Monday, February 24, 2014

Bryant vs Reeves: Trooper School Edition

Gov. Phil Bryant's public safety agenda continues to work its way through the halls of the state Capitol.

A major component of Bryant's plan is a "sentencing reform" bill that easily passed the House on a bipartisan vote. Now that it is in the Senate, the pressure is on to pass this bill. Still, there are concerns from law enforcement that the bill could have unintended complications for county governments. So now it looks like the wheels are starting to buckle on this piece of legislation. I would be shocked to learn that Bryant and the Republicans are trying to pass this bill so they can find out what is in it.

Not just the sentencing reform law is causing a stir. We are now told that state troopers will descend upon the Capitol on Wednesday to push legislators to approve funding for a new trooper school. As more troopers retire or resign, those positions have to be filled. Even in Governor Bryant's latest State of the State address, he underscored the importance of having a new highway patrol officers.
"The men and women who wear the blue and grey of the Mississippi Highway Patrol remain the best of the best, but they now need your help. The last trooper school added 51 officers to a patrol that remains nearly 150 below its necessary number. This shortage puts not only the motoring public's lives at risk but also those of our troopers. Let me assure you, without more troopers on the road people will die. Let us fund a trooper school this year."
The issue is whether Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves's personal battle with the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety will bleed over into this nonpartisan issue. Time will tell if Reeves will not play ball and allow his personal grudge with the Department of Public Safety to overrule the agenda of his fellow Republican governor. Bryant also has to show some strength by pressing the super majority in the Republican-led Senate to advance his agenda.

At this point, it is tough to see who wins out: the Tater Tots or the cowboy boots.

No comments: