Legislative Update for the Week of February 18th Legislators meet with MDOT officials Donnie along with Juan Barnett meet with MDOT engineers to discuss transportation issues. With general House Bills out of the way, representatives began working on House Appropriations Bills, which will determine how much money is given to various state agencies. The House was responsible for looking at the preliminary budgets of about 50 state agencies, including the Departments of Education, Transportation, Health, Medicaid and Human Services. These bills represent half of the state’s budget; the other half is currently being considered by the Senate and will be sent to the House for consideration later in the legislative session. Budgets included reverse repealers, a clause which ensures that a bill cannot become law before going to a conference committee for further revisions. With reverse repealers in place, many appropriations bills were voted on in a block to help speed up the process. The FY20 budgets for these state agencies were level-funded, meaning they received roughly…

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February 11th Weekly Legislative Update The House met as a whole throughout the week to discuss general bills that made it out of committee and onto the calendar. Thursday, Feb. 14 was the deadline for representatives to discuss these general bills. Any bills not discussed in session by this deadline died on the calendar. The bills that were considered this week dealt with a variety of topics. One of the most debated bills from this week was House Bill 732. The bill prohibits an abortion of a fetus once a heartbeat is detected, except if the mother’s life or health is in danger. A heartbeat is usually detected around the sixth week of a pregnancy, which would make this law, if enacted, one of the earliest abortion bans in the country. Proponents of the bill said that this would be a victory for the pro-life movement and the unborn in Mississippi. Opponents argued that the bill put harsh restrictions on women and their right to choose. It…

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Legislative Update Week of February 4th The fifth week of the 2019 legislative session proved to be the busiest thus far. Committee meetings todiscuss House bills wrapped up early in the week because of Tuesday’s general bills deadline. The House convened Wednesday through Friday to discuss the legislation that made it to the calendar. The bills that were considered dealt with a variety of topics.House Bill 816, or the Mississippi Educational Talent Recruitment Act, would work to prevent “braindrain” in the state caused by recent college graduates leaving the state in pursuit of more lucrativeemployment opportunities. If enacted into law, it would provide income tax incentives in the form of arebate amounting to 50 percent of the person’s state income tax liability for recent graduates ofcolleges and other post-graduate degree programs if they stay in Mississippi for at least five years andinvest in the state. This also includes natives from other states who move to Mississippi upongraduation and meet conditions of the program. Proponents of the bill…

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January 28th 2019 Legislative Update Committees met frequently during the fourth week of the legislative session, as next Tuesday’s deadline to have House Bills out of their corresponding committees quickly approaches.After Tuesday, Feb. 5, no additional general bills will be added to the House calendar for consideration.  Members will also meet in session for longer periods of time to discuss the bills that have made it out of their respective committees.Although most work is still happening in these committee meetings, several bills reached the House floor and were discussed.House Bill 4 was one of the bills that made it out of committee and onto the floor.  The bill would allow private employers to give a permissive preference for certain veterans when hiring. After little debate, HB 4 passed unanimously with a vote of 118-0 and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.A number of other bills were introduced with topics including insurance regulation, corrections and local government affairs.  All bills that reached the House floor and were…

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Legislative Update Week of January 21st Legislators had a full schedule during the third week of the 2019 Legislative Session.  The deadline for introducing bills was on Monday night, so the calendar quickly became full with bills and resolutions to discuss.  Although most work is still happening in committees, several pieces of legislation reached the House floor.On Tuesday, House Bill 571 was introduced to the House as a whole.  HB 571 would work to end the commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking of children. More significantly, Section 97-29-49 of the Mississippi Code of 1972 was amended in the bill to decriminalize prostitution so minors under 18 cannot be charged with prostitution. The bill comes after Speaker Philip Gunn’s Commission on Public Policy hosted a summit on human trafficking in Mississippi on October 3, 2018. HB 571 passed with a bipartisan vote of 116-3, and it will be sent to the Senate for consideration.Other relatively uncontested bills brought to the House floor included a bill prohibiting any food…

