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From Your Capitol - February 9, 2020
It's hard to believe that the Mississippi legislature has been in session for over a month. Now that members have been assigned to committee positions and committees have had time to organized real work is slowing beginning. I spent most of last week in Appropriation meetings for various state agencies. Each agency comes before the committee and makes their request for funding for the 2021 budget. These meetings generally last about 15 to 20 minutes but they give legislators an opportunity to hear the agencies plans and ask questions. Here is an interesting fact I learned this week. Our community college professors make about $20,000/year less than a professor at a major university. But even more interesting is the community colleges regularly lose faculty to our K-12 schools, because K-12 teachers are paid better than our community college professors. Over the past several months the Mississippi Center for Public Policy has completed a deep dive into Mississippi's universities. Here are a few of their findings:
Graduation rates among several IHL universities are unacceptably low.
Athletic expenditures at the Ole Miss and Mississippi State University have skyrocketed, outpacing many schools throughout the nation. Some of Mississippi’s smaller schools have tried to keep pace, passing on these costs to their students.
No school in Mississippi currently requires all its students to complete a course in American government or history. This deficit inevitably diminishes graduates’ ability to participate effectively in our democratic republic.
Although free speech policies at most Mississippi universities are appropriate, this is not the case at Ole Miss. They have a Bias Incident Response Team with highly disturbing implications for freedom of expression and the due process rights of students.
None of the IHL schools have yet adopted the Chicago Principles, a commitment to the importance of the unfettered and unobstructed pursuit of truth and knowledge as the defining value of a college or university. The Chicago Principles are widely seen as the gold standard for protecting free inquiry and free expression on college campuses, and Mississippi needs to join other eminent universities and university systems that have made this important public commitment.
Read the full report Here.
HB 578 School term; revise to prohibit from starting before last Monday in August. 02/05 (H) Referred To Education Criswell HB 579 Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship Program; prescribe standards for participation. 02/05 (H) Referred To Education Criswell HB 580 State and United States flags; require state universities to display when in session. 02/05 (H) Referred To Universities and Colleges;Rules Criswell HB 581 Appeal from judgment by a county or municipal authority; revise standard of construction for determining constitutionality. 02/05 (H) Referred To Judiciary A Criswell HB 605 CON: delete moratorium on issuance of for home health agencies. 02/06 (H) Referred To Public Health and Human Services Criswell HB 606 Mississippi Access to Health Care Act; create. 02/06 (H) Referred To Public Health and Human Services Criswell HB 621 Tax Credit Scholarship Act; create. 02/06 (H) Referred To Ways and Means Criswell HB 641 Firearms; clarify licensing procedures for. 02/06 (H) Referred To Judiciary B Criswell HB 642 Local and private bills proposing to extend local tax for second time; require direct referendum. 02/06 (H) Referred To Local and Private Legislation Criswell HB 702 Stun gun; remove the term from the prohibited firearms category. 02/06 (H) Referred To Judiciary B Criswell HB 706 Firearms Protection Act; create. 02/06 (H) Referred To Judiciary B Criswell
Bill Number Bill Name Motion Vote Date Vote HB95 Commissioner of Insurance; provide shall resolve certain disputes between provider and insured regarding billing. House Passed 2/5/2020 Yea HC4 Alcorn State University "Braves" Football Team; commend upon winning the 2019 Southwestern Athletic Conference championship. House Adopted 2/4/2020 Yea HC6 Arielle Hudson; commend and congratulate upon being named a 2020 Rhodes Scholar. House Adopted 2/4/2020 Yea
It is an honor to serve the people of Mississippi and Olive Branch. Please contact me with your opinions and our concerns. Dana