Friday, August 16, 2013

Senator Collins Issues Deadline to State Agencies

Senator Nancy Collins (R-Tupelo) issued a memo this week to state agencies encouraging them to proactively submit 2014 legislative proposals by October 1, 2013.
Any state agency, department, or group that wishes to propose legislation for the upcoming Session that would most likely be assigned or double referred to the Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committee need to submit the proposed legislation and other issues to me by October 1, 2013. I understand this may be difficult due to busy schedules, but the committee can do a much better job with legislation if there is adequate time to study your proposals and hold hearings if necessary.
Her reasoning seems pretty clear: don't let what happened to me happen to you.

Collins, you may recall, authored legislation this year related to the state's public retirement system, PERS. Within moments of the bill hitting the hopper, retirees, soon-to-be retirees, and current state employees across the state were up in arms over what Collins's bill could do to undermine their retirement plan. If Collins plans to reintroduce her PERS bill again, is she planning a public hearing between October 1 and the start of the 2014 Regular Session?

A concern about her memo is what she is likely to do with legislation that is not presented to her by the deadline she has instituted. If, for example, a state agency has a situation develop during the holidays and needs to get a bill through the legislature, will Collins reject the bill and point to the deadline? What about non-state agencies wanting bills moved through her committee? Are they subject to this October 1 deadline? If not, why not?

With this memo, Collins is working to avoid repeating her mistake of dropping a legislative bombshell on the public. A popular refrain we heard from her political party in recent years is that Americans are tired of having bills "shoved down our throats."

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