Session: Legislature convenes today

The Mississippi Legislature officially convenes the 2011 regular session today despite the fact that lawmakers have been working for months on the key task confronting them – crafting a state budget.

Lawmakers will deal with projected general fund revenue for FY 2012 that is below FY 2007 actual collections. Crafting the FY 2012 budget will be a significant challenge. Lawmakers will also be faced with a growing cost of the Medicaid program.

While funding the budget will be the primary task, there are other key issues. Legislators will likely clash with Gov. Haley Barbour in the final regular session of his eight-year term as governor over funding levels for public education, public health care, mental health, community colleges and veterans’ nursing homes.