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Bryant and Gunn Address Open Carry and Medicaid at Neshoba County Fair

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 02 Aug 2013 08:44am | comments

Governor Phil Bryant says he wants public safety in Mississippi to be a top priority for legislators in the upcoming legislative session. The Governor is also challenging some lawmakers to attempt to repeal the controversial open carry gun law.

 Governor Bryant takes the stage in Founders Square at the fair for his second speech as Governor.

In his 13 minute speech he touted economic development in the state, including job creation and a top ten ranking from the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

Bryant says the focus on the economy is encouraging but lawmakers need to turn their focus to making the state safer.

"So we are going to put together an aggressive legislative agenda to protect you and punish the criminals. We are going to send a clear message that you are not going to break the law and rob our people. Do harm to the citizens of the state of Mississippi and think you are going to walk away from it," Bryant said.

Bryant says the state should toughen laws for people who produce drugs and add more highway patrol officers as two possible steps.

Like most speakers this week, Bryant expressed support for the so-called open carry gun law which is a the center of a court battle.

Some Democrats have vowed to repeal the law and that’s a move Bryant says he welcomes.

"I was told that some member of the legislature are going to try and pass a bill overturning, reversing the open carry law. And they are going to send it to me they said. You know what I have got to say? go ahead, make my day," Bryant said.

Thursday’s speeches conclude two days of political speeches at the famed county fair.

Law makers head back to Jackson for the 2014 legislative session in January.

 The Speaker of the Mississippi House is doubling down on his opposition to Medicaid expansion in Mississippi.  Speaker Phillip Gunn called on Mississippians to elect more legislators who oppose Medicaid expansion.

 A big part of Speaker Gunn’s speech in founder’s square at the Neshoba County Fair was how to spend and budget state tax dollars played a .

Gunn referenced the contentious fight during the most recent legislative session over whether or not to expand Medicaid to 300,000 more Mississippians.

Gunn says that is something the state just cannot afford

"Let me tell you ladies and gentlemen, if you want to bust your pocketbook wide open then you keep voting for candidates that support Medicaid expansion. If you don't want to do that then you keep voting for candidates that are standing in the gap, opposing Medicaid expansion in Mississippi." Gunn said.

Democrats in the state capitol point out that the federal government would pick up the lion’s share of the cost potentially making it a good deal for the state.

Gunn went on to say Republicans, who control both chambers for the first time in over a century, are bringing conservative principals to state spending such as decreasing dependence on one time money.

To make his point he referenced a television interview of a football player who was asked what its like to play in the NFL.

"He said 'well, it is not rocket surgery'. And I thought 'boy, you have said more than you realized when you said that'. His point was it is not hard. It is not complicated. Well, these spending principals we are bringing to the legislature is not rocket surgery. It is not hard. It is a common sense approach to the spending of your taxpayer dollars," Gunn said.

Money wasn’t the only focus of the speech, Gunn also celebrated a new law focusing on third grade reading standards and expressed support for the so-called open carry gun law  which has been a common theme in most fair speeches.

The legislature returns to Jackson in January, Medicaid and spending will likely be front burner topics once again.





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