A good week for Barbour
March 21, 2004
Gov. Haley Barbour chalked up three major legislative wins last week on the subjects of Medicaid reform, workforce training and adoption.
An overwhelming majority in the House passed Barbour's Medicaid reform proposals, designed to save money while maintaining quality healthcare to people who could not otherwise afford it.
The House also voted 116-to-4 for Barbour's proposal to revamp the way workforce training is delivered. This is another step toward overhauling the current system to ensure that Mississippi workers are as highly trained as possible. Barbour believes, and a substantial majority in the House apparently agreed, that the changes will help Mississippi attract more better-paying jobs and keep existing jobs.
Over in the Senate, the governor's legislation to offer tax credits to ease the cost of adoption passed unanimously. "Too often, aspiring parents in Mississippi face an adoption process that is cumbersome and cold, while children in foster care wait," Barbour said. "By giving parents a tax credit to cover attorney's fees and court costs associated with adoption, our bill simply makes adoption easier."
Barbour was gracious in thanking the individual lawmakers who helped steer these measures to passage. While the 2004 legislative session is far from over and details have to be worked out on all three of these proposals between the two houses, it would encouraging to see this level of cooperation.
Hopefully, when more intensive debate turns to pesky appropriations and budget issues and the differences between the governor's plan and House Speaker Billy McCoy's plan move front and center, this harmony can continue.