Session outlook: Lawmakers focus on water and sewage, law and education issues in 2022 legislative session


The top priorities for District 73 Representative Jill Ford will continue to be protecting law enforcement and education in public schools – priorities that were in the bills she introduced in the session. legislative process of last year and which will also be found in its main bills this year in 2022.

In the 2021 session, Ford is proud to have been able to secure $ 2 million in tax credits and a $ 300,000 increase in the overall budget for Magnolia Speech School, which is building a new building in Madison after many years. to Jackson. Also in the field of education, she is very excited about C-Spire, which is located in her district, which is contributing $ 1 million to provide a K-12 computer science curriculum.

“I’m very proud of them and, because they’re in my district, I want to make sure I give them a shout out,” Ford said.

One thing that was a top priority for many Madison County residents that Ford was able to secure was a bill that would ban the opening of a third landfill in a Mississippi county without an electoral process.

“It was huge,” said Ford. “This is something I couldn’t do just for Madison County. I was able to protect the entire state by ensuring that no third landfill can ever open without an election. The governor came to Ridgeland in the new town hall and signed the bill there. There was so much energy in the room that day. It was really a big deal that I succeeded.

Other bills Ford considered a priority for passage last year, even though his name was not listed as author on each of them, were House Bill 1139 which eliminates prepayment sales tax in June for businesses with liabilities of at least $ 50,000, such as car dealerships; the Fairness Act, which ensures that young women will not compete alongside biological men in state sports; and Christian’s Law, which will require medical examiners to release the autopsy report to family members only and ensure that no parent sees their child’s autopsy photos for the first time on Facebook. Additionally, after six years of inactivity, it has become a law that revenge pornography is illegal, meaning that no one can exhibit anyone’s intimate visual material other than yourself.

Ford and the rest of Madison’s delegation were able to get over $ 11 million through bonds and credits in the previous session, including $ 5 million for Bozeman Road from $ 463.2 million for Ridgeland Connector Road, $ 750,000 for the intersection at 463 and Stribling, $ 750,000 for a new fire truck for the Madison Super Site, $ 700,000 to the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District to assist with dredging, $ 500,000 for the Madison road through the new “City Center” and $ 100,000 for the maintenance of the Ridgeland Craft Center.

“Myself and Walter have been able to get Madison County over the past two years almost $ 20 million,” Ford said. “It’s amazing. Madison County is one of the fastest growing districts in the state of Mississippi, so we pay more taxes to the state, so, really, we have to get that back. money – for roads and bridges.

One bill Ford was unable to pass in the last session and which he will represent in 2022 is JT Williamson’s Hands Free Bill. Williamson was a radio host on SuperTalk for about 20 years, and Ford ran the LifeGroup class he and his wife attended on Sunday mornings. Just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Williamson was diagnosed with cancer. He has spent his last two years on the radio advocating for a texting and driving bill that “has teeth.” The current bill justifies a fine of $ 100 if you are caught texting and driving. The bill will increase the fine to $ 500. Wiliamson passed away this summer and Ford named Bill in his honor because of his passion for Bill.

“I remember he said that the right person’s child would have to die before everyone got serious,” Ford said. “I kept thinking I didn’t want it to be mine. I’ll get serious, JT. I tried to get him adopted while he was still alive, but I couldn’t. Hopefully this year we can put some teeth into this bill. ”

Ford has three bills that are his top priority to pass this next legislative session. The first one that she said she was probably the most enthusiastic about and should be “obvious” about is the Seizure Safe Schools Act. She said that since one in ten people will have a seizure at some point in their life, it is essential that people, especially educators, know how to recognize and respond to different types of seizures.

“Ultimately, the bill I will introduce in the next session is aimed at saving lives for those who may experience life-threatening and / or protracted school-based crises, particularly due to newer rescue drugs. now available, ”said Ford. “The legislation has now been passed in 12 states, within two to three years, and I am delighted and hope we will make it a reality for Mississippi students.”

The second bill Ford will introduce and which it says is long overdue in Mississippi holds drug traffickers accountable.

“A tidal wave of illicit narcotics is entering the United States thanks to Biden’s open border policy,” Ford said. “Unfortunately, we find they are being trafficked right here in Mississippi. I’m sick of being told that another child has died from a fatal drug overdose. My bill proposes to detain for manslaughter anyone eighteen years of age or over who illegally sells, trades, transfers, manufactures, distributes or dispenses any substance or mixture of substances causing the death of another person.

The bill she is most proud to introduce to the law is the Law Enforcement Supplementary Compensation Program, which provides that full-time certified law enforcement officers who have completed five years or more service workers receive an additional allowance in the amount of $ 2,000 per year.

“It is time for those who dedicate their lives to law enforcement to be recognized and valued by our state,” said Ford.

While these are her top three priorities ahead of the session, Ford said Mississippians can expect to see more that she will come up with as well and that she is still working on.


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