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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March 5th Legislative Update
Jones County Republican Women Visit State Capital.

Wednesday of this week marked the deadline for the House to discuss general Senate bills. The deadline to discuss Senate appropriations and revenue bills will occur next week. On Tuesday, the House passed Senate Bill 2418, which would amend previous legislation to allow an increased weight limit on the axles of harvest permit vehicles. The bill would allow truckers hauling sand, gravel, wood chips, wood shavings, sawdust, fill dirt, agricultural products, and products for recycling or materials for the construction or repair of highways to place more weight on their axles than was previously allowed. The bill passed by a vote of 76-34. The House also passed Senate Bill 2277, which would require vehicles that have received a salvage certificate to be given a branded title instead of a clear title. Proponents of the bill said this will allow consumers to know more about the car they are purchasing. Those opposed say this would damage the business of reputable repairmen and used car salesmen. The bill passed…

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February 26 Legislative Update
Visitors to the Capital for Forestry Day: Jim Walley, Meacham Harlow, Representative Scoggin, Nancy Lindstrom, and Kyle Bush

Forestry Day Visitors Jim Walley, Meacham Harlow, Representative Scoggin, Nancy Lindstrom, and Kyle Bush Legislative Update for the Week of February 26th The deadline for House committees to pass Senate bills occurred Tuesday. Any Senate bills that did not make it out of these committees died. Throughout the rest of the week, the House met to discuss these bills. Representatives passed a number of Senate bills, including the following: “Katie’s Law” would be enacted with the passage of Senate Bill 2568, which provides that DNA samples may be destroyed by the Mississippi Forensics Lab only under certain conditions. Candidate hopefuls would have to meet a residency requirement with the passage of Senate Bill 2178. Anyone seeking the office of Highway Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Commissioner or District Attorney would have to be a resident of the state district in question for five years before running for the position. In an effort to expand reemployment protections for military servicemen and veterans the House passed Senate Bill 2459, which would ensure that…

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Legislative Update Week of February 19th
I was privileged to have three Pages this week at the Capitol. They were Darby Cooley from South Jones, Delaney Cooley from South Jones, and Maryanna Jefcoat from West Jones. They each did a fantastic job and represented their respective schools well.

FFA Students Visit the Capital FFA students representing Northeast Jones, West Jones, and South Jones high schools Pages For This Week I was privileged to have three Pages this week at the Capitol. They were Darby Cooley from South Jones, Delaney Cooley from South Jones, and Maryanna Jefcoat from West Jones. They each did a fantastic job and represented their respective schools well. Update from Week of February 19th 2018 Friday, Feb. 23, marked the deadline for House appropriations and revenue bills to be introduced and passed. The House Appropriations Committee finished considering bills regarding budgets for state entities last week, but the Ways and Means Committee still needed to approve a few bills to meet the deadline. Assistance to the Rankin-Hinds Pearl River Flood and Drainage Control District would be provided with the passage of House Bill 1631, which allocates bond money for a flood control project in that area. House Bill 1651 would make way for more bond money to be provided for the improvement…

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Legislative Update Week of February 12th Week of February 12, 2018 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 organizations. The House was responsible for looking at the preliminary budgets of 51 state agencies, including the Departments of Transportation, Public Health, Medicaid and Public Safety. 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, most appropriations bills were voted on in a block to help speed up the process. Among these was House Bill 1592, the appropriations bill for the Mississippi Department of Education. During discussion for this bill, a conditional amendment was offered that would prevent MDE from receiving any money from the state budget unless the department removed its requirement for students to pass all end-of-course tests, commonly known as “exit exams.” The amendment passed the House by…

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