This is the second week of the 2023 Legislative Session. Even though it is early in the session, there were several bills discussed on the House floor.
One bill that caused some debate was House Bill 370. The bill would authorize the removal of municipal elected officials using the same process of removal of county elected officers. Currently, elected officials of municipalities are the only elected officials in the state not subject to a removal process under state law. To remove a municipal official under HB 370, 30 percent of eligible voters would sign a petition that would then be sent to the governor. The governor would then appoint a panel of three judges to determine the validity of the petition. If granted, an election would be held for voters to decide on removal. Proponents of HB 370 stated that it is another form of checks and balances on municipal officials that all other elected officials in the state are subject to. Opponents argued that 30 percent of voters is not a majority, and elections every four years are the way to hold officials accountable. The bill was laid on the table subject to call.
House Bill 266 would name the Department of Public Safety Headquarters office in honor of the late Commissioner David R. Huggins, who also served as chief of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. During the floor action on the bill, Amendment 1 was introduced naming the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory in Pearl after Representative Tom Weathersby (R – Florence). The bill passed as amended by a unanimous vote of 116-0, and Representative Weathersby received a standing ovation from his fellow House members.
Two bills from the Ways and Means Committee were introduced on Thursday: House Bill 390 and House Bill 401. HB 390 would revise certain provisions regarding the historic property income tax credit. HB 401 would revise provisions in the Mississippi Motor Vehicle Commission Law relating to a manufacturer’s ownership of a motor vehicle dealership. Both bills passed the House by a large majority.
The deadline for the introduction of general bills and constitutional amendments is Monday, January 16, so many committees are waiting until all bills are filed to hold meetings. Floor action will pick up next week as bills are brought out of committee. Bills must be passed out of committee before they are considered by the House.