Area legislators discuss the current session over breakfast

William B. Carroll

Local Mississippi legislators stopped by West Point City Hall Saturday morning as part of the West Point Clay County Growth Alliance’s Issues and Eggs Legislative Breakfast.
State Representatives Tyrone Ellis-D District 38, Gary Chism-R District 37 and Karl Gibbs-D District 36 spoke to gathered constituents along with State Senator Angela Turner-D District 16. The assembled legislators spoke on a number of issues currently facing the state and took questions from the audience.
Ellis, who represents Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties, started off the morning by giving a brief overview of the Mississippi House of Representative’s work during this year’s term. Afterwards, several citizens asked questions of Ellis. West Point Clay County Consolidated School District Board of Education member Elizabeth Bailey asked Ellis about his votes on two bills relating to education, specifically, Bailey asked Ellis why he voted yes on HB 29, which requires school districts to submit reports filed with the state Department of Education to the joint legislative committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER). Bailey suggested that the bill creates another level of bureaucracy that local districts do not need.
Ellis said that he was originally against the bill because he felt that final decisions on educational issues should rest with the local taxing authorities that fund the districts, but he felt that the law would get the attention of local districts, and that the bill would call for more accountability for local school district. Ellis said the issue more of a statewide issue, than a merely local issue.
You can check out more of this story in Sunday's Daily Times Leader.