Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Don't let the door hit ya.....

Mississippi survived yet another session of the legislature.  The House and Senate both issued statements today: 


SENATE ENDS 2018 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Public safety, foster care, education see increases in conservative budget

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves gaveled the end of the legislative session today after the Legislature passed an approximate $6 billion budget that funds critical state services and new laws to encourage job creation. The Legislature also passed a practical bond plan that invests in universities, community colleges, and deficient bridges across the state.

“Working with Governor Bryant and Speaker Gunn, I believe we have a conservative spending plan that saves for a rainy day and increases funds for critical areas,” Lt. Gov. Reeves. “Our state’s economic performance has shown improvement, which allowed us to invest more tax dollars in those priorities that result in positive outcomes like the School Recognition Program and putting more troopers on the road.”

The budget for Fiscal 2019, which begins July 1, supports the majority of agencies at levels similar to the current budget year. Some increases were given to emphasize legislative priorities, including the areas of public safety, foster care, education and infrastructure.

The budget also sets aside the required 2 percent of general fund revenues in the state’s rainy day fund.
Several needs cited by law enforcement and first responder communities will be met under the new budget plan, including:
·         $1.2 million in state support for the hiring of more medical examiners at the state crime lab. The move, a $713,000 increase, can help address a backlog of work at division and move cases faster through the court system.
·         $3 million to continue the relocation of the Department of Public Safety to Rankin County, which places the agency near the fire academy and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
·         $3.7 million for MEMA, an amount the agency says enables them to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.
·         $5 million for a trooper school to add to the ranks of the state highway patrol.
·         $4.5 million to help rural fire departments acquire new fire trucks.
·         $5 million for the Mississippi Military Department to invest in armories that draw down significant federal funds, such as the proposal to construct a new National Guard armory in Desoto County to replace an outdated facility.

The fiscal plan also funds the Department of Mental Health at their FY 2019 funding request to assist the agency in continuing to defend a federal lawsuit and increase community-based care. 

Child Protective Services and the Department of Human Services also will receive an additional $42 million to improve the foster care system and comply with a federal judicial settlement. Legislation also passed to enable better coordination between Child Protective Services and the Department of Human Services, which can help those agencies place more children in permanent homes.  

All levels of education funding increased in the new budget.

The School Recognition Program will see an approximate $5 million increase. The program rewards teachers in schools that improve a letter grade or maintain an ‘A’ or ‘B’ rating. Early childhood education collaboratives will see $6.5 million to support an initiative recognized nationally as a model program. 

The Mississippi Adequate Education Program was funded at more than $2.2 billion, which includes support for rising insurance costs. 

Universities will see a continuation of Ayers funding, plus an additional $6.4 million to programs like student financial aid and general support budgets. Community colleges saw a slight increase, with funding at $237.5 million for the upcoming budget year. 

The Legislature also passed bonds to fund repairs and improvements at universities, community and junior colleges and state facilities. Universities received $82 million in bonding for critical rehabilitation and repairs and other campus priorities, and community and junior colleges received $25 million for similar needs.

The Legislature also took steps to address the state’s broad infrastructure needs. A bond bill included funds for improving water and sewer systems through the departments of Health and Environmental Quality. The bill has $50 million in bonds for the local system bridge program, which covers repairs of bridges in critical need statewide.
“I recognize Mississippi has real needs when it comes to ensuring roads and bridges are maintained, and I am hopeful the Legislature can continue conversations and find a solution,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “Reliable infrastructure is key to the state’s economy both in attracting investment and helping Mississippi businesses move products to market.”

Lt. Gov. Reeves reiterated his promise to make the state and its job creators competitive in the marketplace. He supported several new laws, including a bill to allow local community investment in economic development projects to enhance the state’s competitiveness regionally. 

He also supported a bill to help farmers seek tax relief for damages during natural disasters. 

Lt. Gov. Reeves also continued his focus helping Mississippi families and making the state the safest place in America for an unborn child. One new law provides a tax credit for Mississippians who adopt foster children or contribute to organizations that serve the state’s neediest children. The Legislature also passed a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation.


Speaker Philip Gunn Recaps 2018 Legislative Session
The House Wraps Up Session Passing Strong Infrastructure, Education and Medicaid Votes;
Sound Budget
Today, the Mississippi House of Representatives officially voted to “Sine Die,” which marks the end of the 2018 Regular Legislative Session. During the course of the session, we welcomed five new members and left four days early, saving taxpayer dollars.

Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

The final budget number agreed upon by both House and Senate members comes in around $6 billion. The state’s revenues are essentially flat. 

