Recap of 2022 legislative session
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s official: the 2022 legislative session is over. Both the House and Senate wrapped up their work Tuesday evening.
The legislature squeezed more than the norm into this session, adding in things like redistricting that only happens every decade and the more than a billion dollars in federal funding that came into the state.
“When we entered this session, we knew there was going to be a lot of weighty issues,” said Speaker Philip Gunn. “I don’t know of another session we’ve ever had where we had as many weighty issues to deal with as we did with this session.”
Tax cuts and teacher pay raises were the centerpieces of this session if you ask Speaker Gunn. Senators suggested the delay in budgeting was because of the back and forth on the tax cut debate. Gunn admits it was his priority.
“We’ve been very clear that we felt like that was the number one financial goal is to help our citizens,” noted Gunn. “I’ve been very clear that we did not need to spend more taxpayer money until we give taxpayers some relief.”
So, was there anything left undone?
“The only thing that comes to mind, regarding things that didn’t happen, was the initiative process,” added Gunn. “We in the House passed a plan to reinstate the initiative process, which allows us citizens to, as you know, gather petitions and put items before the public for a vote. That effort died in the Senate. And that was the only thing that did not get accomplished, I guess.”
Gunn and House members said the Senate wanted to increase the number of signatures needed to get a measure on the ballot and they felt as though it was too high a threshold.
We reached out to those who were stopped in their tracks on collecting signatures for ballot initiatives when the Supreme Court struck the process down and asked for their reaction to the legislature’s inaction.
“I my opinion, it leaves Mississippi in a bad place,” said founder of Let Mississippi Vote, Dan Carr. “The citizens of Mississippi, we have no voice.”
Now they know they’ll be stuck in limbo even longer.
“You’ve got to remember, once both chambers come to an agreement and they pass it, we the people still have to vote on it,” Carr explained. “And so even if they did get something passed this session, we will still have to vote on November. So, if we wait until next session, then it’s going to be 2023 November before we vote. So, that people will have a voice, the earliest is 2024.”
For more end of session reactions, click HERE.
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