Week of March 12, 2018
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 sides.
During session on Tuesday, the House presented former Representative Tyrone Ellis with House Concurrent Resolution 26. The resolution commended Ellis for his 38 years with the Mississippi House of Representatives. Ellis officially retired on June 30, 2017.
On Tuesday evening, a new member was elected to the House. Fred Shanks of Brandon was
elected representative of House District 60 after the seat was vacated in December of 2017.
Among visitors to the Capitol this week were members of the Mississippi Library Commission, the Mississippi Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Red Cross
and the Mississippi Alliance of State Employees.
Week of March 19, 2018
On Monday, the Governor signed HB1510 the "Gestational Act" banning abortions in Mississippi past 15 weeks (1st trimester + 3 weeks). I was proud to be a co-author of this piece of legislation. Contrary to the national narrative, this bill was neither radical nor extreme in the scope of world laws regarding abortion. Many nations like France, Germany, Russia and the like have 12 week bans in place. After signing the bill into law, the state was promptly sued by the only abortion clinic in Jackson.
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.
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 was presented by myself on Thursday. In order for a convention to happen, 34 states must submit an application with identical language requesting a call for convention for the purpose of discussing a proposed amendment(s). Only the subject matter for which the call is issued is allowed to be discussed at any convention. All states could send delegates, and if any proposed amendment is passed by at least 26 states (all one state one vote), then the proposed amendment would go back to all 50 states to be voted on by both the houses and senates of their legislatures. If both chambers of at least 38 states ratify the proposed amendment, it is passed into constitutional law. It is the same process for which Congress can propose amendments and send them back to the states. Article 5 of the U.S. constitution was a safe guard that our founding fathers put into the constitution to protect our republic from a federal government that was either unwilling or unable to deal with the over reach or mess that it had created. This Resolution called for a convention to discuss a balance budget amendment for the Federal Government and to discuss federal over reach into the areas enumerated in the 10th Amendment as it relates to states' ability to self govern. The measure passed 76 to 42.
With only one week left in the 2018 legislative session, lawmakers remain in Jackson to work throughout the weekend. Deadline for bills to come out of conference and pass the House and Senate occurs during the final week. Any bills that are passed will be sent to the governor to be signed into law.
Visitors to the Capitol this week included the Mississippi Headstart Association, NASA’s Stennis Space Center, the Mississippi Home Educators Association, the Veterans Affairs Board and the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence.