Paul Hampton

And we’re still a long way from April Fool’s Day

A lone observer sits in the north gallery of the House chambers at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Friday morning, Feb. 26, 2016. The House had an extraordinarily contentious Thursday, and it was unclear how much they would accomplish Friday as they were in recess much of the morning.
A lone observer sits in the north gallery of the House chambers at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss., Friday morning, Feb. 26, 2016. The House had an extraordinarily contentious Thursday, and it was unclear how much they would accomplish Friday as they were in recess much of the morning. AP

Anyone who says they know what will happen in Jackson in the next three months should report for a drug test.

There are all sorts of possibilities, some probabilities, a little reason for optimism and one certainty — at some point, eyes will roll.

There are some early contenders for the most eye-rolling legislation of the year.

Republican Rep. Doug McLeod in December said he wanted to make the state’s universities get out of the NCAA. I only mention this because:

A. It once was the dumbest idea I’d heard.

B. Doug says it raised his standing with his constituents when the Sun Herald said it was a dumb idea.

 

I like Doug. I plan to help him as much as I can.

And I say it once was the dumbest idea because a Democrat has come to his rescue.

Rep. Tom Miles of Forrest says on Facebook he’s pre-filed the Merry Christmas Law.

Yes. Merry Christmas, Doug. You’ll just have to try harder next year.

 

End of the year Wrap up... Talking about New Year and 2017 Mississippi Legislative Session... What do you want to see?

Posted by Tom Miles on Thursday, December 29, 2016

I’m sure Miles has some good ideas, but the one he has chosen to highlight on social media is a bill to “allow school districts to display scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations, on school property, including a Christmas image such as a Christmas tree or nativity scene.” Or a Festivus pole. Or a Yule Log.

You know, ’cause there’s a war on Christmas.

I like Christmas. I have my legendary Christmas display on my desk right now. Yes, I’m one of those people who leaves Christmas stuff up until after New Year’s.

But the state has a staggering poverty rate, an underfunded education system, high unemployment, dangerous bridges and roads that are cracking up. A creche in every schoolyard is not going to change that.

It’s not that Miles doesn’t care about education. He has a plan — to require schools to teach cursive writing.

He also says we have a teacher shortage. I’m sure having insurance agents and lawyers telling teachers how and what to teach has nothing to do with that.

Here’s a suggestion. Give the teachers a decent salary and enough money for their classrooms so they don’t have to beg for supplies.

And if they decide cursive is important, they can teach it.

Miles and McLeod certainly won’t be the only lawmakers filing frivolous and pandering legislation this year. And I promise to snort just as loudly when others do.

This is going to be a tough year for those lawmakers who’d rather work hard than pander. It’s looking like they are not going to have as much money as they thought they would. November revenue missed the mark by nearly 9 percent and the flow of money is 2.5 percent behind where lawmakers thought it would be for the first five months of the fiscal year that began July 1.

The state chamber of commerce wants more money to go to fixing up the roads and bridges. There could be a major overhaul of the education system offered up by the ruling party, the Republicans. There are hundreds of millions of dollars in BP economic damages money at stake.

The budgets offered by the Legislative Budget Committee likely would result in job cuts.

But at least we can rest assured we’ll have a Christmas in 2017 — if we can make it until the end of the legislative session, which can’t go past April 2.

Oh, it could end April 1. Wouldn’t that be special.

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton

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