Senate Passes $1 Billion BRIDGE Act Including Parker Plan for Local Infrastructure

Parker’s plan would increase the sales tax dollars returned to local governments from the state to aid local infrastructure projects

JACKSON (February 20, 2018) – Today the Mississippi Senate passed the “Building Roads. Improving Development. Growing the Economy” BRIDGE Act (SB3046) on a 36-14 vote. The BRIDGE Act provides more than $1 billion toward city, county and state infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, dams, water/wastewater, railroads and additional needs.

The BRIDGE Act also incorporates Senator David Parker’s (R-Olive Branch) plan to increase the amount of sales tax dollars returned to local governments by the state for the purpose of infrastructure. Parker’s measure (SB2455) previously passed the Senate on February 7 on a vote of 42-9. This is the third year Parker has introduced the measure.

Parker said:

“Today I was happy to vote for and speak on behalf of Senate Bill 3046 known as the Bridge Act.  This bill seeks to provide an ongoing solution to infrastructure needs including roads and bridges in the state of Mississippi.”

“Over the past three years, I have worked to get more money back to our cities and counties for the repair of roads.  This year I introduced Senate Bill 2455 to incrementally divert more money back to our cities for this purpose.  This bill has passed the Senate and was sent to the house for consideration.  I am pleased to announce that the same language from Senate bill 2455 was inserted into the Bridge Act.  As a result there are now two vehicles alive that could lead to this greatly demonstrated need being addressed.”

“In addition to millions for our cities, the bill includes specific appropriations to help provide assistance to Holly Springs Road and includes grant assistance for partnerships between cities and counties with oversight from the Mississippi Development Authority.”

“I have met and discussed the desire for any plan by the state to meet the requirements of a federal infrastructure plan which is currently under consideration in Washington, DC.  This bill has the framework to do so by requiring matching funds to be allocated to specific accounts to allow the necessary accounting for any potential federal match.”

“My plan for local infrastructure improvements will increase the diversion of sales taxes from the state to local governments from the existing 18.5% to the desired 20% at full implementation. This increase will be deposited into a special fund at the state treasury and available when the city makes a matching deposit for infrastructure.  By using this fund, a city could effectively double their infrastructure dollars.  This program will benefit every city in the state and provide ongoing funding to help meet these needs year after year. To be fiscally responsible, the diversion will require state sales tax growth of 1% for incremental implementation.”

“The BRIDGE Act will also address our immediate state road needs via state set aside of revenue for bonding purposes, and will implement new requirements for the Mississippi Department of Transportation.”

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Veterans Funding Escapes Cuts

Parker thanks colleagues for level funding veterans; passing veterans/military related measures

Senator David Parker (R-Olive Branch) thanked his colleagues in the Mississippi legislature for preserving funding for veterans and the National Guard this session.

“Last year when we got to the final days of the session, the legislature cut the budget for veterans. This year my colleagues and I made it clear we did not want cuts. The final National Guard budget was about $30,000 more than the initial legislative budget recommendation, and veterans affairs received level funding.  That’s a big deal when everyone else is getting cut,” Parker said.

Parker, who is the Chairman of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs committee, led colleagues on the Senate floor in February opposing cuts to the veterans budget.  “Our state and country made promises to our veterans. Honoring that commitment honors their service,” Parker said. Funding for the Veterans Affairs Board was appropriated in SB2969.

Additionally, two more measures supported by Parker on military issues passed the legislature.

Parker authored SB2544 which passed the Senate, but the legislature ultimately passed the House companion bill which mirrored Parker’s legislation: HB1026 by Representative Mac Huddleston (R-Pontotoc). When a disaster hits Mississippi and the National Guard is mobilized, it uses its operating fund to fulfill its missions. Those funds are reimbursed by FEMA or MEMA.   But in the months it takes for reimbursement, the National Guard might have to make cuts in operations or delay missions for lack of funding. The measure supported by Parker and Huddleston creates a Mississippi National Guard State Active Duty Emergency Operations Fund which the Guard could pull funds from during a disaster and later replenish when reimbursed without using operations funds for an emergency.

SB2620, authored by Parker, makes amendments to the Code of Military Justice requested by Mississippi military officials. This bill was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant on March 20.


