It has been a while since I’ve written and so I wanted to touch base with you for a few reasons, but most importantly to make sure you hear directly from me about the steps we are taking in the State Legislature to continue moving Mississippi forward while working with our community and local leaders.
On October 2, we completed the longest legislative session in Mississippi’s history. I want to thank you for the thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement you sent my way during this historic session.
Despite the unprecedented year and moments of uncertainty, my colleagues and I were able to introduce and pass a number of important bills that will help the families of Mississippi and District 19.
Although no piece of legislation is a silver bullet for curing the issues we face, some of these bills passed are pieces of legislation that I believe will provide support to public education, protect the value of life and help small businesses be successful in Mississippi - the backbone of our economy. They include:
My legislation, SB 2009 (Carly’s Law), which will protect victims of sexual abuse by prohibiting sex offenders from making contact with those who they have abused.
HB 1. Legislation I strong supported that provided $19 million to fully fund 2019 pay raises for our educators in Mississippi.
Bills SB 3044, HB 1788, SB 3046. Legislation that provided the support for distance learning and the tools our students and schools needed to be successful this school year.
Measure, HB 1295, the “Life Quality Act,” which prohibits abortions based on sex, race, or genetic abnormality and further strengthening our laws protecting life in Mississippi.
SB 2772. Legislation that allocated $240 million to small businesses in Mississippi to help them recover from the effects of the pandemic.
SB 3049 which created the Mississippi Back-to Business Liability Protection Act which provided immunity from law suits and liability to healthcare providers and other entities during a State of Emergency.
Just important as the aforementioned bills, is securing funding for out district’s needs every year. This year was no different. Along with my colleague’s support, we were able to fund several crucial development projects that will impact DeSoto and Marshall Counties going forward. They are:
$500,000 to assist the Board of Supervisors of Marshall county in paying costs associated with building a full-time emergency response center to serve the growing area in and around the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park.
$3,500,000 to assist in paying costs associated with construction of a state-of – the-art consolidated workforce center in Southaven.
Lastly, we try to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of our talented student athletes. In normal times we will have individuals or teams come to the Capitol for recognition. Unfortunately, we could not do that this year. So, I want to give a shout out congratulating and commending the following teams:
The Center Hill High School “Lady Mustangs” volley ball team and Coach Robbie Veazey for winning the 2019 Class 5A State Championship.
The 2020 Center Hill High School “Mustangs” boys soccer team and Coach Andrew Yeoman for winning their first-ever Class 5A State Championship.
The Olive Branch High School “Lady Quistors” basketball team and Coach Jason Thompson for winning their second consecutive Class 6A State Championship.
While this year’s session has come to a close, we continue to work on committee assignments for the remainder of the year.
In closing, I want you to know that I sincerely care about how you and your families are during these unprecedented times and strive to advocate on your behalf the best I know how.
Again, thank you for your continued support. And for allowing me to serve the voters and residents of District 19. It’s truly a privilege. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any ideas or ways in which I can be helpful during this difficult time.
Wishing you and your family a very blessed Merry Christmas and a HEALTHY and prosperous New Year.
Kevin Blackwell represents the 19th district in the Mississippi State Senate