Prison Crisis still top subject at the Capitol

Pictured Representative Price Wallace, Representative Tom Miles, Senator Tyler McCaughn, Mrs. Kathy Warren and Mrs Frisky Roland. 📷The sixth week of the 2020 Legislative session offered opportunities for us to learn more about the prison system crisis and address other issues important to Mississippians.Here at home, our thoughts and prayers were turned to the family of Dr. Howard Clark of Morton, whose passing marked the end of an era. He had served as Doctor of the Day in the House on several occasions. I had the honor of making the motion for the Mississippi House of Representatives to adjourn in solemn memory of Dr. Clark a man who spent his life caring for others in his community and throughout Mississippi. Dr. Clark loved his family, friends, community, State, Country, politics, Morton Panthers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, and Church, but most of all, he loved the Lord.I voted to support House Bill 95, which addresses the issue of “surprise” medical bills – the invoices some have received for services they thought were covered by insurance. Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney reports that his office has seen an uptick in this kind of billing, despite a law that was passed in 2013 to prevent so-called “balance bills” where the insured assigns his or her benefits to the medical provider. The patient is not supposed to be liable for the charges over what the insurance company and the healthcare provider agreed upon. Some providers failed to comply with the law prohibiting this action. That’s why HB 95 was introduced. People who are already sick or recovering should not be further burdened by sneaky attempts to collect monies they don’t actually owe. HB 95 gives Commissioner Chaney’s office the power to adopt regulations and resolve disputes between healthcare providers and consumers.We passed House Bill 756 which provides funds for the Department of Finance Administration to evaluate the condition of Walnut Grove’s prison facility. Potentially, our local facility can be swiftly upgraded to begin housing select prisoners and ease overcrowding in other prisons. As a state, we should be making every effort to make sure that offenders are housed in well-staffed, safe, clean facilities that are secure.I attended a joint hearing of the Corrections and Judiciary B committees to discuss ongoing prison issues. I appreciated the insight of Mississippi Parole Board Chair Steve Pickett and Cliff Johnson of the MacArthur Justice Center, both of whom testified before the committee. Among the problems faced is that released inmates have difficulty getting drivers licenses, essential to being able to work. Many of them do not have any place to go once they are released, and they wind up on the streets just trying to survive. I look forward to helping find solutions to these and other problems. We have more meetings scheduled this week with MDOC Commissioner Tommy Taylor.We enjoyed visiting with Mrs. Frisky Roland and Mrs. Kathy Warren of Morton at the Mississippi Homemakers Volunteers State meeting. We also visited with Mr Andre Hollis, Mrs. Mechelle Carter and other members from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks to talk about ways we can help improve their agency.Feel free to contact me at (601) 469-7886, email me at tmiles@house.ms.gov or Message me with any concerns or issues you may have.


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