By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS and JEFF AMY
JACKSON — The Mississippi Legislature has started its 2015 session.
The 122-member House and 52-member Senate gaveled to order at noon Tuesday at the state Capitol.
During the next three months, lawmakers will consider bills to shape public policy for education, health care, transportation and other issues.
They face a deadline in late March to finish writing a $6.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
More than 100 opponents of the Common Core academic standards gathered for a brief meeting before the Legislature opened, part of lobbying day meant to encourage lawmakers to reject continued use of the standards in Mississippi’s public schools.
Speaking to a crowd heavy with tea party activists, the Rev. C. L. Bryant repeated the idea that Common Core constitutes a federal takeover of local education systems.
“You may want to relate Common Core to Obamacare,” said Bryant, who is affiliated with FreedomWorks, a Washington, D.C. group that supports tea party causes including lower spending and reduced regulation. “It is a government takeover not of our medical system, but of our schools — the hearts and minds of our children.”
Though the federal government has urged states to adopt Common Core, a gathering of state officials and private groups wrote the standards. In Mississippi, the choice of what to teach to meet the standards has been left to local districts.
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