Senator Walter Michel and I would like to thank Madison County for allowing us the opportunity to serve you in the Legislature.
Your delegation was able to secure $15 million through appropriations during the 2022 Legislative Session:
$6 Million for Holmes CC Ridgeland Campus Applied Sciences Building
$2.5 Million for Bozeman Road
$2.5 Million for The City of Ridgeland's Commerce Park Connector Road
$1 Million for The City of Madison's Performing Arts Center
$1 Million for The City of Gluckstadt's Police Department
$1 Million for The City of Flora's water and sewer infrastructure
$1 Million for Magnolia Speech School
At the start of this session, I had no idea how much we would accomplish. But, boy did we blow it up this year! And two of my favorite Bills became law. The first was:
Anybody been reading Auditor Shad White's “brain drain” reports?
In his latest report, he shares:
"Since 2010, we have lost over 60,000 “millennials” – nearly 10% of the state’s population".
He states that "Failure to maintain and replenish our states most highly educated could be disastrous for the economic future of Mississippi. We have invested over $1.5 billion from our general fund into our public university attendees from 2015-2018, but half of those students did not hold a job in the state by 2020."
I agree with Shad … This is alarming!
His report also shows: “two-thirds” (67%) of public university graduates work in just 10 counties in the state, with over half of those jobs being in Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties". Which makes perfect sense why my district grew 55%. Those who are staying, are staying here!
Mississippi doesn’t have a Nashville, Dallas, or Atlanta so we must continue to place emphasis on public safety, education, and quality of life to compete for our young people. Thankfully, we have started the conversation at the Capitol on how the State can more effectively fight against “brain drain” to retain talent and population.
Interesting statistic I learned recently:
71% of Mississippi High School Seniors go to college; however, only 31% actually graduate from college within 6 years.
So what is happening to the 40% that drop out of college + the 29% that did not even go to college to begin with? They are floundering for their future!
In my mind, this is the group our state needs to focus our resources toward.
Many of you may remember I road the “Work Force Development” train during my campaign straight to the Capitol. Well, finally, after three years of working with Chairman Bell on the WFD Committee, I am thankful to say that HB1388, the “Comprehensive Career and Technical Education Reform Act”, along with a couple others are now law and offer the following:
It will remove barriers for expert citizens to receive licensure to teach career and technical courses in K-12 institutions;
$8 Million will go towards private sector career coaches in K-12 and will align the students with employer’s needs
$32 million will be allocated for direct training and expenses related to healthcare, emerging sectors, logistics/supply chain, and special populations, such as military, currently and formerly incarcerated, single parents, and wrap-around services; and
$20 million for training infrastructure at accredited osteopathic medical schools.
After watching both my sons choose plumbing as their career, I am convinced that we can solve part of this brain drain problem by promoting trades. But it will take more than legislative actions. We as parents must replace the stigma of “dirty jobs” with “worthy jobs” and encourage our kids to pursue what our communities need.
Just recently, American Plumber Stories interviewed me and my sons about their career choice and the hard time this mama had accepting the stigma attached to that trade.
Click on this link to watch the full episode.
The tidal wave of illicit narcotics entering the United States through Biden’s open border policy are unfortunately being trafficked right here in Mississippi. I am tired of being told that another child has died of a laced and lethal drug overdose. Thankfully, the State of Mississippi will now hold fentanyl dealers accountable. I know this will not bring back those we've lost, but am hopeful it will save lives by making aware that #OnePillCanKill.
Please be aware that on May 10, we are raising public awareness about the growing fentanyl public health crisis. People are dying at alarming rates due to illegally made fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid. Get the facts and share them widely. Click here for shareable info.
HB607 reads: "A person who delivers or causes the delivery of fentanyl with knowledge of the fentanyl commits the crime of "fentanyl delivery resulting in death" when as a result of the unlawful delivery of fentanyl in exchange for anything of value to another person, death to a person results from the proximate cause of injection, oral ingestion or inhalation of the fentanyl. Upon conviction for violating the provisions of this section, the person shall be sentenced to imprisonment no less than twenty (20) years to a term of life in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections."
Governor Tate Reeves, Charles Elliott, myself, and Cordie Rodenbaugh (Parker's Mom) at the Capitol for the Bill Signing on April 19, 2022. Cordie is showing Governor Reeves just a few of the lives that have been stolen from laced drugs.
Of course, there were many other Bills I voted for during the 2022 Session, including the well-deserved teacher pay raise and the meaningful start to the elimination of the state income tax. It is my highest honor to serve you, Madison County. I will continue to fight for each one of you in the sessions to come. Please do not hesitate to contact me on my cell @ (601) 624-6911, if I can assist you in any way.
Sincerely yours, Jill