Democratic state senator David Blount is commenting on the tension and lack of cooperation during this year's legislative session. He spoke to the Stennis Capitol Press Forum in Jackson. MPB's Mark Rigsby was there.
“It was a difficult session, I think from the beginning. Tensions were high,” says Blount.
Senator Blount didn’t hold back when giving his opinion of how lawmakers did this session. On everything from the religious freedom bill to the state budget.
“Part of the reason the budget is in bad shape there’s more than $350 million in tax cuts that were passed in the past four years,” says Blount.
The Democrat representing Hinds County says important issues, like funding repairs to roads and bridges, remain unresolved. And the only way to solve them is by Democrats and Republicans working together.
“We have virtually no open conference committees. We have very little debate in committees. We’ve got to believe an open legislative process is ultimately going to produce a better product,” says Blount.
“It’s probably one of the hardest legislative sessions I’ve ever been a part of.” Republican state representative Andy Gipson agrees. It was a difficult session, but says significant, conservative legislation was passed. We spoke to him just moments after the session ended.
“So while it was hard, it was worthwhile. Anything worth doing is going to be difficult. I’m glad we got it done this session,” says Gipson.
Gipson was scheduled to attend the press forum, but was unable to make it.