Legislators ready for new year

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“I think it was very insensitive what (the governor) did,” Butler said.

Mims drew cheers when he said he disagreed with the pardons of violent criminals and that he would be willing to amend the constitution to prevent a similar situation from happening.

Johnson and Cockerham both said as lawyers by profession, they agreed and respected with the pardoning process, though they didn’t necessarily like the manner in which it was handled. Johnson noted that murderers have been pardoned several times in the past.

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Sojourner said she also believed in the constitutionality of pardons but had problems with the scope of how they were used in Barbour’s recent case. She added that she had serious concerns about a trustee program that would allow violent offenders to mingle in pubic places.

Johnson said in order to improve education and recreation, people need to get jobs, and that’s what he hopes to help happen in southwest Mississippi. He said he could use his position as transportation chair to develop the attitude, “If you build it they will come,” similar to the manner in which northeast Mississippi was developed in the recent decade.

Butler was asked about the legislation he introduced that would pay for college tuition for students who have earned a certain grade point average and be funded by a lottery. A college-educated workforce would also help attract industries, Butler said.

“I know everybody wants what I do — to see southwest Mississippi move forward.

However, Butler gave a declarative, “no,” to a question from the audience about if he was confident the bill would pass.

Sojourner mentioned that she appreciated Butler’s guidance on the senate floor, since she is a freshman legislator.

“I can’t stress it enough — (the importance of) working together,” Butler said.

Mims said he foresaw this year and this legislature taking the state in a new direction.