Baria