Gov. Phil Bryant marked his 100th day in office by making an economic development announcement in Adams County. Bryant joined officials from two companies -- The Blain Companies and Fores Canada Inc. -- to announce a business agreement that will create about 60 new energy-related jobs in Natchez.
The two companies are partnering to produce and strengthen frac sand. Frac sand is used by the oil and gas industry for hydraulic fracturing of conventional and unconventional reservoirs, such as shale wells, to enhance oil and natural gas recovery.
"I applaud Blain for expanding its Mississippi operations and am pleased to welcome Fores to our state," Gov. Bryant said. "Together, these two companies are creating 60 jobs for the residents of southwest Mississippi. I am grateful for their confidence in our workforce and their investment in our state, and they will play a vital role in expanding our energy economy."
Blain, which currently maintains quarry operations in Natchez, is expanding with the launch of a new business division, Magnolia Frac Sand LLC. The new company will produce frac sand for Fores Canada Inc.'s new division, Fores Frac Sand LLC, to be located in Natchez. Another new division of Fores Canada Inc., Fores Resin Coat LLC, will strengthen some of the frac sand by coating it with resin.
Fores is also installing a handling facility and a loading and storage facility in Natchez. Blain is investing $7 million in Magnolia Frac Sand, and Fores is investing $27 million into its Mississippi entry.
Bryant says today's announcement is the type of story he'd like the members of his new Mississippi Works committee to share as they spread the word about Mississippi's attractiveness as a business-friendly state.
"Mississippi works, plain and simple," Gov. Bryant said. "I ask companies all the time why they chose Mississippi, and the answer is always the same: our state has a pro-business atmosphere, and Mississippians are hard workers who make excellent employees."
Bryant said during his inaugural address that his first job was to make sure every Mississippian that wanted a job had a job, and during his first 100 days in office, the governor has worked to ensure that Mississippi establishes a pro-growth climate.
In his inaugural State of the State address, Bryant outlined 31 new initiatives that would shape his administration, and many of those initiatives have become components of his legislative agenda.
The House and Senate have each passed versions of Bryant's dual enrollment measure. House Bill 864 and Senate Bill 2792 are part of Bryant's Mississippi Works package and aim to transition potential high school dropouts into community and junior college workforce training programs. Each chamber has also considered and passed the other's version of the bill, and the two bodies will agree on a final version of the measure soon.
The Mississippi Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Act (Senate Bill 2398), also part of the Mississippi Works package, has been transmitted to Gov. Bryant to be signed into law.
"I will not stand for job-killing regulations, and I look forward to signing this bill that helps create an environment where small businesses can flourish," Bryant said.
Bryant has also advocated energy and health care as two sectors that will drive Mississippi's economic development.
House members will consider Senate revisions to House Bill 1330, Bryant's Energy and Sustainability Act of 2012. The legislation aims to drive development in the energy industry by creating efficiency incentives for businesses, establishing innovation and collaboration through the Biomass Center for Excellence and curbing state energy costs by implementing a statewide energy efficiency plan.
Both chambers of the Legislature have also passed the Health Care Industry Zone Act (House Bill 1537) and will work to agree on a final version of the bill. The legislation incents health-care-related businesses to create new, full-time jobs in designated health care zones.
Additional milestones from Gov. Bryant's first 100 days in office:
Announced that Mississippi and Stennis Space Center would establish the National Oceans and Applications Research Center. NOARC will be a "Woods Hole of the South" and will create economic opportunities by supplying entrepreneurs with "space to sea floor" data about the Gulf of Mexico and other warm water oceans.
Continues to lead efforts to expand the Port of Gulfport and deepen its shipping channel in anticipation of the expansion of the Panama Canal.
With the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, announced new, post-BP disaster restoration efforts to rehab oyster beds and artificial reefs in the Gulf.
Created the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Task Force and issued a plan to reduce teen pregnancy in Mississippi by 15 percent by 2017.
Both chambers are working toward a final version of House Bill 16, the Child Protection Act
Called for workable charter school legislation to give Mississippi's children the educational. opportunities they deserve. The House is considering Senate revisions to House Bill 1152.
Issued an Executive Budget Recommendation with no new taxes, no planned deficits and adherence to two percent savings.
Issued a supplemental budget recommendation that level-funds the homestead exemption to provide tax relief to Mississippi homeowners and directs $250,000 to the state auditor to provide resources for the auditor and his staff to audit Mississippi's spending against existing budget performance standards.
Called for increased flexibility in Medicaid's repayment methods to confront Mississippi's ballooning Medicaid obligations.
Approved sale of Mississippi's Cessna Citation jet for $2 million and requested that funds be directed the Mississippi Highway Patrol for the purchase of 78 trooper vehicles.
Announced natural gas fleet fuel pilot program at the Department of Finance and Administration and signed a memorandum of understanding with 11 other governors to encourage the production of natural gas fleet vehicles.
Announced the June 2 commissioning of the USS-MISSISSIPPI to be held in Pascagoula.
Joined other governors in opposing federal cuts to the Air National Guard.
Re-established the Mississippi Military Communities Council to promote Mississippi's military missions.
Signed House Bill 1390 to protect patient safety at Mississippi's abortion clinic.
Announced the first annual Governor Phil Bryant's 5K Run for Health.
Jim Barksdale, interim executive director of Mississippi Development Authority
Appointed directors of ten additional state agencies
Maj. Gen. Augustus Leon Collins, The Adjutant General of the Mississippi National Guard
Carey Webb, state aid road engineer
Karen Cummins; Dr. Ford Dye; Shane Hooper; Hal Parker, IHL board of trustees
Malcolm McMillin, executive director of Mississippi State Parole Board
Simon Weir, State Board of Education