by REP. JOEL BOMGAR
Special to Ridgeland Review
I’ve had the honor of representing Ridgeland and Madison in the state legislature for two years now. In that time, we have passed some significant legislation that is already positively impacting our state and our community. Here’s a short synopsis of some important bills that were adopted in 2017.
Campaign Finance Reform: This bill establishes meaningful restrictions on how political candidates may use campaign contributions, and promotes greater transparency in our political process. Specifically, it will prohibit candidates from using campaign contributions for personal expenses and expands the authority of the Mississippi Ethics Commission to enforce the new rules.
Education: While the legislature made no changes to the MAEP funding formula this year, we did adopt several pieces of legislation aimed at improving our schools, including; an Anti-Bullying law, administrative consolidations in two rural school systems, “District transformation” provisions to help failing districts, and an expansion of the dyslexia scholarship program.
Job Growth: We took several steps this year to spur job growth by reducing burdensome regulations. One provision allows craft breweries to sell their own products on-site, expanding services for these job creators in the metro area. We also passed a measure to reduce occupational licensing burdens by establishing a review process for new regulations. This will help free up individuals and entrepreneurs looking to start new businesses in our area.
Criminal Justice Reform: The legislature continues its work to improve our criminal justice system by protecting individuals. The Rivers McGraw Act is a positive reform that addresses the issue of addiction in our state. It establishes a system of mental health courts to help get treatment for people impacted by mental illness, and ensures that individuals under 21 who are arrested are notified of their right to contact a parent. This will provide better outcomes for thousands by decreasing our reliance on the criminal justice system to address a public health issue.
Another new law helps keep families intact by providing additional protections to children and their parents in youth court proceedings.
I want to be transparent and accessible as your representative! That’s why I post every single vote that I take at JoelBomgar.com. You can also sign up there for weekly email updates during the legislative session. If you ever have any questions, concerns, or requests, you can call my cell phone at (601) 207-0813 or email me at Joel@JoelBomgar.com. It’s an honor and a privilege to represent our community!
(Joel Bomgar is the State Representative for District 58, serving parts of Madison and Ridgeland in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He is the founder of Bomgar Corporation.)