Efforts focused on doing away with State History Test

By TOM MILES,

House members received our committee assignments last week, and I am pleased to report that I will be serving on committees that can make a real difference for our district and the state.

I will be serving on Insurance, Interstate Cooperation, Judiciary B, Tourism, and Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. We are already looking at ways we can work on good legislation to help make our state a better place.

The Interstate Cooperation is a committee that works between our state and other states. One idea that many of us have is for this committee to consider ways that we can partner with surrounding states to help lower health insurance rates for Mississippi families by looking at health insurance crossing state lines.

We have some seriously important attractions for tourism in our district. From Roosevelt State Park to the Muscadine Festival, to the Wing Dang Doodle, our area is well known for fun, family-oriented activities. I’ve enjoyed promoting our local activities and am grateful to everyone who helps. As a member of the Tourism Committee, I and the other members will be looking at ways to enhance Mississippi’s attractions and create others.  Last year, Mississippi had record growth with more than 24.7 million visitors who spent over $6.7 billion dollars in Mississippi to support our local economies. Tourism supports over 122,000  jobs in our state.

In fact, I recently met with other legislative members at Roosevelt to figure out how we can best partner with the state’s Tourism and Parks agencies to help promote and grow these parks in every corner of the state. These are precious resources that help showcase natural Mississippi. I hope we can continue to protect and build their significance within our important tourism industry.

I met this week with Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who is also our state’s Fire Marshal and members of the State Firefighters Association. We are going to be pushing for the Fire Academy to also provide EMS certification for our firefighters. Many of these first responders are called to attend to health crises, and having this training will help give them the tools and skills to take care of our loved ones when they are most vulnerable. If we can get this extra training included at the Fire Academy, it will save our counties and cities money because local budgets will not have to pay for it.

Once again, we are focusing efforts on doing away with the State History Test as an exit exam, that mandates for our students to graduate from high school. This is an important issue that is not going away. Fully 70 percent of our educators believe that this testing is unnecessary and burdensome, and I have heard from many who were astounded at the school board’s recent decision to keep it. I am going to keep fighting to put the ACT Test and ACT Work Keys as the means of determining college readiness and work preparedness for our students.

As a community college graduate, I was pleased to visit with our community college leaders. They were showing us reports that say our community colleges have a multi-billion dollar impact on our state economy. We should do all we can to support them.

It is always a pleasure to welcome folks to our State Capitol. Last week, nurses, educators, firefighters, health care providers, and business owners were some who dropped in to let us know about their concerns and hopes. Please let me know if you or your group plan to come to the Capitol. I want to introduce you to my colleagues.

Feel free to contact me at tmiles@house.ms.gov or message me with any concerns or issues you may have.