Representatives have worked hard this week to finish the budget and bills. Starting on June 22nd with a full calendar of bills and working all week and the weekend, has slimmed the number down. Appropriation bills have been the priority. These bills fund the different Departments and Agencies of government. Most of these have received cut of 1.5 to 6.0 percent. Because of the COVID19, the revenues have been lower than anticipate. This has brought us to the point where we just couldn’t sustain even level funding. Had we not been conservative in the previous years, these cuts would be much deeper. Adding to the burden of the budget concerns, we have COVID19 funds to disperse to help our business, schools, hospitals, broadband, small businesses technology, MEMA, local governments and others. From Monday the 22nd until Sunday the 28th, we have worked on at least 15 COVID19 bills. HB1782 – This appropriation to help fund the State Department of Health, State Department of Mental Health and Institutions of Higher Learning for expenses incurred during the pandemic. HB1783 – The bill created liability relief for individuals, businesses, local governments, for-profit and nonprofit entities, religious and charitable organizations and others while the virus causes problems. HB1784 – This was used to transfer $250,000,000 to the Mississippi Unemployment Compensation Fund, which has been depleted paying unemployment benefits. HB1785 – This act locks the experience rate for employers and employees for MDES taxes. Two bills caused quite a bit of emotions last week; HCR79 and HB1796. HCR79 authorized the suspension of the rules of the House and the Senate to bring up HB1796. HB1796 was to decommission the 1894 Mississippi State flag. It, also, approved the establishment of a commission to bring forth a new design for a state flag by September 14, 2020. It must not include the Confederate Battle Flag and must include “In God We Trust”. It will be placed on the November 3rd ballot. If the majority of the votes cast are for the new design, then it will be the new Mississippi State Flag. If the vote fails to ratify the new design, the commission will bring another new design for a vote in the general election in 2021. During my reelection campaign of 2019, I was asked by many of my constituents to leave the vote for the flag in the hands of Mississippi voters. On June 27, 2020, I voted “Nay” on HCR79 and on June 28, 2020, I voted “Nay” on HB 1796 to fulfill my promise to those who had elected me. History may assume me to have voted for a racist purpose, of which my colleagues, family, friends and constituents will not bare out. Breaking my promise would have marked me as a known liar and untrustworthy to all. My biggest fear is that with a referendum petition, we could be in a flag vote in less than two years.
If you wish to contact me, my cell is 662-231-0133 or personal email is email@example.com. God bless, Randy.