Parker DUI Bill Requires Full Search of Record, NCIC Data, for Prior Offenses

Legislature passes SB2685 to require records searches; extend DUI task force

JACKSON (March 30, 2017) – The Mississippi legislature has passed SB2685, a bill by Senator David Parker (R-Olive Branch),  which extends the work of the state DUI task force (and related efforts) through the end of the year, and adds a requirement that prior to entering a guilty plea to a DUI offense, law enforcement must:

“submit certification to the prosecution that the defendant’s driving record, the confidential registry and National Crime Information Center record have been searched for all prior convictions, nonadjudications, pretrial diversions and arrests for driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or while under the influence of any other substance that has impaired the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. The results of the search must be included in the certification.”

“Under this law, law enforcement must certify a full search of past offense has been conducted, both in and out of state, before a plea deal can be accepted. This ensures prosecutors and judges will know if someone is a DUI repeat offender and can take that into consideration,” said Parker. He continued, “Our statewide DUI task force continues to bring together law enforcement, the judiciary, prosecutors, defense attorneys, technology experts and mental health specialists to get everyone on the same page to prevent DUI violations. We have expanded and extended that task force through the end of the year to continue to seek to improve our DUI laws.”

SB2685 builds on Parker’s work in the 2016 session which saw the passage of the DUI Transparency Act and the DUI Modernization and Technology Act. Last year Parker was named a “Legislator of the Year” by the national Mothers Against Drunk Driving.


Legislature Passes Significant Family Law Reforms

Five senators work together to address issues of child placement, adoption, foster care and domestic abuse

JACKSON (March 29, 2017) – Today, the final hurdle passed for the legislature to send to Governor Phil Bryant SB2680, a significant family law reform measure.

Senator David Parker (R-Olive Branch) said, “These reforms aren’t as contentious or political as many issues that come out of the legislature. But I think when you consider the direct impact on the life of a child, the family unit and options for safety in the family, this is one of the most important measures to pass this session. It took a group effort of Senators and together, I believe we’ve crafted some common sense improvements to the law that impacts people across the state.”

The measure, SB2680, authored by Senator Angela Hill (R-Picayune) and co-authored by Senator Parker, combines the efforts of five Senators to bring pro-family reforms to Mississippi law:

  • Fictive Kin: Allows judges to place children with a person considered a relative but not related to the child legally or biologically in cases where a child cannot be returned home. Senator Parker’s bill – SB2565 – was the source of this portion of the measure.
  • Domestic Abuse: Clarifies grounds for divorce to include patterns of domestic abuse. This portion came from efforts by Senator Sally Doty (R-Brookhaven).
  • Foreign Adoption: Allows parents who adopt a foreign child to represent themselves in the Mississippi portion of the adoption. This aspect was the result of work by Senator Josh Harkins (R-Flowood).
  • Foster Care: Close relatives do not have to undergo foster care training to assume foster care responsibilities for children.  This was part of the original bill filed by Senator Hill.
  • Leadership: All four major provisions of this bill were guided and combined under the leadership of Senator Sean Tindell (R-Gulfport) who serves as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary-A Committee.

“People reading or watching the news might think the legislative session is a constant struggle over divisive issues. But important, common sense bills get passed as well. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues to craft this measure. We think it could make a huge difference in the lives of children and their parents,” Parker said.


Parker Bills on DUI, National Guard & Foster Care Pass Senate

JACKSON (February 22, 2017) – Senator David Parker said a number of his priorities for additional DUI reform and measures to benefit the Mississippi National Guard have passed the Senate and are awaiting action in the House of Representatives. A foster care reform bill was folded into another Senate bill and passed as well.

DUI Reform

“The Mississippi Senate continues its efforts at strengthening law enforcement and the judicial system to prevent and prosecute DUIs. By bringing together everyone involved in the process from arresting officers to court clerks to those compiling information at the Department of Public Safety, we’re identifying problems and making corrections so repeat offenders don’t slip through the cracks,” Parker said.

  • SB2685 passed the Senate on February 8. It makes technical corrections to last year’s DUI reform legislation and expands the DUI Information-Exchange Improvement Advisory Committee. It also contains the language of Parker’s SB2832 which continues the efforts of the Mandatory Statewide Offense Reporting System Task Force.
  • Parker also has two appropriations measures pending in the Senate which would aid efforts to fight DUIs: SB2566 which funds an electronic submission of arrest records pilot program; and, SB2754 which funds field sobriety training for law enforcement.

Mississippi National Guard

Last week Parker, who is the Chairman of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs committee, led colleagues on the Senate floor to oppose cuts to the veterans budget and restore funding to necessary levels. “Our state and country made promises to our veterans. Honoring that commitment honors their service,” Parker said. Two bills authored by Parker on military issues passed the Senate.

