This was the seventh week of the 2023 Legislative Session. With general bills out of the way, representatives began working on appropriations and revenue bills. The appropriations bills will determine how much money is given to various state agencies.
The House is responsible for looking at the preliminary budgets of about 50 state agencies, including the Departments of Insurance, Transportation, Medicaid, Health, Education 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 at a later point in the session.
Budget bills include reverse repealers, a clause that 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 FY23 budgets for these state agencies are recommended by the Legislative Budget Office. These budgets will not be final until the conference deadline of Saturday, March 25.
The House Ways and Means committee took up a bill on the House floor this week. House Bill 1648 would increase the amount of tax credits that can be allocated under the Mississippi Small Business Investment Company Act. The bill passed by a vote of 112-6.
Several bills from the Local and Private committee were also taken up this week. The bills mostly dealt with extending the repeal dates for tourism taxes in municipalities across the state.
The deadline for original floor action on House appropriations and revenue bills is next Wednesday, Feb. 22. After that, House committees will begin considering general bills which passed through the Senate.
The House welcomed a new member who won a special election in January. Representative Perry Bailey (District 23) was sworn in before the start of session by Speaker Philip Gunn. District 23 was left open in September when former House member Jim Beckett was appointed by Governor Tate Reeves to executive director of Public Utilities Staff. The seat for House District 72 remains vacant at this time.
On Tuesday, the House presented Ambassador Javlon Vakhabov from Uzbekistan with House Resolution 70. The resolution honors the successful 10-year partnership between the Mississippi National Guard and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The House was also visited by Mississippi Valley State University this week for their annual Green and White Capitol Day. Dr. Jerryl Briggs, Sr., President of MVSU, and SGA President Keyjuan Meeks both gave remarks about the university and its progress.