House passes three state road bills

By RANDY RUSHING,

On Jan. 2, 2018, the 132nd Mississippi State Legislature began the third session in its four-year term.  

Four new members joined the House of Representatives this past year as a result of special elections. Stacey Wilkes, R-Picayune; Missy McGee, R-Hattiesburg; Cheikh Taylor, D-Starkville and Kevin Ford, R-Vicksburg joined the roster of representatives for the 2018 Legislative Session. 

Though it is early in the session, there were a couple of bills passed through committees and introduced on the House floor. All of the bills discussed dealt with the maintenance and repair of roads and bridges, a topic which will likely be heavily discussed this session. 

One measure introduced was House Bill 354, which aims to set aside any state revenue growth of more than two percent for the repair and reconstruction of state, county and municipal roads and bridges. This measure passed by a vote of 118-2. I supported this bill.

Another was House Bill 357, legislation that would authorize the issuance of $50 million in bonds to cities and counties for bridge improvements. This passed by a vote of 116-4. I supported this bill.  

Finally, House Bill 359 would prohibit the construction of any new roads that have not already acquired right-of-way. Supporters of the bill say this will help the state maintain the roads it already has before starting any new projects. Those opposed say this could stall economic development. The bill passed by a vote of 71-42. I did not support this bill. All three bills were held on a motion to reconsider, which means they will be brought up again in the future.  

As always, I am available if you have questions or concerns. I strongly urge everyone not to get caught up in the social media hype and mass emails that attempt to distort the truth or manipulate the true intent of much of the legislation we consider. I will do my best to keep you updated on bills that I feel affect the Citizens of House District 78. I appreciate the opportunity to serve you!