1/3/23 -1/13/23 Weekly Sessions Recap
Week of January 2, 2023
On January 3, 2023, the Mississippi State Legislature began the fourth and final session in its four-year term. Though it is early in the session, there were three resolutions taken up on the House floor. These resolutions honored Mississippians who have made a positive impact on their communities.
On Wednesday, the Capitol was visited by Chapel Hart, the country music trio originally from Poplarville. House Resolution 2 honors the singing group for their many accomplishments and positive representation of Mississippi. After being recognized in the House and Senate, the members of Chapel Hart, sisters Danica and Devynn Hart and first cousin Trea Swindle, performed several songs for legislators, staffers and visitors in the Capitol rotunda. Chapel Hart first made waves in 2022 for receiving a “Group Golden Buzzer” during their audition on America’s Got Talent. The group has since performed at the Grand Ole Opry and is about to embark on a sixty-show nationwide tour.
House Resolution 1 congratulates the Jackson Preparatory School Varsity Baseball team on their fifth-consecutive 6A MAIS State Championship. The players and coaches were recognized in the gallery on Wednesday morning.
Also on Wednesday, the House recognized Reverend Dr. Lisa Allen-McLaurin with House Resolution 3. Reverend Dr. Allen-McLaurin has recently been named the music scholar-in-residence and interim choral director at the American Church in Paris, France. The Jackson native is an Emmy and Webby award-winning pastor who serves as the Coordinator of Practical Ministries for the Sixth Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church as well as other roles at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.
The House has added members to its roster since the 2022 Legislative Session as the result of special elections. Jeffery Hulum, III (D – Gulfport) is the new representative for District 119 replacing Representative Sonya Williams-Barnes who resigned in March 2022. Andy Boyd (R – Columbus) fills the District 37 seat following the passing of Representative Lynn Wright in June. There are still two vacancies in the House (Districts 23 and 72), which will be filled after special elections in the coming weeks.
Next Wednesday, January 11, is the deadline to request legislation, and Monday, January 16, is the deadline for filing general bills. More than 200 House bills have already been filed and referred to committees.
Week of January 9, 2023
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.