  • SB2544 passed the Senate on February 1. When a disaster hits Mississippi and the National Guard is mobilized, it uses its operating fund to fulfill its missions. Those funds are reimbursed by FEMA or MEMA. But in the months it takes for reimbursement, the National Guard might have to make cuts in operations or delay missions for lack of funding. Parker’s bill would create a Mississippi National Guard State Active Duty Emergency Operations Fund which the Guard could pull funds from during a disaster and later replenish when reimbursed without using operations funds for an emergency.
  • SB2620 makes amendments to the Code of Military Justice requested by Mississippi military officials. It passed the Senate on February 2.

Foster Care Reform

Parker worked with Senator Angela Hill to fold the language of his SB2565 into SB2680 which passed the Senate on February 8. This measure would allow custody of a child to be given to “fictive kin” which is someone unrelated to the child legally or biologically but who is considered a relative due to a significant, familial-like and ongoing relationship with the child and family.

Parker explained, “Judges recognize that someone can be a parent without a legal or biological connection to a child. A step-father or step-mother or someone else who hasn’t legally adopted a child, but in the mind of the child is their ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ should be considered by a court for custody or care of a child. This legislation allows for those children to be placed with their ‘parent’ rather than foster care.”

More DeSoto Bills

Parker noted his Senate colleagues from DeSoto County also have a number of issues which have passed the Senate, including the Mississippi Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act (SB2311) and a mammography reform bill (SB2006) by Senator Kevin Blackwell; and, a measure allowing supervisors to provide more assistance to fire departments (SB2013) and revisions to the licensing law for residential builders (SB2855) by Senator Chris Massey.

“Senator Blackwell, Senator Massey and I work well together on issues important to DeSoto County and the state of Mississippi,” Parker said. “We often co-author each other’s legislation and work in our respective committees to move legislation forward. I appreciate their work and I believe DeSoto has a unified team in the Senate.”

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Senate Passes Southaven Park Funding Bill

Parker: “bill addresses the wishes of both those in favor of and those opposed to this program

JACKSON (February 15, 2017) – Today the Mississippi Senate passed SB2949 which extends the current funding program for Southaven parks. The measure includes a mechanism to repeal the program. Senator David Parker authored the legislation which was co-authored by Senator Chris Massey and Senator Kevin Blackwell. The measure now proceeds to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite and the entire Board of Aldermen requested an extension of the Southaven parks funding program. But some individuals oppose it, and the Southaven city leadership agreed we should have mechanism to repeal it if the voters of Southaven so desire. The Senate passed this compromise today that puts the program in the hands of our local electorate,” Parker said.

The measure would continue the current program, but allow for opponents to call for a referendum with a petition of 1,500 Southaven voters (or 20 percent of the electors, whichever is fewer) which would continue or repeal the program. A majority of Southaven voters have twice approved the program in previous elections.

“I’m proud the City of Southaven and my Senate colleagues could work together to listen to the concerns of everyone involved and pass a bill which addresses the wishes of both those in favor of and those opposed to this program,” Parker said.

The full bill can be read here.


Senators Parker, Blackwell and Massey on shooting of Sheriff’s deputies

JACKSON (January 26, 2017) – DeSoto Senators David Parker, Kevin Blackwell and Chris Massey issue this joint statement today:

The attempted deadly assault on two DeSoto County Sheriff deputies last night illustrates again the sacrifice law enforcement officers make every day to protect our citizens and communities. We pray for a full recovery of both deputies, and pray comfort for their families and the DeSoto Sheriff’s office.

Every day, law enforcement on the city, county and state level stand between us and danger. When criminals attempt to kill them, it is an offense worthy of stronger punishment. The DeSoto delegation “backs the badge” and sends a clear message that we will not tolerate such attacks.

This morning the Senate passed SB2469 to provide further protection to law enforcement by making any crime committed against them or other first responders, because of their service, a hate crime under state law. We expect this or similar legislation to pass the House as well with overwhelming support.

We thank law enforcement for their work. While we hope we won’t see any more assaults on law enforcement officers, those wearing the badge know it can happen anytime as they do their jobs to keep us safe every day. We’re proud and grateful for their service.


Parker, Massey meet with DeSoto firefighters

“Senator Chris Massey and I were honored to meet with DeSoto firefighters at the Mississippi Capitol. These first responders are essential to the protection of our citizens and community.”

