Login NowClose 

Amendment to help hospital approved

We are now on the downhill slope of the 2018 session and House members have been diligently working on important issues that directly affect Mississippians.

For those of us here in Alcorn County, I was glad to introduce an amendment to help our local hospital. As you may know, our hospital is owned by the taxpayers of Alcorn County, and so its employees are considered state employees. Unfortunately, the state's public retirement system is currently "upside down" on what it owes to retirees compared to what it has in assets. These types of markets fluctuate periodically, and right now PERS is working hard to recover its fiscal stability.

What this has meant to our hospital folks is that the PERS issue shows up on our balance sheet, throwing it off and causing us problems.

I added an amendment to Senate Bill 2855 that attempts to ensure that the PERS liability would not count against Magnolia's financial status. My colleagues supported the step, and now the bill will go back to the Senate for concurrence before becoming law.

As you may recall, I have been a strong proponent of the stability of the PERS system. There have been efforts to "privatize" this program in the past. My fellow legislators and I have all stood firm against these plans. While the current underfunding of the PERS system is indeed a cause for concern, it does not mean that we should abandon such an important, time-tested support system for our state employees. As we have learned all too well over the past ten years or so, the market fluctuates. I have every expectation that the PERS system will persevere.

I am dedicated to making sure that state employees, such as those who work at Magnolia Regional Health Center can fully realize the benefits of the PERS system. They've paid their part.

In other matters, I was most pleased that the Senate decided to kill House Bill 957, rather than experiment with a new, untested method of funding our public schools. We are fortunate here in Alcorn County that our economy is robust enough to make sure our schools are funded and that our students enjoy first-rate facilities and programs. Not all Mississippi children have those opportunities. We should do everything we can to make sure that every child in Mississippi has access to an excellent education, no matter what their zip code is. The program proposed in House Bill 957 would have stripped money from school districts while letting some lawmakers pat themselves on the back for fully funding our schools at a much lower rate than what is required by the MAEP. I'm not for smoke and mirrors; House Bill 957 was exactly that.

Tuesday, March 6, was a banner day for three of our local young men who are now state troopers. I was proud to attend ceremonies for the latest graduating Trooper Class, which included Todd Davis, Cody McGe, and Darrell McNair. Congratulations and best wishes to these brave men. May you be safe while you are out there making sure that we are protected.

I also congratulate the Corinth High School boys basketball team and the Biggersville High School girls basketball team for playing in the Big House this year. It's acknowledged all over Mississippi that we know how to grow basketball players up in our neck of the woods. It's always a pleasure to watch our young people excel at this favorite Northeast Mississippi sport.

Eli Ferrell served as a most capable page in the House this week. His parents should be very proud of him; he represented them and our community very well.

I welcome your thoughts and ideas about this and any other matter before the House.

Nick Bain of Corinth is state representative for House District 2 which includes Alcorn County. To reach him, email nbain@house.ms.gov or call him at 662-287-1620.