Floor Debate Continues Through February 8, With Key Bills Moving Forward

Last week, the House passed a big committee deadline, and we spent much of the week on the floor debating bills that made it out of committee. We went from thousands of bills, to a few hundred that remain alive. As we convene this week, we will continue floor debate.  We have until Thursday, February 8, to vote on those bills remaining on the General Calendar. Last week, we considered over a hundred bills that dealt with a variety of issues.  Here are some of the bills we passed last week:

HB1177, the MS False Claims Act, would set up a whistleblower law similar to a federal law on the books since the Civil War. The bill is aimed at saving taxpayer dollars by rooting out fraud and abuse in government agencies. HB1175 and HB858 continue our effort to reduce regulations and red tape.  HB1175 requires occupational licensing boards to review their existing rules and submit a summary to the new Occupational Licensing Review Commission every three years. This will require agencies to justify the regulations on their books on a regular basis. HB858 would shorten the time in which agencies can issue “temporary” regulations instead of permanent regulations that require public feedback. I worked on all three bills as author, or co-author.

HB419 would build on a pilot program for mental health courts, patterned after our successful drug court diversion program. HB419 would allow mental health courts to be established statewide. In another bill aimed at helping those who have paid their debt to society, a tax credit would be offered to taxpayers who employ persons convicted of certain non-violent crimes by HB 175.

HB709 would create the Prescription Drugs Consumer Affordable Alternative Payment Options Act. This would allow pharmacists to provide additional information to patients detailing options for more affordable medication.

The House also passed HB1510, which would prohibit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. I supported this bill because, as someone who is strongly pro-life, I believe it is important to protect both the lives of both unborn children and their mothers.

This week, the House will continue to meet as a whole to vote on bills that will be sent to the Senate for consideration. Visitors to the Capitol are welcome to come watch the proceedings from the gallery. For more information on these and other bills, please visit www.corywilson.ms, or www.legislature.ms.gov.

Session Update: HB722 Would Increase Funding for Local Roads, Bridges by $108 Million

The House of Representatives has passed a significant measure to direct additional revenue to counties and municipalities and improve the state’s infrastructure.  House Bill 722 would ensure that 35 percent of the use tax collected by the Department of Revenue would be distributed for the repair, maintenance and reconstruction of roads, streets and bridges. I joined the bill as a cosponsor because it is important for local government to have additional resources to maintain local roads and bridges. HB722 also meets one of the Madison County Business League & Foundation’s top priorities: increasing the funds received by local communities based on sales originating there. The bill was passed by the House earlier in the Session, and this week was transmitted to the Senate.

Overall, this bill would mean that approximately $108 million would be returned to our local communities, and dedicated to improving the state’s infrastructure. The bill passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 118-0, and now awaits Senate consideration.

For the full article, visit the Madison County Business League & Foundation’s website.

HB957 Improves Ed Funding Formula, Commits to $100 Million in More Ed Funding

On January 17, the House passed HB957, a new school funding formula for Mississippi public schools. I voted for the new formula. For me, “the way we have always done it,” and “throwing more money at the problem,” are not answers. The bill is a substantive improvement over the convoluted and outdated MAEP. HB957 targets funding in a more equitable and straightforward way.

For the first two years, school districts would be funded based on 2018 appropriations, with some districts seeing no funding changes and some, like Madison County School District, seeing immediate funding increases as enrollment numbers grow. This lead time would allow districts time to study the formula and its reporting methods. The new formula would then be phased in over five years, gradually increasing the overall investment in education by over $100 million.

The new formula is student-centered, focused on accountability and results:
• Base funding amount per student is $4800, wherever they live.
• Includes enhanced funding for low-income children, rural districts, and English language learners (for the first time).
• Creates enhanced tiers for special education funding based on student need.
• Includes higher funding for high school students.
• Calculates school funding based on “average daily membership” (i.e., enrollment, not attendance on a particular day), a better measure of the number of kids in a district.

