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Bill aims to free up time for lawmakers

Inside the state capitol building in Jackson (Photo by SuperTalk Mississippi News)

You may wonder how lawmakers are able to get to every bill in just a 90-day legislative session in Jackson. One representative is asking the same question, and is trying to make a change.

Representative Hank Zuber has authored a bill that would free up a lot of time for lawmakers by only voting on general legislation bills every other year. While some states such as Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas meet every other year, Mississippi legislators would still meet every year, but only to vote on appropriations bills (These are the bills that decide where all of the money goes). In addition to appropriation bills, lawmakers would also be able to decide on bond issues and bills that require a 3/5 vote.

With thousands of bills to get to, Zuber’s bill would allow for more time to debate the key issues such as education, infrastructure, healthcare and more.

“It will allow us to focus more on the appropriation process, to focus more on the agencies and how they are spending the apparition money,” Zuber said. “We handle 3,600-3,800 hundred bills and the vast majority of those would be included in this legislation. There is a lot of time, in my opinion, that is spent on nominal and minute issues.”

Zuber mentioned that general legislation bills could still be discussed in committees each year. He says that delaying the votes on these bills would not only free up time, but it would also allow for more time to gather information and debate the bills.

“It will preclude knee-jerk reactions to national movements and allow us to evaluate how similar legislation has done in other states. It will also allow us to have more time to have debates, Q&As and research important talking points,” Zuber said.

While the bill is in its early stages right now, Zuber feels confident in the support he has received so far.

“I’m getting a lot of positive feedback from my colleagues both in the house and in the Senate,” Zuber said.

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