*Each day's House Business is provided detailed in the hyperlinks below.
Monday, January 11th
Drove down to Jackson, and gaveled in at 4 PM. Headed back to trailer after adjournment. My wife Corey had also headed down and we packed up and went to the Governor’s Legislative Reception at the Old Capital. It was an amazing atmosphere with fantastic food, complete with a string quartet playing in the atrium. There were many dignitaries, representatives, and senators in attendance. My wife and I had the opportunity to talk with the Governor and his wife, and wish them well with the inauguration on Tuesday. From there we headed over to the Desoto County Senators’ (Chris Massey, David Parker, and Kevin Blackwell) house for more food and to watch the Auburn football game along with several other reps and senators.
Pictures from the Legislative Reception:
Tuesday, January 12th
Corey and I headed to the First Baptist church of Jackson, where we met up with many of our Desoto County Republican women, and attended the Governor’s Inaugural Prayer breakfast. The school chorus and gospel group was fantastic, and so were the. The Governor’s pastor delivered a powerful sermon as well. From the breakfast, I headed to our caucus meeting, and from there to the house floor. We gaveled in took care of general business then adjourned and headed out for the governor’s inauguration. It was a beautiful day, the temperature was fantastic, and the governor's remarks were inspiring. After the
inauguration I was interviewed by the Mississippi Public Broadcast system, and found myself in foreign territory. It was easy to give my opinion on the governor's remarks, not as easy answering policy and budget questions. The whole time I'm thinking, “ I hope I don’t say something that will later I will regret.” Then, I thought, “what does it matter, isn’t that part of the problem with our political system?” It seems that no one commits to anything, or shares their true feelings for fear of retribution. From the inauguration, Corey and I headed back to the trailer where the school marching bands from all over the state had started to amass. The entire fairground filled up with marching bands, cars and floats for the Inaugural parade. While changing, we suddenly had the rhythmic strings of
the Desoto Central drum core just outside of our window. It was really cool. After figuring out that we had Desoto County folks present, Corey and I headed out to meet them. It was neat having a little bit of home show up right next to my little home. Corey and I decided to watch the parade from the entrance of the Fair grounds where all of the participants began their performances. 30+ bands, floats, and convertibles later, we drifted back to the trailer to get ready for the Governor’s Ball. The
Governor’s Ball was really nice. Lots of folks, and lots of entertainment. The headline artist was Mississippi’s own Steve Azar, and wrapped up with Dr. Zar and the Amazing Funk Monsters. It was a great evening, but the best part of all was that I got spend some real quality time with my wife, something
that has been lacking quite a bit over this past year. Getting dressed up was nice, it was sort of like going to prom again. We danced and danced, then headed home once our feet finally gave out. It was an amazing day, but most of all because I spent almost the entirety of it with my wife.
Pictures from the Ball:
Wednesday, January 13th
Corey headed back to home to Walls, and I headed off to sit with Legislative Services to further discuss my bills that I am authoring. From there we headed out to lunch with some of the folks from Butler Snow’s Legislative team. Headed back into the floor to gavel in. Traditionally the House gavels in at 4PM on Mondays (thus giving folks time to drive in from all over the state). The farthest driving Representative drives about 5 ½ hours in. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday’s Committee meetings take place all morning, we usually gavel in at 2PM, and when the business of the day is taken care of, we adjourn, and a few more committee meetings take place after that. This particular day, since we still do not have our committee assignments, the Desoto Coalition (Reps and Senators) met with the Mississippi Development Authority and the Desoto Economic Development Council headed up by Desoto County’s Jim Flanagan to discuss economic development in the state. In the evening I went to the Mississippi Municipal League Reception and spent some time talking to several of our Desoto County Mayors and Alderman.
Thursday, January 14th
Had lunch at the Capitol with a delegation of leaders and youth from the Future Farmers of America. After gaveling in and taking care of business, I headed over to listen to the proceedings in the contested Eaton/Tullos House race. Much of what was being scrutinized was the affidavit ballots, which to count, and
why or why not. At the forefront of this debate was election law, and residency of the voters in question. One of the major reasons that we did not have our committee assignments was the result of this contested race. Representative Eaton is a 20+ year member of the house, and as a result of that seniority, will serve as chair on one of the committees. If he is not successful in retaining his seat, then committee assignments and chair heads will be shifted around. After the hearings concluded for the day, I headed back to my trailer, for believe it or not, my first dinner at home. It was also the first time I used my oven. On the menu...frozen pizza. Taste….less than adequate. I spent the evening catching up on some much needed bill research, as well as the typing of this blog. I also hopped on Skype, and actually told my son a good night story for the first time since the session began (something that has been my practice a couple nights a week since he was a baby). It was sweet moment.
Friday, January 15th
The freshmen legislators headed in early for a bipartisan rules class that is being taught by the Speaker of the House. The Speaker is doing this out of the kindness of his heart, and plans to have us meet early each Friday for the duration of the Session, with the intent of helping us become good legislators. It is a greatly appreciated offer. After the class, the House convened at 9am, we took care of the day’s necessary business, then adjourned until Monday at 4PM. After we adjourned, I went to sit in on the closing arguments of the Eaton/Tullos contested race. I could understand the arguments being offered by both sides, and new that a hard vote would eventually lay ahead of us in the House.