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Fresh foods hopefully coming to schools

The Senate this week passed legislation designed to find ways to get locally grown farm fresh foods into school cafeterias across the state.

House Bill 718 will create a farm to school council charged with figuring out how Mississippi farmers can get their products into the schools in an effort to 
provide a higher degree of nutrition for students while giving growers a larger marketplace in which to sell their produce.

The passage of House Bill 770 authorizes the Fair Commission to hire additional law enforcement officers when needed to provide a greater security presence. The 
coliseum is currently protected by Hinds County deputies, but the bill will also allow Capitol Police to patrol the grounds, supplementing the work of deputies.

We also passed legislation meant to increase the number of health care professionals practicing in rural areas of the state.

House Bill 307 will ideally allow not less than 15 students into the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program, which will pay their medical school tuition if they agree to work in an underserved rural community.

Likewise, House Bill 776 will establish the Mississippi Rural Dentists Program that will identify three students each year whose tuition will be paid in exchange for 
their services in the underserved rural areas.

Other bills passed include:

House Bill 1260 authorized creation of an advisory board that will determine the best approach to controlling the state’s wild hog population.

House Bill 613 will ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

House Bill 394 will allow cities and counties to sell surplus materials at auction to the public.

House Bill 411 places a one year moratorium on the issuance of licenses for new hospice facilities.

House Bill 117 creates a job training grants program that allows employers to access state money for training and retraining of workers. It also allows the employers to take advantage of certain tax credits.

Sen. Kelvin BUTLER, D-Magnolia, is chairman of the labor committee and vice chairman of enrolled bills. He also serves on the business and financial institutions; energy; finance; judiciary, division A; local and private; municipalities; PEER; state library; highways and transportation and tourism committee. He can be reached at 601-359-3244 or by e-mail at kbutler@senate.ms.gov.