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Legislature issues center on money, safety

All eyes will look toward Jackson this week as the 2013 session of the Mississippi Legislature convenes.

With the new year and new legislative session comes a new set of challenges for state government, along with some familiar old challenges that come up each year, too.

Legislators representing Southwest Mississippi suggest many topics will be hot ones this year.

What to do — if anything — about proposals to expand Mississippi’s Medicare program as part of the federal health care reform act, will likely take center stage.

We hope Mississippi backs away from the expansion plans. The reason is simple: expanding government costs money and neither the State of Mississippi nor the federal government has a clear handle on how to fund it.

Ultimately nearly all of the Legislature’s decisions in the coming weeks will come down to matters of money or public safety.

We urge lawmakers to be fiscally conservative with taxpayer funds.

Beyond that, our only two requests are simple.

First, please act like adults, work quickly and civilly to get through the public’s business and avoid issues lingering around until the very last minute of the session.

Second, do something productive — and easy — and ban texting while driving for every driver in the state.

That single law could potentially have more impact than nearly any other bill to be debated.