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Legislative Update: Week Twelve

PERS update

Last week, I held a hearing in the Government Structure committee on a bill from the House that Lt. Governor Hosemann assigned to the committee related to the state's public employee retirement system, PERS. The system is massive and complex, holding billions of dollars and providing retirement benefits to tens of thousands of Mississippians.

When Mississippians sign up to work for the state or local government, they also enter the PERS system and start working towards vesting in and eventually drawing from the system. With such a massive system that so many in our state are reliant on, it's vital that the Legislature does its due diligence to ensure the long-term solvency of the fund.

In this hearing, we heard from Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker and three PERS board members. I'm thankful for the testimonies shared and for the men and women who took the time to educate the committee on their viewpoints.

I am committed to protecting the benefits of former and current state and local employees while ensuring that PERS remains fiscally sound. The hearing was a great opportunity for Senators and any others watching to learn more about the soundness of the state's retirement plan as well as challenges the plan and the state of Mississippi could face moving forward. You can watch the full hearing HERE.

If you have any questions or thoughts about the process or system, you can always share them with me at

Work in the Senate

Much of the work in the Senate returned to committees last week as we begin to consider legislation sent to us by the House. We have until April 2 to pass any bills out of committee that originated in the House.

The Senate also took up appropriations bills on the floor, passing them over to the House. The appropriation process consists of allocating all dollars to different state agencies and entities, and is one of the longest processes the Legislature undertakes in the session. Because government must be funded and the House and Senate must agree on all final numbers, the process is typically the last to be completed each year.

We face a deadline of March 27 to pass all appropriation and revenue bills. Because we've already passed appropriation bills, the focus is turned to legislation dealing with bonds or taxes. As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance committee, through which all revenue bills flow, I am heavily involved in this process.

Also passed on the Senate floor were a series of resolutions and proclamations highlighting the victories of several of Mississippi's high school sports teams.

I want to hear from you!

The session is in full swing, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on ongoing legislative discussion! For general thoughts or questions, you can email my senate email: For anything involving the new Government Structure committee, you can email

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