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The Year of the Blueberry | 2023

Updated: Apr 6, 2023



As much as I appreciate the opportunity to fight for appropriations for Madison County, it is not what drives me to love this job. I love this job because I get to work hard to help make dreams become a reality. Which is exactly what happened this session when Mrs. Parenteau's 4th Grade Civics Class of Mannsdale Elementary watched their dream manifest into reality with the passing of the “Project Blueberry Bill” - making history when the blueberry became Mississippi’s state fruit.


Little did I know just how much attention would be upon this little bill. If you google “blueberry Mississippi state fruit” you will get all sorts of hits starting with WLBT’s initial story by Courtney Ann Jackson. Thanks to Courtney Ann, Fox News, CNN, Robin Roberts on Good Morning America were all talking about the amazing job these 4th graders did in lobbying for their bill.










March 13, 2023 Governor Tate Reeves signs Project Blueberry into law with a lot of little eyes watching.

 

Madison County Special Projects


Because leadership at the Capitol realizes how important Madison County is to our State, we were able to secure $22 million through appropriations during the 2023 Legislative Session.


After several years of being on the top of the legislative priorities list for Madison County, I am pleased to be able to share with you that we will receive $12,000,000 in project appropriation monies this year totaling over $30 million to date specific to Bozeman-Reunion. These monies are to assist in paying the costs associated with pre-construction, design, engineering, land acquisition, right-of-way acquisition, construction and development of the Reunion Parkway project from Bozeman Road to Parkway East in Madison County, District 73.


$12 Million for Bozeman-Reunion Road Project

$2.5 Million for The City of Flora's water and sewer infrastructure

$2 Million for City of Madison's St. Augustine Connector Road

$2 Million for City of Ridgeland's Commerce Park Connector Road

$2 Million for Pearl River Valley’s dredging of North Bay

$1 Million for Magnolia Speech School

$750,000 for The City of Gluckstadt’s Police Department

 

Speaker's Commission on Life


When Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer Speaker Gunn established the Speaker’s Commission on Life to meet the needs of women and children with conservative policies. It was an honor to have been chosen by Speaker Gunn to serve on this Commission along with Representatives Angela Cockerham, Kevin Felsher, Lee Yancey, Otis Anthony, Sam Mims, Missy McGee, Cedric Burnett, and Dana McLean. The 9 of us were able to come up with legislation that will truly make a difference in the lives of mothers and children.


HB1671 – Package of tax incentives for private businesses and individuals to donate their resources to faith-based groups and charities to meet these needs without growing government.


· SB2696 – Doubled the tax credit for eligible adoption expenses for Mississippi kids from $5,000 to $10,000.


· HB1318 – Reform our laws regulating Safe Haven Baby Drop Boxes to make them more accessible and reliable so struggling new moms have another option to choose life for their baby.


· HB1149 – Reform our Child Protection Services, making it a separate agency and providing a clear path to permanency so we can do a better, faster job at getting foster kids permanently placed with a loving family.


· HB510 – Establish a Foster Parents Bill of Rights to encourage families to foster and provide love and care to foster kids.



Protecting Youth and Families


· HB1125 – Prohibit medical providers from performing life-changing gender reassignment procedures and medication regimens to minors (under 18) who do not have the maturity to make such irreversible decisions.


· HB1315 – Requires vendors to block obscene and sexually oriented material from online resources in our K-12 schools.


· SB2346 – Requires providers of online resources to implement age verification so adult material can only be accessed by persons over 18. Makes vendors liable for damages if they don’t implement required measures.


SB2079 – Mississippi School Protection Act authorizes school districts to allow armed educators after proper physiological examination and enhanced carry training.



Investing in Education


· $100 million in new money directly into our schools.

· These flexible funds can be spent on classroom needs, textbooks, computers & devices, etc., but cannot be spent on administrative salaries or expenses.


· $20 million additional dollars to the school building loan fund.

· Increased CTE funding, and increased per pupil funding in our nationally recognized early learning collaboratives.



Ensuring Election Integrity


· HB1310 – Increases funding for election integrity measures and strengthens voter roll maintenance.


· SB2358 -- Prevents persons other than the voter or their family members from submitting a mailed ballot.



Fighting Crime and Serving Victims


· HB1020 – Promotes public safety within capital city by extending and simplifying the boundaries of CCID and increasing number of judges and prosecutors in Hinds Co to help eliminate criminal case backlog.


· SB 2343 – Expands Capitol Police Jurisdiction boundaries to Northside Drive.



Workforce Development


· $4 Million increase to the career coach program to meet the high demand from local school districts.


 

A Heartfelt Thank You


Senator Walter Michel and I would like to thank Madison County for allowing us the opportunity to serve you in the Legislature. Neither of us have an opponent this fall which truly makes us feel appreciated by our constituents. A special thank you to my husband, Mike, and Senator Michel's wife, Beth, for always allowing us to work long hours during Session. Being the spouse of a Politician is often times challenging, but both do it so well.


 

Mark your calendars!

Girls' Day @ The Capitol

June 16th | 10:00 a.m.



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