I was recently struggling to describe the sheer insanity of a Mississippi legislative session, so I called a prominent lawmaker who served in 36 of them to ask his opinion.
“I’ll tell it to you like this,” said Steve Holland, former state representative from Plantersville. “In 1983, I was way out in the country in Lee County campaigning for my first term in the House. I drove up to this old guy’s house. He had his overalls on, riding around on his Ford tractor plowing his garden.
“I told him I was running for the Legislature and that I’d like his vote. He stopped and looked at me and said, ‘Why on earth would you want to do that? You’re crazy. The Legislature is the only institution I know of that’s run by the inmates themselves.’ And by God, after doing it for 36 years, I’d say that was the damndest true statement I ever heard.”
It appears this year’s legislative session will be among the crazier in recent memory. Billions in surplus revenue await appropriation. Redistricting looms for congressional and legislative seats. A medical marijuana program and ballot initiative process are likely to be debated.
Then there are some optional items that appear to have strong political appetite like eliminating the personal income tax, raising teacher pay substantially and expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And because, of course, it’s Mississippi, expect nasty fights over red meat issues like critical race theory.
To devote special attention to this potentially historic legislative session, we’re launching a weekly newsletter and a special section.
Our free newsletter, which you can sign up for just above this sentence, will be much more than just a recap of each week’s coverage. We’ll break some news here, and we’ll give you the inside track on what to expect at the Capitol each week.
As a subscriber of the newsletter, you’ll have an exclusive first look at our weekly analyses about what’s happening behind closed doors in the building. You’ll get them a few hours earlier than anyone else.
The first newsletter of the session will publish Jan. 4, the first day of the 2022 legislative session. I wrote about the current relationship between the state’s top leaders who will be responsible for turning policy ideas into law: Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann.
We have also created a 2022 Legislative Guide, which we will launch on Jan. 4, as well. There, you’ll find the basics like how a bill becomes law, key legislative deadlines and how to find and contact your lawmakers. It will also house our comprehensive coverage of the 2022 legislative session.
Thanks, as always, for reading. We really appreciate your support!