Your Senate returned to work on Monday, August 10th for several urgent matters. At the mutual request of the Lt. Governor and the Speaker of the House, the legislature returned under strict CDC guidelines.
Members were required to pass temperature checks and to wear masks before entering the Capitol. The Senate tackled the concerns raised by Governor Reeves in the K-12 Education budget. As many remember, Governor Reeves vetoed certain sections of the budget in retaliation for the failure to fund the School Recognition Program.
This program is aimed at rewarding schools that achieved higher levels of achievement. Originally there were some reservations about continuing the program due to the interruption of schools this year and the concerns about K-12 funding. After further review, it was determined that the program could be funded. The Senate introduced and passed an appropriations bill fully funding the School Recognition Program.
In the first veto override of the 2020 session, the Senate and House both voted to restore the K-12 Education budget as first passed. This vote restored funding to the FFA programs and school nurse programs among other programs.
In other action, the Senate amended the Back to Business Mississippi Program to further expand the program. As of Monday, less than one-third of the funds allocated to the program had been utilized. To provide further assistance to small businesses, the bill expanded to include additional business that are eligible to receive the direct payment of $2,000. The amendments also raised the base eligible payment amount from $1500 to $3500 per business that applies for the program through the Mississippi Development authority. I encourage all small businesses to go look into the eligibility requirements set forth on the website. All information can be found here: www.backtobusinessms.org. It is our hope to get as much money into the pockets of Mississippi businesses as possible.
In closing, we are seeing the return of our children into the classrooms again. Though things are a bit different, I am thankful for caring administrators, teachers, bus drivers, and custodians who are all working to make the classrooms as safe as possible. We are still facing challenges with the COVID numbers and I encourage everyone to adhere to the guidelines of the CDC and to wear masks in public. As always, I thank you for you for allowing me to serve you.
State Sen. Tyler McCaughn represents Mississippi Senate District 31.