Pictured are (left to right) Ricky Barnett, Dan Phillips, Ken Givens, Senator Chris Massey, David Linville, Senator David Parker and Jared Kelly.

Pictured are (left to right) Ricky Barnett, Dan Phillips, Ken Givens, Senator Chris Massey, David Linville, Senator David Parker and Jared Kelly.


Parker Statement on Southaven Park Funding

Will introduce extension but provide vehicle for opponents to end program;approach agreed to by mayor, city leaders

JACKSON (January 18, 2017) – Senator David Parker released the following statement regarding the Southaven parks funding program. Parker serves as Vice Chairman of the Local and Private Committee in the Senate which oversees these measures.

“Southaven Mayor Musselwhite and the entire Board of Aldermen unanimously requested an extension to the local restaurant and tourism funding program for Southaven parks. After receiving this request, I reached out to the mayor, city leaders, the Southaven Chamber of Commerce, as well as parents, seniors, concert goers and tennis enthusiasts. They have shared the benefits they feel they have reaped both individually and as a community.

I’ve also spoken with some who oppose the extension of this program.

My wish is to honor the request of our city leaders and citizens, but be respectful of those who share a different opinion. The Senate plans to introduce legislation to extend this program, but provide a vehicle to require an additional vote, should citizens wish to see the program removed. I’ve discussed this with the mayor and city leaders and they agree that this would be the best approach.

I look forward to passing this legislation in the Senate and sending it to the House for their consideration.”

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Paid for by Friends for David Parker


Trio of Awards Honor Parker’s Work

Recent awards recognize Senator David Parker’s legislative work to reform Mississippi DUI laws, protect children and support local governments

Three organizations recently honored Senator David Parker (R-Olive Branch) for his work this past legislative session to reform Mississippi DUI laws, protect children through a foster care alternative and support local governments.

“Voters expect us to make reforms and improve our state, that’s the job they elect us to do,” Parker said. “So we don’t do this work for awards, but I’m honored these organizations would recognize these efforts and through these awards continue to bring public attention on important issues like fighting drunk driving, protecting Mississippi children and making smart, fiscal decisions to address needs in our local communities.”

MADD – Legislators of the Year

MADD recognized 69 lawmakers across the country, including Parker, as “Legislators of the Year” for their tireless work and commitment to saving lives and fighting drunk driving deaths. “MADD is proud to work with these leaders in the battle against the leading killer on our nation’s roadways,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “With more than 10,000 drunk driving deaths every year in America, we must continue to push for smart laws that will help us create a nation of No More Victims.”

The Legislators of the Year played a major role in MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. MADD highlighted efforts in Mississippi “to strengthen all-offender ignition interlock laws and improve statewide reporting of DUI.” MADD thanked Parker for authoring and shepherding into passage SB 2778, the DUI Transparency Act.

Foundation for Government Accountability – Champion of Children Award

The Foundation for Government Accountability presented Parker with the 2016 Champion of Children Award “to honor his effort to protect Mississippi’s at-risk children and keep them out of foster care.” In 2016, Parker authored the “Supporting and Strengthening Families Act” which provides a mechanism for a family based alternative to foster care. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant.

“Leaders like Parker will save thousands of children from suffering through a short-term family issue like homelessness, unemployment, hospitalization, or whatever other challenges life presents. Since parents retain full rights under Parker’s plan, the children can avoid the tumult of foster care and families can be reunited more quickly at no cost to taxpayers,” FGA said its announcement of the award. Tarren Bragdon, CEO of FGA said, “Leaders like Senator Parker realize that Mississippi’s children and parents deserve a better alternative, and they are working on creating protections for families that ask for help and for the families that step up to offer it.”

Mississippi Municipal League – Friend of Municipal Government Legislative Award

The Mississippi Municipal League recently presented Parker with the “Friend of Municipal Government Legislative Award” for his efforts to improve funding for local infrastructure needs. This year, Parker authored a bi-partisan bill which would have increased infrastructure funding for municipalities by $42 million statewide after a three-year phase-in without increasing taxes. Parker said he would continue working with the MML to advance this conservative approach to improving local infrastructure.

Senator Parker was also recently recognized as a “Business Champion” by BIPEC (Business and Industry Political Education Committee) for an “A” rating on pro-job creation votes, and an “A” grade by Americans for Prosperity Mississippi on their 2016 Economic Freedom Scorecard on legislative votes.