Letters to the Editor

HB 1523 could cost millions in federal aid

Although now retired, I served as executive director of a state agency for 12 years, and from my experience, House Bill 1523 could cost the state millions of dollars in federal aid.

Each year, agencies receiving federal funding must sign a Certification and Assurance to receive federal aid. I received a copy of one of these documents from a senior program officer who handles state grants.

The state agencies must formally attest that they will abide by "the requirements of any ... nondiscrimination statutes which may apply."

If the state agency fails to abide by the nondiscrimination clause -- which any state agency cannot attest to under the provisions of HB 1523 -- that agency or agencies would not be eligible for many millions in federal aid helping to serve thousands of Mississippians.

All it takes is a challenge from someone like me or from a citizens-rights organization to start a federal review of the funding received by the state.

Are we really ready to forgo hundreds of public programs in order to feel self-righteous?

DAVID WOODBURN

Bay St. Louis

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