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What to know ahead of the first meeting...

What to know ahead of the first meeting of the MS Senate Subcommittee tasked with recommending how to spend $1.8 billion in ARP funds

By: Anne Summerhays - November 12, 2021

Subcommittee is expected to hear from Tennessee and Louisiana officials, NCSL, LBO, and the State Auditor’s Office. 

On Monday, a Mississippi Senate Subcommittee will meet to review and make recommendations regarding the use of $1.8 billion in American Rescue Plan funds sent to the state from the federal government.

State Senator John Polk was named chairman of the subcommittee, and Senators Dennis DeBar, Walter Michel, Rita Potts Parks, Bart Williams, Albert Butler, and Hillman Frazier were named as members.

Senator Polk told Y’all Politics on Friday that Monday’s meeting is a essentially an organizational meeting. The first thing he has tried to do is get everything organized and everyone to understand where they are heading, which is to figure out for Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann and Senate Appropriations Chairman Briggs Hopson just how to spend the $1.8 billion. 

The Senate Subcommittee is expecting to hear from a variety of speakers on Monday. Those speakers represent different areas of emphasis, and includ:

  • A representative from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). That group has been tracking what other states have done with their ARP funds and will provide an overview for members to consider.
  • Representatives from Legislative Budget Office (LBO) that will provide the Subcommittee with information as to what they can spend the money on, how much money that agencies in Mississippi got directly, and similar details.

In the afternoon session, Chairman Polk said they will hear from representatives from Tennessee and Louisiana. Through these speakers they will have the opportunity to hear from two states on their perspectives and uses for the funds they received. Those officials include:

  • A representative from the Governor’s Office in Tennessee. In Tennessee, the Governor’s office administered the ARP funds.
  • State Senator Bodi White from Louisiana. The Louisiana Legislature handled the ARP funds in that state.

The Subcommittee will also hear from the State Auditor’s Office on how to ensure measures are put in place to prevent any future audit issues related to the expenditure of the funds.

Senator Polk expects that the only thing they may vote on Monday is when they will meet again. 

“To be able to get this thing out by early January, I think we’re going to have to have several meetings in December,” Senator Polk said.

He said he has already warned the subcommittee that it may be the case that they see consecutive meetings starting the week after Thanksgiving up until Christmas.

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth.