Ranking the Issues

Mississippi Today, a free internet news service, recently ranked the most important issues facing legislators during the current session. There are some doozies in the list. Some reflect short term interests; others will affect public policy for a decade or more. How do you rank them? Why?

Here’s the list, by the way: medical marijuana, teacher pay raise, redistricting, abolition of the income tax, spending American Rescue Plan funds from the federal government, critical race theory bills, Medicaid expansion, and reforming the ballot initiative process.

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11 Responses to Ranking the Issues

  1. Arika Gardner says:

    I rank these bills in order of:
    -Medicaid expansion
    -American Rescue Plan funds
    -Reforming the ballot initiative process
    -Abolition of the income tax
    -Teacher pay raise
    – Medical Marijuana
    -Critical Race Theory

    Critical Race Theory is at the bottom because Mississippi legislators do not truly know what critical race theory is, so the bill is not only unnecessary, but ineffective. There are more problems to take care of like the homeless population, orphan reforms, and poverty rates. I do feel like they should redraw districts before giving teachers a pay raise. Makes it easier to determine specifically where they teacher and different districts receive different funds due to property taxes. Medicaid expansion is super important. Everyone is not equipped to pay insurance or medical bills out of pocket. Those with children and cannot full support them financially will need medicaid. I truly do not care what they do with medicated marijuana, because people will continue to use it whether they make it legal or not.

  2. India White says:

    I rank the bills in the following order:
    -American Rescue Plan Funds
    -Critical Race Theory
    -Teacher Pay Raise
    -Reforming the ballot Initiative Process
    -Abolition of the Income Tax
    – Medicaid Expansion
    -Medical Marijuana

    The spending of American Rescue Plan Funds is at the top of my list because most of these topics depend on how we spend these funds. Critical Race Theory is in my top three because I believe that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. The black experience in Mississippi is a huge part of the state’s history and I do not see any reason why this subject should not even be offered to the students of Mississippi. Even though it is a hard subject to discuss it is a topic that absolutely must be discussed. Teacher’s pay raise is at the top of my list because out of the many branches that stem from the American Rescue Plan Funds this is the topic that warrants the most attention. After teaching through the pandemic and facing many other issues that COVID 19 has caused in the classroom, teachers deserve to be paid more. They have proven their importance to society, and it is time for us to show our gratitude. The fight to reenact the ballot initiative process is in my top 5 because I believe it is important for citizens to have a voice in the policies and bills that are passed. If you take away the voice of the people, we are one step closer to communism. Redistricting is also in my top 5 because it is a lot more complicated than which students go to which schools. By dividing democratic districts into smaller pieces these individual districts will have less power than what they once had as one big district. Abolition of income tax is toward the bottom of my list because either way you will be taxed whether by liquor and entertainment or income tax the result is the same. Medicaid is ranked at the bottom of my list because I do not see anything wrong with the Medicaid system as it already is. Medical Marijuana is at the bottom of my list it does not matter what legal provisions you have around the drug; it will always be available to citizens.

  3. Bill Arnoldus says:

    1.) Medicaid expansion
    2.) American Rescue Plan funds from the federal government
    3.) Medical Marijuana
    4.) Teacher pay raise
    5.) Redistricting
    6.) Abolition of the Income Tax
    7.) Critical Race Theory Bills
    8.) Reforming the ballot initiative process

    I don’t know anything about politics so my opinion is ill informed or not informed at all. The only two cents I can give is that I see people underestimating the impact of legalizing medical marijuana. A person can legally be charged with drug trafficking if they share marijuana with a friend. Drug trafficking is a felony and can be charged with 3 years to a lifetime in prison depending on the amount of drug is involved and other circumstances. Making medical marijuana legal can change the outcomes of a lot of prison sentences.

  4. sephora poteau says:

    – Medicaid
    – Rescue Plan
    – Ballots
    – Redistricting
    – Abolishing income tax & The Teacher Pay Raise
    – Marijuana
    – CRT
    I ranked these in what I believe is their importance. Medicaid is at the top because thousands of Mississippians who need health insurance because their jobs do not provide it as a benefit would receive health insurance. As corona-virus gains a higher presence in our communities, it is important for free healthcare to be distributed to people who cannot afford to go to the hospital during times like these.
    The Rescue plan is second because a wrong decision for where these funds should go can ruin the state economy. The ballots are third because the directly affect the public’s decision making processes. This will change how our voices will be heard in government. The reason why this is not higher is because more pressing issues (like COVID-19) lead me to rank this lower.
    Redistricting is important because many could get reelected into the House, when they are not supposed to because of the wrong allocation of area. Abolishing the income tax is fifth(with teacher pay) on the list because the abolishing of income tax within Mississippi could be where the teachers get their money. Many know that teachers do not get paid enough, especially in Mississippi Paying teachers higher could help teachers in Mississippi have a better quality of life.
    Medical marijuana is second to last on the list because I feel like there are more pressing issues. CRT is last on the list because they put it on the docket to combat something that they do not even know how to explain.

  5. -American Rescue Plan
    -Ballot initiative process reform
    -Medical marijuana
    -Teacher pay raise
    -Medicaid expansion
    -Critical race theory bills
    -Abolition of the income tax

    I’d like to start this off by saying that this ranking was definitely hard to make. I chose to make the top 3 the American Rescue Plan, Redistricting, and Ballot initiative process reform because I believe these are all 3 things that we could do now and get out of the way. Redistricting wouldn’t do anything but adjust the electoral college votes that every state gets in the election. Adjusting or tightening down on the Ballot Initiative Process would only make casting and counting votes for the 2024 election that much smoother because we all know how many alleged shenanigans went on during the 2020 election on both sides. As far as the American Rescue Plan, the sooner we start allocating and budgeting the funds to make sure they go into where they’ll make the most beneficial impact, the better.

    Medical marijuana should just get legalized nationally already, I mean c’mon bruh. It affects your body very similarly to alcohol and even has pain-relieving benefits. Also. I’d just like to express that I decided to rank medical marijuana over raising the teacher salary because I think it’d be way easier to pass medical marijuana and we could just knock it off the list entirely.

    I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t really know where to place Medicaid expansion and CRT bills. I think it’s going to be a long time until we’d be able to expand the reach of Medicaid no matter how beneficial it may be. Going from Medicaid to CRT, I’ve never really understood what the importance of teaching CRT in classes would be. I believe that classes such as US and world history do a good enough job at providing students with an idea of the impact that different races have had on modern society.

    Now for the very bottom of the list; the abolition of the income tax. I believe that the main reason for people wanting to get rid of the income tax is that the reason we created the tax is because of the civil war, and the US needed a way to pay for the military. Some may argue that since we aren’t in a war, we shouldn’t need to pay an income tax. That statement could not be any more false. The US has been nearly constantly at war for the past several hundred years. As of an hour ago from writing this blog, Russia has sent troops to the Ukraine border which has prompted the US to send troops in response.

  6. Jon+Kiesel says:

    1. Abolition of Income Tax
    2. Medicaid expansion
    3. Teacher Pay
    4. American Rescue Plan Funds
    5. Ballot Initiative
    6. CRT
    7. Redistricting
    8. Medical Marijuana

    If it’s not clear to you with the first 3 items on my list, I’ll make it clear now: I care about money!!

    In all seriousness though, the first few would largely effect the middle class within Mississippi, including my parents and soon to be myself. Teacher pay is also very important to make sure that the next generation becomes very well educated and productive. Covid-19, while I can still live as it goes on, seems kind of ridiculous that it’s been going on for this long. The Ballot Initiative process getting improved seems like the right step for legislature to make, especially for the new voters in the future. Everything else, I don’t think will have much of an effect whether we advocate it or not, and medical marijuana is for crazy people anyway.

  7. Jeremy Dawe says:

    1. American Rescue Plan
    2. Medicaid
    3. Teacher Pay Raise
    4. Redistricting
    5. Medical Marijuana
    6. Abolition of income tax
    7. Ballot initiative
    8. Critical Race Theory

    The American Rescue Plan was meant to provide emergency relief for small buisnesses and bring back jobs. It obviously has to be atop of this list because it is the most time-sensitive issue. Mississippi consistenly ranks last, or near last, in healthcare, or other health related issues, showing that this state desperately needs to introduce changes to health care. Mississippi also ranks amongst the bottommost states in education, and increasing teacher pay has been shownn to increase student performance. Redistricting is done every ten years, and while is not vital to improving Mississippi, it is essential to ensuring the districts reflect how Mississippi has changed in the past ten years. Medical Marijuana is something that needs to be approved, however it is not as time sensitive as other things on this list, as it has been studied and debated over for decades. The abolition of income tax has interesting arguments for both sides, especically the effect on the economy. However, it is not as time sensitive, nor as important for a state like Mississippi with bigger issues. Ballot Initiative is simply not as important as the issues above it. CRT is neither a massively time sensitive or impactful issue, as it is a take on how race has affected our society and can easily be researched by those that are intersted in such topics.

  8. Hong Zheng says:

    I rank these bills in order of ( most important to least)
    – Medicaid expansion
    – Teacher pay raise
    – American Rescue Plan Funds
    – Critical Race Theory
    -Abolition of the income tax
    – Reforming Ballot
    – Medicaid Marijuana

    I ranked Medicaid expansion first because thousands of Mississippians are in need of health insurance. When on the subject of life or death or just the overall contentment of life, why should money be an issue? Everyone should have access to healthcare, especially during this global pandemic.

    I ranked teacher pay raise second because teachers are underlooked in our society. They quite literally build the future for us. Yes, a doctor might save hundreds of lives, but who built this doctor’s foundation? Teachers. While I do think teachers are underlooked and underpaid, I also think teachers should undergo a more tedious and strict test in order to apply to be a teacher. While all teachers might be smart, some are unable to connect with students nor do they have the passion for teaching. For example, I have dealt with multiple teachers being sports coaches who gave no cents for teaching. My point is that the criteria for a teacher must be higher.

    Finally, I ranked the America Rescue Plan funds third because of the relief it provides for small businesses and the breather it can bring especially in this pandemic .

  9. Jay De Ochoa says:

    I rank these bills as:
    1. Medicaid expansion
    2. reforming the ballot initiative process
    3. critical race theory
    4. Medical marijuana
    5. Teacher pay raise
    6. American rescue plan
    7. abolition of the income tax
    8. redistricting

    Medicaid expansion is at the top of my list because I feel that healthcare is a basic human right. It’s disgusting to think that people believe that money is the equivalence of leading a healthy life. I am lucky enough to have parents that are in mostly healthy conditions and I cannot imagine how difficult my life and theirs would be if that was not the case. After Medicaid expansion, I listed reform for the ballot initiative. It is virtually impossible for the government to make good choices if citizens are not able to express their ideas, concerns, and wants. Thus, it should be an extremely easy process to vote. The critical race theory was in my top three because the history of America is incomplete without the perspective of the individuals who experienced the worst of it. Students are at a disadvantage if they do not understand the importance of race in America. It is a huge part of the lives of many Americans and it cannot simply be ignored.
    Additionally, I wanted to mention that I placed medical marijuana above teacher pay raise because I think that making it legal in Mississippi would allow for certain incarcerated individuals to be let out of jail. It is terrible that they are behind bars for marijuana-related issues. That said, teachers are the backbone of society and without them, it would be astronomically more difficult to pass down important knowledge.

  10. Laya says:

    1. Medicaid Expansion
    2. Teacher Pay Raise
    3. Rescue Plan
    4. Ballot
    5. Medical Marijuana
    6. Income tax
    7. Redistricting
    8. Critical Race Theory

    My number one is Medicaid expansion because I believe that healthcare should be a human right. I mean, seeing the bills after just getting out of surgery could put someone into so much shock. It is a necessity. People are not just money bags. It is absolutely evil putting people who cannot afford such costly procedures at risk of death just because they do not have the money.

    Teacher Pay Raise is my number two because I believe that teachers are the backbone of this country. They teach the best minds of today. I mean, Bill Gates, had to have learned his skills from someone. They are so overlooked, and they must be compensated for all the work they do.

    Critical Race theory is at the bottom just because, first of all, I don’t even think they themselves understand it, but if they wanted to, it is an easy google search. It is all there for the people that want to be educated.

  11. Hangila Ceesay says:

    1) American Rescue Plan
    -I put this bill at the top of the list because I think that this could be extremely beneficial to Mississippians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mississippi is already a tremendously impoverished state, and many people have suffered in a variety of ways. It could also help with public health efforts in Mississippi. This would be particularly beneficial in ensuring that hospitals in the state are equipped with the necessary materials to ensure proper care of patients and that staff has the materials to care for said patients as the pandemic progresses, especially if there is another surge in infection rates.

    2) Critical Race Theory
    -This bill is second on my list because the subject is important to me in particular. While it is extremely evident that most Mississippi politicians are completely unaware of what Critical Race Theory entails, a rejection of the bill could possibly bring more attention to it, prompting lawmakers to make a greater effort to learn what CRT is and hopefully pass the bill at a speedier rate. Additionally, the expected initial rejection of the bill could expose how oblivious Mississippi’s lawmakers choose to be toward race relations.

    3) Redistricting
    -This bill is my third choice because this could help move the state toward eradicating some of the effects that Gerrymandering has over the state’s politics, and thus possibly also possibly allowing the state to move away from its legacy of being a Republican state. This could greatly benefit African American communities that are underrepresented in the state, as it is the state with the highest percentage of African Americans (if you exclude the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia).

    4) Medicaid expansion
    -This expansion could greatly increase the number of Mississippians that have access to health insurance. Being a state that has the highest poverty rate in the entire country, healthcare should be widely available for us, as we are more susceptible to diseases that often have to go untreated due to a lack of resources. I think this would be great in helping address the severe health issues that are rampant within the state.

    5) Reforming the Ballot Initiative Process
    – This one is also important like the previously listed bills, but I think it can be more of an afterthought, especially to bills that desire to incite political reformations within the state. This one goes toward the lower half of the list because it would definitely make the experience of giving voters a more hands on experience legitimate. Otherwise, there is no significance in letting voters believe they have more voting powers while not upholding said powers.

    6) Teacher Pay Raise
    -This is quite obviously a bill that needs to be passed, as teachers within the state barely make livable wages. It is too often that teachers have to take on additional jobs when they already have to do so much in their careers they went through rigorous schooling for. However, a major raise could possibly take away from relief funds, especially since we are experiencing a pandemic. I think that this is definitely a bill that needs to be passed soon due to its high importance, it should be held off slightly longer than bills due to their urgency.

    7) Abolition of Income Tax
    -This bill is one that is extremely complex, and due to the timing with other financial reformation in this state, it is one that does not have as much significance as the rest. While the government does not significantly benefit from direct taxes as much as indirect ones, I think there are better ways to collect more revenue in the state, if that is what lawmakers are seeking to do. One option could be to impose higher tax rates for those who make a certain income to provide for the state’s finances, but I think reevaluating this entirely could simply be unhelpful in the long run, leading me to think that the bill has less significance than the others.

    8) Medical Marijuana
    -While this could obviously be of great benefit to those that would use marijuana to treat their chronic pain, I think this bill holds the least weight in the state’s current climate. There is a more important medical-related bill that could be addressed first, and this seems to be a bill that will not directly affect all Mississippians with its passing.

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