Statewide ‘Ideas Tour’ UnderwayBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 08 Oct 2012 02:59pm |
Leading state legislators are traveling Mississippi hearing from residents about what their top legislative priorities should be. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports the town hall style meetings are part of an 'ideas tour' organized by the speaker of the house.
Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn of Clinton is holding a series of nine public meetings around Mississippi for his Ideas Tour.
Roughly two dozen law makers and more than 100 Mississippians attended the first meeting in Jackson Monday morning.
Speaker Gunn told the crowd the goal is to give regular citizens access to law makers that they don't often have.
"This is not a debate. This is not an interrogation of your legislator. This is not a gripe session. I understand in order to present some ideas, you have to in some instances, set for a problem. There is a problem in my community and here it is. But we want to hear some of your proposed solution to that," Gunn said.
Gunn says the ideas tour sites are spread out across the state so that every Mississippi resident is within an hour drive of at least one town hall meeting.
Dr. Scott Crawford of Jackson, who is living with Multiple Sclerosis, recommended a cap on what insurance companies can charge for medications for people with chronic, incurable diseases.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we ought not to be asking our citizens with chronic, incurable conditions to choose between a roof over their head and treating their disease," Crawford said.
Many of the people spoke to the law makers about pressing issues that the legislature is already looking at such as education spending, a possible expansion of Medicaid, and tougher immigration laws.
Lisa Watson, who asked law makers to oppose implementing parts the Health care reform law, says she felt motivated by the tour to speak up.
"A lot of times I like to talk about political issues. I feel like if I am just going to talk and not do anything about them than that is not right. So I felt like I needed to come and express my opinion," Watson said.
The ideas tour is in northeast Mississippi today....There will also be tour stops in the southern portion of the state Thursday and Friday.
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