Constituent Report, Friday, January 29, 2016

This is the first of what I hope to be many Legislative Reports letting you know what is going on at your State Capitol. I will promise that I will not bombard you with needless weekly emails. If there is nothing significant to report I will wait and sum up the information in a later report.

Legislative Session 2016 – Week 1 January 4th-8th

The Senate gaveled in on January 4th and within a few minutes I was sworn in as your Senator for District 19. I was honored to have my wife Vicki, my daughters Victoria and Danielle, and my son Keegan with me on the floor of the Senate as well as many friends in the gallery to witness me taking the oath of office.

I had the opportunity to meet with Supervisors Mark Gardner, Lee Caldwell, and Michael Lee and community leaders Lee Smart and Michael Hatcher.

On a sad not we adjourned the Senate in memory of longtime Olive Branch Alderman Harold Henderson,

Week 2 January 11th-15th

Lt. Governor Reeves appointed a 5-member Select Committee to hear testimony in the election challenge of former Senator Bob Dearing by Senator Melanie Sojourner.

I meet this week with another large contingent from DeSoto from DeSoto and Marshall Counties. Circuit Clerks Dale Kelly and Lucy Carpenter; Mayors and Aldermen from Horn Lake, Hernando, Southaven, Olive Branch Byhalia, and Holly Springs; and Desoto County Coroner Jeff Pounders.

Week 3 January 18th- 22nd

As I mentioned earlier a special senate committee heard the election challenge between Senator Melanie Sojourner and former Senator Bob Dearing. After two weeks of testimony, and determining there was no evidence of voter fraud, the special committee unanimously ruled in favor of Senator Bob Dearing. The full Senate then voted 47-3 voted to seat Senator Dearing.

This week as in the past we passed a number of resolutions paying tribute to special Mississippians along with former Senators who have served in the past.

Lastly Governor Bryant is making 1.5% budget cuts for several state agencies as revenue collections are lagging prior budget estimates. However, several programs were exempt from the cuts including MAEP, Medicaid, University students’ financial aid, and the Department of Public Safety. While State law precludes funding of the Legislature being cut, Lt. Governor Reeves and Speaker Gunn announced they plan to cut the Legislature’s budget by 1.5% as well.

Visitor to the Capitol this week included Northcentral Electric’s Kevin Doddridge and Michael Bellapenni.

Week 4 January 25th-29th

This week Lt. Governor Tate Reeves made his committee appointments. As a freshman I am grateful he saw fit to utilize my business shills as part of these problem solving, policy making teams. My assignments are as follows:

  • Insurance – Vice Chairman
  • Business and Financial Institutions
  • Judiciary B
  • Education
  • Finance
  • * Economic Development
  • Drug Policy
  • Medicaid

We held an organizational meeting of the Drug Policy Committee this week and I was honored to be elected Secretary of the committee. I can tell you, we’re in for a busy session with the matters we plan to undertake.

1-28-2016 005It was my honor to host Shelby Jones and Alana Michelle Mitias to serve as pages for the Senate. Both young ladies are juniors at DeSoto Central.

Dr. Gary Spears and Richie Lawson of Northwest Community College visited the Capitol as did constituents: Donnie Abernathy, Rob Goudy and Tom Minyard.

I am honored to be your servant and I look forward to assisting our district and state. Please call me or my assistant, Kendra Hawkins, at 601-359-3234 or email me at kblackwell@senate.ms.gov if I can be of service to you.