Mississippi lawmakers head back to the Capitol for the 20-15 legislative session at noon today. Several hot issues are already coming to the fore.
This legislative session is the final session before another lawmakers face election this fall.
Senator Giles Ward of Lousiville, who is likely to be the number two Republican in the Senate, says state spending, especially education funding, will once again be a top priority.
"Disperse that money among the different agencies. including education. No doubt that education will be the largest single appropriation that we make. And largest by a long shot. But we do have other important functions of government we have to look at as well," ward said.
Ward also says discussion of Common Core Education Standards, Medicaid expansion, and potentially some form of tax cut will also be topics of debate.
Democratic Minority Leader Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto says the single most important issue will be reforming state contracting procedures in the wake of the corruption allegations facing the former corrections commissioner Chris Epps.
"Whether those charges are all found to be true or not. Isn't it enough of an issue for the legislature to look at the way the conduct state government with these sole source contracts," Moak said.
Moak says Democrats will push hard for increased spending on education and Medicaid expansion as they eye a potential return to the majority in November.