HB957 includes significant transparency, and a process to roll back bureaucracy and regulations to allow our schools more flexibility and innovation. The bill expressly gives local control to districts as to how they spend your education tax dollars. And, it standardizes reporting and accounting, so you will be able to see and compare how districts spend tax dollars.

The status quo, the “way we’ve done it,” has left us near the bottom in education. Tonight, the MS House voted to change that, for the better. You can review these changes, which are contained in the first 38 pages of HB957, by following this link.

Statement on Third Congressional District

“After Congressman Harper announced that he would not seek re-election to Congress, I had been encouraged to consider running for the seat. While a part of me would like to return to Washington to help ‘Make America Great Again,’ and to help ‘drain the swamp’ – two things that need to be done – this is not the right time for my family or for me to run for Congress. That time may come in the future, but for now I am working hard to honor the commitment I made to voters in Madison County to serve them well in the Mississippi House.”

Northside Sun: Education and Medicaid at top of Cory Wilson’s 2018 legislative agenda

HOUSE DISTRICT 73 Rep. Cory Wilson has big plans in store for the 2018 legislative session.

Among Wilson’s top priorities are education funding, student testing, a more effective legislature and more efficient Medicaid.

Last year, Wilson was successful in passing the ABLE Act, campaign finance reform, and more government transparency and efficiency.

“I was so pleased to see (the ABLE Act) signed by the governor,” Wilson said. “Once that program is set up in Mississippi, it will provide Mississippians with disabilities and their families a real way to save more of their own money and lead better lives. . . .”

Campaign finance reform was another accomplishment that Wilson worked on during the 2017 legislative session.

“The elections process will be more accountable, and campaign funds will be used only on campaigns and expenditures related to holding office. A lot of what we did was fairly common sense.” . . .

ONE OF WILSON’S big topics for the 2018 legislative session is the education funding formula.

“It was a priority last year, and we started looking at it. A lot of the recommendations are pretty solid. It’s time we updated the MAEP. It’s out of date.”

Click here for the whole article from the Northside Sun.

Madison County Schools Receive MCBL&F 2017 Vision Award

The Madison County School District was honored by the Madison County Business League & Foundation earlier today with the 2017 Vision Award.  Congrats on a very deserved recognition for our educators!

Video credit: Amile Wilson, Hapax Creative

For more on the Madison Count Business League & Foundation’s Vision Celebration luncheon, click here.

Recap of 2017 Legislative Sessions

The Mississippi Legislature passed a number of new laws passed this Session.  Many of the new laws take effect this weekend, on July 1.  For a summary of key bills debated and passed during the Regular 2017 Session, as well as the June Special Session, please click the link below:

2017 Updated Session Summary Including Special Session

Cory worked on some key bills, including legislation that will:

  • Reform our Campaign Finance laws;
  • Roll back government regulations;
  • Increase transparency;
  • Give Mississippians with disabilities savings tools to “Achieve a Better Life Experience” (MS ABLE); and
  • Support Law Enforcement

To see legislation that Cory has authored, you can visit this website’s Legislation page.

Wilson leads on passage of MS ABLE Act, Regulatory Oversight Commission Bills

Representative Cory Wilson was on hand earlier this week to watch Governor Bryant sign both the #MSABLE Act and HB1425, the occupational licensing regulatory reform bill, into law. Both were big priorities this Session. Wilson served as lead House author on both bills.

Mississippi’s ABLE Act, which will give disabled Mississippians a tool to save and use more of their own money, is the result of two years of work by a bipartisan group of legislators, advocates, and parents of special needs kids.

HB1425 provides a first-in-the-nation framework to protect licensing boards that protect the public, while setting state policy to favor economic liberty and less regulation. Passage of HB1425 will provide oversight of new regulations and provide a framework to lessen the burdens of government on Mississippi’s economy.