State Sen. Jenifer Branning is looking for the state Legislature to make progress this year on such key issues as infrastructure, healthcare and education.              
Branning, who is entering her second term as District 18 senator, said things may run a little different in the state Senate during the upcoming 2020 Legislative session with a new lieutenant governor and new members coming into office.             

The Mississippi Legislature convened at noon Tuesday.  Longtime Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is replacing Tate Reeves, who will be inaugurated as Mississippi’s 66th governor Jan. 14.   

“We have a leadership change in the Senate so it may take us a little while to get adjusted,” Branning said. “I have met with Lt. Gov.-elect Hosemann and he tells us he will do everything in his power to be ready.”

“My discussions with new lieutenant governor went like this,” Branning said. “I am there to serve my community and that I am willing to serve in any capacity that he needs

me. I know he will take into account my community and my ability to serve.”

In her first term, Branning was vice chairman of the Forestry Committee. She was also a member of the Agriculture, Appropriations, Business and Financial Institutions, Ethics, Judiciary, Division A, Municipalities and Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks committees.

“I anticipate most of the committee chairmanships to change,” Branning said. “We had a large turnover in the Senate. Some senators retired and others were not re-elected.”

It appears lawmakers may have more money to work with in 2020.

“Our joint Legislative Budget Committee has met and looked at the fiscal state of the state compared to the estimates that we had to go on the previous year,” Branning said. “We are up $135 million more than what we projected last year. We can thank Fiscal Conservative policies over the last eight years for getting us here.  

“We are going to look at the major issues that face Mississippi,” Branning said. “That is infrastructure, healthcare and education. We will as a legislative body go to work on those issues. The approach will be fiscally conservative in nature.”

She added that she is in step with state Rep. Scott Bounds in getting local needs funded.

“Our infrastructure needs are many,’ Branning said. “We continue to make that one of our top priorities each session.”

That includes the Highway 19 four-lane project between Philadelphia and the House Community.

“It also includes the bypass,” Branning said. “No one has forgotten about that.”

Branning said they will also keep improvement needs of the county roads.