Legislators weigh in at midpoint of 2014 session

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi Legislature began their home stretch this session.

The legislation has a budget deadline looming this week, but representatives Larry Byrd already knows how he will vote.

"I'm gonna go with the leadership and follow my chairman," said Byrd.

His comment was in regards to the part of the budget that deals with the funding of MAEP and teacher pay raises.

"We've passed it one time 117-0, I plan to vote again just the same way," said Byrd.

For other education measures, Byrd already has seen success this session. House Bill 137, which is now in Senate Committee, will fund twenty Masters degrees in Dyslexia Therapy for students at Mississippi College and William Carey University.

"It pays for the full two year scholarship, which is mostly clinicals and some very intense classroom and then they get out in the schools and do clinicals and provide dyslexia therapy to about 15% of our population that has dyslexia," said Byrd.

On the Senate side, Senator John Polk is working to produce residency programs in rural Mississippi specifically for graduates of William Carey's Medical School.

"to ensure that their residents who will go into the field for the first time this fall are on the same footing with any student coming out of the University Medical Center in Jackson as to their ability to be able to get residencies in different programs," said Polk.

According to Polk, creating this type of residency program is a win-win for Mississippi and the university.

"This will be a real way that maybe we can move some of our great, young physicians into the more rural areas of Mississippi where medical care is so desperately needed," said Polk.

As the legislature waits for a vote on the budget, representative Bobby Shows said he wanted the money to go towards safety on the roads.

"But we're going to have to have some more money for trooper school because they've got to have some more people on the road," said Shows.

The budget as a whole won't come without much discussion according to Shows.

"There's quite a big of difference between the house budget and the senate budget and there's going to be some, you might say, strong negotiations between the two," said Shows.

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