Lawmakers focus on local issues, bills

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lawmakers have a slew of issues to deal with this session &045; including a number of bills that would affect local economic development and quality of life concerns.

For example:

4One bill would eliminate the three-day waiting period for weddings and recognize results of blood tests done by any certified lab.

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It might sound like a frivolous issue, but weddings are big business for Natchez, which is becoming a wedding destination site for many couples.

Tourism officials say easing the pre-marital requirements will help bring more business to the community.

The changes aren’t intended to make it easier just to marry &045; as it is in, say, Las Vegas &045; but to make it more convenient for couples who have chosen to have a destination wedding in Mississippi.

4Other bills that lawmakers said will bring new jobs to the area include one to issue certificates of need to open long-term care hospitals in areas such as southwest Mississippi and one that would allow the Department of Corrections to contract with Adams County supervisors for a regional prison. We’re not sure yet of the viability of these projects, but we are glad folks in Jackson are looking at our economic development needs.

4Perennial bills include one to give municipalities the right to a local option sales tax and one to allow community colleges to charge in-state tuition to out-of-state students within a 50-mile radius of the school. Both of these bills, while they have been defeated in the past, can have a positive effect on our community &045; and give more local control to our officials.