This was the eleventh week of the 2023 Legislative Session. Because it is late in the session, much of the week was spent deciding whether to concur with any changes made to House bills by the Senate or to invite conference on those bills. In conference committees, representatives and senators work together to finalize the details of each bill before they are sent to the governor. Included in the bills being sent to conference are most of the revenue and appropriations bills from the House and Senate, which will decide the state’s budget.
Several bills were passed concurring with changes made in the Senate, including House Bill 1222, or the Mississippi Collaborative Response to Mental Health Act. The bill would require each municipality and county law enforcement agency to provide mental health training to all officers by 2031. There is also a requirement that these law enforcement agencies must employ at least one Crisis Intervention Team Officer by the year 2025. The House concurred with the changes made in the Senate, and it passed unanimously 114-0. It has been sent to the governor for his signature.
On Thursday, the House was privileged to honor James Anderson of Holmes County with House Resolution 121. Mr. Anderson is a World War II veteran who will celebrate his 100th birthday in September. He was joined by family, friends and the House Military Affairs Committee as Representative Bryant Clark (D – Pickens) presented the resolution.
House Resolution 38 was presented on Tuesday to the Southern District Transportation Commissioner and former House member Tom King. HR 38 commends Commissioner King on his 31 years of public service and congratulates him upon his retirement. He was joined by his family members as Representative Missy McGee (R – Hattiesburg) presented him with the resolution.
On Monday, Governor Tate Reeves signed House Bill 1027 into law, which designates the blueberry as the official state fruit. After learning that Mississippi did not have a state fruit in a civics lesson, a fourth grade class at Mannsdale Upper Elementary School in Madison contacted Representative Jill Ford (R – Madison). The students were able to see the bill-making process from beginning to end, coming to the Capitol several times this session, including on Monday for the bill signing.
Next week as the session begins to wind down, legislators will spend much of their time in conference committees ironing out the final details of bills that were sent to conference. These conference committees will then have to file reports before the end of session.