Session Preview: A $5B budget and a Senate showdown in Mississippi

January 7, 2014

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) faces a primary challenge from the right. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Mississippi state legislature kicks off its three-month session on Tuesday, with a contentious Senate primary looming.

State lawmaker Chris McDaniel (R) is making a grab for the seat occupied by Sen. Thad Cochran (R), who was first elected to Congress the year McDaniel was born. Here’s how the next few months could go for McDaniel, according to the Associated Press:

The 41-year-old from Ellisville launched his U.S. Senate campaign in October, months after he and several colleagues formed a conservative coalition. The group thinks GOP leaders such as Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves are, well, just not conservative enough. The legislative session gives McDaniel a platform to make speeches about ideas that appeal to his tea party base.

As for the lawmakers who aren’t McDaniel fans? Those folks — Democrat and Republican alike — will get a chance to maneuver against him every time he steps up to the microphone.

Meanwhile, the legislature will have to iron out a $5 billion budget. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said that means the state will review how and how much agencies are spending, Mississippi Public Broadcasting reports. Gov. Phil Bryant says reining in growing prison costs will be key, while measures to increase teacher pay are gaining early bipartisan support.

Five issues to watch this session include a conservative battle over how and whether to implement Common Core educational standards, prison reform, and funding for education, public safety and transportation, according to the Clarion-Ledger. The paper also compiled a detailed breakdown of key issues before each committee.

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
Continue reading 10 minutes left
Comments
Show Comments