Legislators assigned to committees

Published 10:12 am Monday, February 15, 2016

Despite the slow start to the legislative session, Vicksburg and Warren County’s legislators have their committee assignments and each says work is about to begin in earnest.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has appointed State Sen. Briggs Hopson III of Vicksburg, R-District 23, as chairman of the state senate’s energy committee. Hopson was elected to the Mississippi State Senate in 2007.

Hopson is also vice chairman of the appropriations committee and is “serving on every other major committee other than finance,” he said.

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“I’m pleased with the leadership position with which the lieutenant governor entrusted me,” Hopson said. “We have two or three major issues that will come before the energy committee.”

One of those issues is consideration of significant changes to the state statutes governing electric power associations.

“Just about every county in the state of Mississippi has an electric power association,” he said.

Also, the “repealer” on the public service commission is in its last year, Hopson said.

“The repealer means we can either extend the public service commission, or remove it all together. Because of the repealer, if we don’t do anything, the Public Service Commission would cease to exist. A lot of agencies in the state have repealers. It’s an opportunity for us to tweak how they operate, if needed, or to determine if they need to continue to exist,” he said.

Hopson will also serve on the accountability, efficiency and transparency committee; education committee; environmental protection, conservation and water resources committee; division A and B of the judiciary committee; public health and welfare committee; tourism; and universities and colleges committee.

Hopson said work in the legislature would begin to speed up next week.

“What we’re doing right now is not glamorous, but a lot of work is being done. Things are really going to be cranking up. We’ll decide which bills come out of committee. We’re right on the precipice of a lot of action,” he said.

When asked if he is increasing the amount of black and gold in his wardrobe now that his brother, Jay Hopson, has been named head football coach of the University of Southern Mississippi, Hopson, an Ole Miss alum and staunch supporter, said, “I’m very proud of Jay. He’s had a great four years at Alcorn State. I’m happy he has the opportunity to coach at Southern Miss, but it’s bittersweet with leaving Alcorn State University.”

State Rep. Alex Monsour of Vicksburg, R-District 54, agreed with Hopson about the slow start to the legislative session.

“When we got in, we had to address two races that were not complete and we had to wait until those two were seated in order to get our committee assignments,” Monsour said. “Then, we had the special session on jobs, which was critical for our area here. We didn’t want to mess that up.”

Monsour, first elected to the House in 2007, has been named chairman of the ports, harbors and airports committee.

“That is going to be very significant now that it’s been announced we are getting those jobs 20 miles away from us,” he said, referring to the Continental Tire manufacturing facility expected to locate in Clinton.

“I have met with Wayne Mansfield (executive director of the Vicksburg-Warren County Port Commission) and with the Mississippi Development Authority. We’re going to use this to our advantage. (The new manufacturing facility) has to ship out from somewhere and we’re the nearest port. We’re looking at possible expansion and doing work on the current port as well as acquiring new acreage to develop. We have other businesses looking now at our area and a problem in the past has been we didn’t have a place to put them.”

Monsour will also serve on the judiciary committee, transportation committee where he is subcommittee chairman for intermodal, as well as the appropriations committee, constitution committee, tourism committee, and gaming committee.

“The judiciary committee handles all civil matters. We’ll see a lot of gun bills,” he said. “Tourism and gaming will help us out in helping Warren County and the areas I support to help attract new tourism project. And I think we have some things we need to fix if we are going to fix quality of life a little bit.

“We have a lot of work to do in Vicksburg. Fortunately, I’m on the proper committees to utilize every bill we have for my area.”

State Rep. Oscar Denton of Vicksburg, D-District 55, elected in 2013, has been named to seven committees, including transportation, insurance, gaming, tourism, workforce development, drug policy and technology.

“I’m excited about all of them. I pretty much got all I asked for, based on what we have in our county in terms of transportation, tourism and gaming. I wanted education, but I can still have an impact on education in the committee assignments I have,” he said.

As for upcoming bills, Denton said he will work to support providing radar to detect speeders to county sheriff’s deputies.

“I know that my sheriff wants the radar, and I support that,” he said. “Whether or not that bill will come out of committee, I don’t know. But I will definitely have some input. I will voice my opinion.”