New year, new laws, new headaches for Mississippi legislature

State Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall
State Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A new year means a new law and many new challenges for the Mississippi legislature.

Voter identification requirements at polls could be a new law for Mississippi if approved by the federal Justice Department. The Secretary of State's office is preparing a packet for the Justice Department explaining the language of the law and how the state proposes to enact it.

State Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, says whether or not it will be approved is still up in the air.

"South Carolina's petition was before the federal Justice Department and was rejected last week," said Fillingane who added South Carolina's rejection probably shows the direction they will take with all the southern states.

Fillingane said the biggest hurdle for the state legislature in 2012 will be funding education. Currently the state is "treading water" in this area, he said.

Fillingane said with Republicans in the House, Senate and Governor's Mansion, charter schools may be added in the state. He cited the success of schools like the Mississippi School of Math and Science and added he believes charter schools catering to specific interests could curb the state's "atrocious" dropout rates.