Education and Healthcare Top Democratic Legislative Agenda

Education and Healthcare Top Democratic Legislative Agenda
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Sen. Derrick Simmons with Democratic Caucus
Desare Frazier

Education and Healthcare are among the six issues Democrats in the Mississippi legislature say they're taking up during this legislative session. MPB's Desare Frazier explains.

Democrats in the House and Senate say healthcare and education are among the issues at the top of their agenda this year. Democratic Minority Leader Derrick Simmons of Greenville says five rural hospitals have closed and others are at risk. He says they've been pushing bills to expand Medicaid but haven't succeeded. Senator Simmons.

"Legislative Democrats, we have pushed for Medicaid Expansion since 2011. We think it's the right thing to do for Mississippi and we think it's the right thing to do for Mississippians who need access to healthcare," said Simmons.

A House republican candidate for governor is reportedly running on a different version of expanding Medicaid. Governor Phil Bryant says people have talked to him about the issue, but that he remains against expansion. Republican Senator Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula chairs the Senate Medicaid Committee. Does he think Medicaid expansion has a chance of passing the legislature?

"There's not the will and the Medicaid reforms were done last year in the Medicaid Technical Amendments bill," said Wiggins.

Democrats are also looking to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. Other issues they plan to take up include infrastructure and criminal justice reform. The Democratic Caucus says it will hold updates at the capitol to keep voters informed.