The following figures compare to the FY 2018 State Support level of funding and do not include deficits:

·                     K-12 Education--$2.48 billion total, an approximate $4.1 million increase
·                     IHL Universities--$669 million total, an approximate $266,000 decrease 
·                     Community and Junior Colleges--$237.5 million total, an approximate $300,000  
            increase
·                     Department of Health--$59.3 million total, an approximate $2.3 million increase
·                     Department of Mental Health--$226.9 million total, an approximate $238,000 increase
·                     Division of Medicaid--$917 million, an approximate $1.7 million decrease
·                     Department of Public Safety--$86.8 million, an approximate $2.3 million increase

Of note, in the Department of Public Safety’s budget, the bill increases funds to add more medical examiners and a small trooper school.

Bond negotiations between the House and Senate succeeded this year. In order to raise funds, bonds are often issued. Bonds are often necessary to help fund large projects with the intent to repay the debts over time.

This year’s bond package totals $250 million and will go toward funding various projects with statewide impact: $50 million to the Local System Bridge Repair and Rehabilitation Program (LSBP); $82.5 million for universities; $25 million for community colleges; $45 million for Ingalls; $40 million for the Department of Finance and Administration. The package would further provide money for loan programs for small cities and counties to assist with sewer and water projects. 

Additional legislation passed that will reduce the fee in lieu from $100 million to $20 million, allowing counties an additional economic development tool to attract new businesses.

Infrastructure

Maintaining our roads & bridges is a fundamental role of government that House members are passionate about supporting. We have led the charge over the last several years to direct real money to cities and counties to assist with road and infrastructure repair. Early in the session, the House offered the Senate several proposals offering solutions. All House proposals were met with an unwillingness of the Senate to negotiate.

The House adopted a stronger version of the Building Roads, Improving Development and Growing the Economy Act (BRIDGE) passed earlier by the Senate.

“Our plan uses real money, without growth triggers, to address this pressing issue faced over the entire state,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. “As we have said before, our attempt with this legislation was one of the best things we could have done for local government.”

The House bill made strides on the local and state levels for infrastructure improvements. But ultimately, the Senate would not compromise. Their version would not help cities and counties with real money. The House version recommended a use-tax, which is already gathered from sales tax collected on any out-of-state purchases, including those made online. Approximately $310 million was collected last year. The new diversion will divert 35 percent of use tax collections, which is approximately $108 million by today’s estimates, to cities and counties for road and bridge repair.

The Senate insisted on a one-to-one match for new dollars and cities having “skin in the game.” Cities would only get credit for new money. They would have to address true core functions of government through layoffs or the raising of taxes.

“Until we can get a bill that addresses all the needs in the state, we will stand firm,” said Speaker Gunn. “In the eyes of House members, cities and counties already have ‘skin in the game.’ This is your money, and the House has been intent on diverting it back for road and infrastructure needs.”

In addition to the $50 million secured for the LSBP, both chambers adopted legislation that if general fund revenue growth is more than two percent, 50 percent of that growth (up to $100 million annually) will go toward infrastructure improvements: 60 percent will be sent to MDOT for road and bridge repair; 25 percent for county roads and bridges; and 15 percent for city roads and bridges.

Health

In a landmark move, the House passed House bill 1510, the 15-week abortion ban. This bill will provide protections for women and unborn children by prohibiting abortions at or later than 15 weeks gestation. With the passage of HB1510, Mississippi has adopted the strongest pro-life legislation in the country.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a joint state and federal insurance program.  The federal government places regulations on the program, which requires states to provide
certain services within their program.

The “Medicaid Tech Bill” is legislation the legislature passed years ago that mandates certain optional services the Division of Medicaid, a part of the executive branch of government, must offer. Every so often, including this year, the tech bill comes up for renewal.

This year, members adopted legislation that mandates the managed care companies, which represent about 70 percent of Medicaid patients, pay the same reimbursement rate as the legislature-set rates for Medicaid. Other changes include reimbursements for treatment of opioid dependency, payment options for small rural hospitals with 50 or fewer licensed beds and the creation of a study committee to determine the effects of a potential five percent reduction in reimbursements in hopes of lowering Medicaid costs.

As the face of healthcare constantly evolves, Medicaid must also keep up with the changes. As a result, members determined that the director of the Division should have some leeway in determining the details of some services that are covered: the number of physician visits, prescriptions drugs, emergency medical transportation services, pharmacy services, dental services.

Education

Education is a priority for the Legislature every year. We devote more than half of our budget to education. The House passed sound legislation early in the Session to adopt a new funding formula for public education in Mississippi.  The Mississippi Uniform Per Student Funding Formula Act of 2018 ultimately died on the Senate floor.

“I commend the House members who voted in favor of this solid legislation at the beginning of session,” said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. “They recognized that our children are a priority. I am very disappointed that the Senate missed the opportunity to provide our school children a better funding mechanism.

“Those senators who did not support the legislation failed to do what is best for the students,” he continued. “They let the politics of public education get in the way of our students. We can argue about the dollar amount all day long, but no one can refute that this was a better way to fund education.”

The current funding formula was written almost two decades ago and has not kept up with the needs of the classroom of the 21st Century. We passed legislation to move toward a student-centered funding formula that would consider the needs of all students. Enactment of this legislation would have created a new formula with the following parameters:
  • Base student cost set at $4,800, with additional weights added for specific student needs: special education for the different tiers, English language learners, gifted students, low income and high school. 
  • Funding based on average daily membership (ADM, enrollment figures would be monitored three times a year), rather than average daily attendance (ADA).
  • Methods for consistent, accessible reporting.
The House leadership had three priorities this session: send real money to cities and counties for road and bridge repair; rewrite the education funding formula and reauthorize Medicaid. The House succeeded in passing all these measures.

###
 

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed Joel Bomgar's weekly updates reminding me that the legislature knocked off on Thursday afternoons in order to save the people of Mississippi money. Can we get a group choir together to hummm 'bullshit'?

Anonymous said...

"Funding based on average daily membership (ADM, enrollment figures would be monitored three times a year), rather than average daily attendance (ADA)." Those in the know will attest that THIS is the main reason that the attempted "rewrite" of MAEP didn't pass....the proposal (above) would have allowed the attendance numbers to be more deeply hidden and manipulated by administrators who are desperately trying to hide the pink elephant that everyone is aware of, but wouldn't dare speak it aloud - the dark reality of chronic absenteeism in all levels of education. There's probably a half-billion in wasted dollars due to students not coming to class, not to mention the poor educational outcomes meant to prepare them for the higher education or the workforce. Oh, they "complete" alright...but students often report missing 30-50 days in a school year....yet then they're allowed "alternative" or "make-up" work, OR "extra-credit" assignments that don't even come close to their time missed. It's all a government scam of the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Why have we settled for mediocrity? People ridicule... why aren’t we pissed off.

Anonymous said...

This session is a good example of why we could really save a lot of money by only having them meet every other year. I’m glad they left early on all those days, but a couple hundred thousand is only a drop in the bucket. Look at all of our money they spent up there.

Anonymous said...

While I disagree with many democratic policies I do admire their ability in getting through the legislature. These republicans could organize a trip to the bathroom. I think that republicans will not be defeated by Democratic Party ideas but by the lack of their inaction.

Anonymous said...


We haven't settled for mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

"We haven't settled for mediocrity. "

That's right. Nothing in Mississippi is good enough to be rated "mediocre"

Anonymous said...

How many of those who complain about the elected officials have ever run for public office? If you don't like how things are being managed, then get off your ass and run!

Anonymous said...

Good points by 12:02am and 2:37am

There is nothing "mediocre" about Mississippi, this state has a lot of work to do in order to reach "mediocre" and we have a lot of work to do because we keep electing ideologues to office.

We don't need another social policy passed in this state, we need pragmatic brick and mortar legislation. We need to look at logistics in Mississippi for goods and services. Look at the states branding. Look at what our neighbors are doing right and what they are doing wrong.

They spent an arm and leg studying the lotteries in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee notating that our residents are going to those states to play lottery, but yet they didn't do anything to pass a lottery this session?

The citizens in this state need to stop spinning their wheels in the mud, decide that enough is enough, and start questioning whether or not real issues and concerns are being addressed each session.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn’t become a part of that hypocritical worthless piece of shit y’all call a legislature if someone gave it to me. It’s ridiculous. I listened Tuesday to Terry C Burton talk about a bill aimed at drunk drivers. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the same Terry C that used the “cough syrup” defense to get out of his own driving under the influence charge. Pathetic. These are the facts-the R have a SUPER MAJORITY & still can’t get shit done. They come in at 4:00 on Monday (so they get paid for a full days work AND get a full days meals and housing AND they leave on Fridays at 9 am so they can do the same. One question-Who gets to come to work for 5 minutes and get paid for a full day twice a week??? Wake up Mississippi. Our worst criminals aren’t at Parchman. We elected them to represent us.

Anonymous said...

“...but by their lack of inaction...”.
I’m not a grammar Nazi and not trying to be a smart ass,
But would that qualify for a double negative? Shouldn’t it be either, “by their inaction”, or
“Their lack of action”?
🤔

Anonymous said...

"These republicans could organize a trip to the bathroom. I think that republicans will not be defeated by Democratic Party ideas but by the lack of their inaction."

Don't you want to work on that post a bit?

Anonymous said...

Another example of the idiocracy that is Mississippi, you have a former MS Supreme Court justice running Child Protection Services. HOW on earth could he possibly know what he's doing? He has zero understanding of operations of that kind of organization. He's just another political appointee....from where you say? Of course, Oxford - as so many do nothings are.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats had a SUPER MAJORITY in both the House and Senate for SOOOOOOO LONG and what did it get us? Yes, yes, yes. Wake up Mississippi and remember which political party GOT US IN THIS BIG ASS MESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Anonymous said...

What a Charlie Foxtrot. And to think we pay these clowns for doing squat. Highways going to crap: no action. Majority of voters want to at least vote on a lottery: no action. Abortion Bill: How much is it going to cost in legal fees to defend this? In the last 7 years the populist “Tea Baggers” have run this state into the ground. And yes, I’m pro-life and a Republican and live in the reddest county in the state. If I didn’t still have my business here, I’d be gone from here tomorrow.
If I ran for that swamp I’d lose because I’ve only lived in the county for 26 years and don’t go to the right church. And I have a conscience, which would make me unqualified. I’m too old to run, but not too old to work to get my so-called representatives a new job come next election cycle. And Tater Tot, that goes especially for you!

Anonymous said...

635, far be it from me to defend all the actions of the legislature, but the attack on them fir starting on Monday at 4, etal, is shortsighted.

We,are supposed to have a citizen legislature. Granted, there are some members who don't have another real job, but many do. And most don't live here in the metro area as you probably do.

For those that live in Tupelo, or Southhaven, or Clarksdale, or Pascagpula, or McLain etc they have a long drive to get here. For those that have a real job, they need to go by their office, or store, whatever, on that Monday morning before leaving for the week. Would you suggest that they should have to leave their family on Sunday afternoon and drive to Jackson (adding another of the days you want to bitch about that they would get paid per diem) so that they could,all be here ready to start Monday morning as you suggest? Same for Fridays - they have to get home - to work, to family, to kids program at school, to constitutents at volunteer fire dept, etc.

Bitch all you want about laws they pass or don't pass - but recognI've that for many of those legislators they are three, four, even six hours away and do have another life besidesign their part time job in the Capitol.

Anonymous said...

9:25
What a load.
It's 4 hours from Corinth to Jackson. Can't get much farther away than that. Three hours to Tunica. To say that there are places 6 hours away is a flat-out lie.
They could leave early enough to start at 10:00 a.m. on Monday and work until 3:00 on Friday. You know, like those in the real world have to do.
They were well aware of what "their part time job in the Capitol" required. Save the Crocodile tears for another day. Those two days of per diem, for no work, would get you fired from a real job.

Anonymous said...

You cannot drive from Bay St Louis to Jackson in four hours. Or from Pascagoula. But even at four hours, you left out the other part of the equation - these folks shouldn't have to totally ignore their personal businesses - be it a professional practice, a business, or their far just to satisfy your desire that they work all day on Monday and Friday. Maybe they would like to have one day they could take their kids to scool on Monday morning before they left for the week - but you think they should leave their house at 6 to work what you think is appropriate. This is a part time position, and in my humble opinion I want it to stay that way - I want the lawyer or businessman from Jackson County, or Hancock County, or the insurance agent from Southhaven or Corinth, to continue to work in their busineSS more so than I am worried about their being at their desks Monday morning or Friday afternoon.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:14 AMEN! AMEN!

Anonymous said...

PASS THE DAMN LOTTERY BILL YOU IDIOTS!!!

I am so sick of our small minded legislature I can't even think straight. We could pay for some of these things that need funding (education, roads) with the simple passage of a lottery bill. I know it won't take care of 100% of the funding, but damn at least it would be a start.

Anonymous said...

11:28
Bullshit. I drive from here to Pascagoula and Bay St Louis frequently and it most definitely does not take 4 hours.

Anonymous said...

The one that take 6 hours need to get a younger horse.

Anonymous said...

I'd be out of this backwards ass state in two minutes if my job wasn't keeping me here.

Anonymous said...

Let's have a little fun and all agree to vote against every incumbent regardless of party, race, sex, age, hair color, etc. Throw the f*cking bums out. That will send a message.

Anonymous said...

Yes, vote them all out, regardless of party. It's the only way to shake things loose.

Anonymous said...

Hey narrow-minded dumbass legislators what a another
waste of time and money. No wonder, in the 68 years I've
been around we stay dead last! Time to think with an open mind.

Here is what you should have done.

1. Get rid of the flag!
More attractive to outside business
and tourists

2.Lottery
46 other states doing it, something must be positive about it.

3.Recreational Marijuana
you have the most fertile land in the nation. The only thing that would bring in enough taxes to where we could finally have some good roads and other infrastructure problems.

But no we are more concerned about drivers in the left lane going to slow. Not voting for any of you come election, as if that's seems to make difference in this forever 50th state.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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