Legislature to deal with many topics
by Courtney Warren
Jan 03, 2014 | 936 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With the new year comes a new legislative term, which will bring many opportunities for Mississippi.

Sen. Willie Simmons says there is much planned for the state, including discussions on healthcare, education and the offender population.

Simmons explained he wants to push for some legislative support to increase funding.

"We want to increase funding so we can address many issues at state and local levels. Highways are becoming a major problem as far as public safety and economic development," he said.

Simmons also mentioned that after putting money into the Great River Road State Park in Rosedale the observation tower would require more money for completion.

"They realized that the structure would cost additional dollars. That is a draw for tourists who want to take a look at the river from an elevated site and that’s a view place in the Delta," he explained.

Simmons said he would like to see something happen with healthcare and in getting government funding and accepting the Affordable Healthcare Act, which could potentially create more jobs.

Another topic of discussion will be bettering education in Mississippi.

"We restored the money for classroom supplies and those kind of things that have been cut in the past. We will look seriously at employees getting a pay raise," said Simmons.

"If there is movement to where charter schools are going to become a reality there will probably be some discussion about funding it but I'm not sure at what level.

"Common Core is an issue that a lot of people are beginning to question in that it's not the thing in which it was sold to be so there will be a focus on improving that and make sure those needs are addressed and correction," he said.

Simmons said he is very interested in discussing and addressing the offender population.

He said he would like to "make sure it doesn't continue to grow and begin to stabilize growth through reforms by putting in more community service programs and getting offenders out who are not seen as a threat."

He also mentioned cycling out offenders who are senior citizens and not a threat to society to reduce medical cost.

Simmons explained he was interested in implementing a, "transitional center for those who have committed a technical violation rather than put them in a system and costing more money."

Those centers would provide a service for the offender’s needs such as anger management or substance abuse.

Simmons said the offender population has grown since he took office.

"In 1993 we had 10,00 now we have 22,000. If we don’t do anything, that number will increase tremendously. We want to put more money in education and health care," he said.

With a new year just beginning there are many ideas on the table to enhance Mississippi and Bolivar County.