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January 14th Legislative Update This is the second week of the 2019 Legislative Session.  Because it is early in the session, the committees are just starting to meet as bills are still being drafted, so the floor action has been light.  Bills must be passed out of committee before they are considered by the House. The deadline for the introduction of general bills and constitutional amendments is Monday, January 21, so many committees are waiting until all bills are filed to hold meetings.Though we had several resolutions come to the floor this week, only one bill made it onto the House floor.  House Bill 366, or the Mississippi Broadband Enabling Act, would allow electric cooperatives to provide broadband internet service to its electric customers.  This would greatly benefit rural Mississippians. Five amendments were offered and voted on by the House. The first three amended some language and called for the electric cooperatives to be more transparent.  These passed without debate. However, the fourth and fifth amendments failed…

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First Update of the 2019 Legislative Session On January 8, 2019, the 134th Mississippi State Legislature began the fourth and final session in its four- year term. Four new members joined the Mississippi House of Representatives this past year as a result of special elections and are experiencing their first regular session. Otis Anthony, D-Sunflower; Jeffery Harness, D-Jefferson; Tracey Rosebud, D-Tallahatchie and Price Wallace, R-Simpson joined the roster of representatives for the 2019 Legislative Session. Representatives Rosebud and Wallace were present for the 2018 First Extraordinary Session; however, this is their first regular legislative session. Because it is early in the session, this week has been a time for the representatives to become reorganized. There were three resolutions introduced on the House Floor this week. These resolutions honored three individuals who made great sacrifices to serve their fellow citizens whether in their hometown or across the globe. House Resolution 1 honors Mr. O.D. Jackson of Neshoba County for his service in the 1st Cavalry Division of the…

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Final Legislative Update 2018 Week of March 26, 2018Legislators completed the last day of the 2018 legislative session on Wednesday, March 28, after working through the weekend to finalize the state budget.While many significant pieces of legislation did not make it through the process this year, several did and are now being signed into law by the Governor. One of the most notable pieces of legislation this session was a law to prohibit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This will be the most restrictive abortion law in the country. The legislature spent a good bit of time discussing Medicaid this year. While the federal government provides certain services, the state must decide what additional services it will provide. This year, members adopted legislation that mandates that managed care companies pay the same reimbursement rate as the legislature-set rates for Medicaid. The new law deletes the annual limit on physician visits, home health service visits and the monthly prescription limit. It will also provide reimbursement for treatment…

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Legislative Update Week of March 19th
Faculty staff and students from Jones Junior College came to encourage support for the junior / community colleges in Mississippi

Legislative Update for March 19th At this point in the session, a majority of bills have either been sent to the governor to be signed into law or are being discussed in conference. Conference on a bill occurs when further discussion is needed by members of both the House and Senate to reach the best solution. A conference consists of three representatives and three senators who work together to finalize a bill. Once a bill is out of conference, it must go to both the House and Senate for a vote before being sent to the governor. Along with the conferences that were held, the House did meet as a whole to discuss and pass local and private bills, and honor special guests in the chamber. Some discussion occurred with the introduction of House Concurrent Resolution 56, which calls for the state to submit an application to request a convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. In order for this to happen, 34 states…

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Legislative Summary Week of March 12th The deadline to consider revenue and appropriations bills that originated in the Senate occurred this week. Among other things, these bills detail how much money will be appropriated to a number of different state boards and departments. These include the Department of Revenue, the Department of Public Safety and the Institution of Higher Learning. Most of these appropriations and revenue bills will be discussed in conference, a period during which representatives and senators will work together to finalize numbers in each bill. As the 2018 legislative session winds down, changes to House bills are being “concurred” upon and the bills sent to the governor to be signed into law. Among these is the Gestational Age Act, which would limit abortions to up to 15 weeks of pregnancy instead of 20 weeks. Between these last two weeks of session, legislators will work through the weekend to also finalize changes on any general bills that were amended and require further discussion from both…

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