Senate approves bill to increase safety for MDOT workersBy TERRY C. BURTON,
This week we cleared for transfer to the House, Senate Bill 2555 that would allow the Department of Transportation to call on for assistance and reimburse police agencies across the state to assist with traffic enforcement in dangerous areas and especially in work zones, where multiple deaths and injuries have occurred across the years.
When problem areas are detected, MDOT will contact the police agency with jurisdiction, ask their assistance in problem areas and will reimburse the agencies for the officer’s time and mileage. Officers will primarily sit in problem areas with blue lights flashing as a deterrent to traffic violators. However, they will cite drivers for reckless driving and speeding if needed.
We also passed appropriation bills for many agencies from a conservative $6.002 billion projected budget that seeks to levelly fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program at $2.2 billion for fiscal year 2019 – the same as FY 2018. The budget is composed based on revenue estimates. The state has $316 million in reserves.
Some agency budget trimming occurred as money for positions that have remained vacant for more than six month was backed out of budgets if directors did not immediately need them filled.
The Department of Public Safety’s funding will see the completion of the current Highway Patrol training class of 57 recruits, whose salaries will start at $40,000.
We anticipate completion of our appropriation process next week. Our bills will then go to the House for review.
Terry Burton, R-Newton, represents Senate District 31. Call 601-359-3234 to contact Burton in Jackson.