Healthcare, criminal justice reform and voting rights are legislative priorities for MS Black Caucus

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JACKSON, Miss (WJTV)- Representing Mississippi’s 1.2 million African Americans, the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus outlined its agenda to tackle some of the state’s toughest issues.

As a legislative black caucus and mostly Democrats, their ideas are bold and likely to face resistance. For them, healthcare is a top tier issue, including addressing senior healthcare and infant mortality.

“Mississippi is one of 14 states that continues its refusal to expand Medicaid,” Sen. Angela Turner-Ford, the chair of the MS-LBC, said.

The caucus opposes any effort to do block grants with Medicaid expansion.

Another important item is education and fully funding MAEP.

“Funding for public school, the teacher shortage — a child should be able to receive a quality education regardless of his or her zip code,” said Turner-Ford.

On the economic side, they want to see increased investment in the state’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and go after predatory lending.

“Mississippi is the only state that does not have a law that prohibits discriminatory lending practices by banks and financial institutions,” she said.

In the wake of persistent problems at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, the caucus wants bolder criminal justice reforms.

“Laws affecting our nonviolent offenders, juveniles, sentencing to life with out parole and habitual offender laws must be a part of the conversation,” said Turner-Ford.

“To try to get some relief on our inmates, on our guards and on the financial burden on the state of Mississippi,” said Rep. Oscar Denton.

There will also be a push to allow early voting, online registration and restore voting rights of felons.

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