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2/14/22 -2/25/22 Weekly Sessions Recap

Week of February 14, 2022

My Pages For The Week (Berkley King, my son Eli, Speaker Gunn).

This was the seventh week of the 2022 Legislative Session. It was a special week for me as my son was able to page for the first time.

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 Education, Transportation, Insurance, Health, Medicaid 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 later in the legislative session.

Budgets include reverse repealers, a clause which 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 complete until the end of the legislative session when they go to conference committees.

The House Ways and Means committee also took up several bills on the House floor this week.

House Bill 1662 would authorize issuance of bonds to construct a new Mississippi Armed Forces Museum. Currently, the museum, which underwent a renovation in 2015-2016, is at Camp Shelby. The location for the new museum would be owned by the Mississippi Military Department and would be located near Camp Shelby. The bill passed by a vote of 114-7 and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.

Other Ways and Means bills included a bill that would exempt the sales of coins, currency and bullion from sales tax (House Bill 426); a bill that would exempt property owned by a university foundation from ad valorem tax (Senate Bill 2769); and a bill authorizing issuance of bonds for various purposes across the state (House Bill 1663).

The deadline for original floor action on House appropriations and revenue bills is next Wednesday, Feb. 23. After that, House committees will begin considering general bills which passed through the Senate.

On Wednesday of this week, the Jackson State University football team, Sonic Boom of the South marching band, alumni and fans celebrated JSU Capitol Day. The football team was presented in the House chamber with House Concurrent Resolution 30, which commends and congratulates the Jackson State team on winning the 2021 SWAC Championship.

Other visitors at the Capitol this week included the Mississippi Library Commission, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, DuBard School for Language Disorders, Tougaloo College and the Mississippi Chapter of the National Association for Social Workers.

Week of February 21, 2022

My Constituent Cynetra Freeman and Founder of Mississippi Center for Reentry

This was the eighth week of the 2022 Legislative Session. Wednesday, Feb. 23 marked the deadline for original floor action on House appropriations and revenue bills. The Appropriations committee considered most budget bills last week, but the Ways and Means committee took up several revenue bills to meet this week’s deadline.

The Pregnancy Resource Act (House Bill 1685) would authorize a tax credit for individuals or businesses who donate money to a nonprofit that operates as a crisis pregnancy center. The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 115-0.

House Bill 1530 would provide bond money to match federal funds in the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund. HB 1530 passed 112-8 and has been sent to the Senate.

Two different bills would allow income tax credits for certain entities. House Bill 1108 would authorize an income tax credit for certain railroad reconstruction and/or replacement expenditures. House Bill 1684 would authorize an income tax credit for qualified wood energy products and forest maintenance projects. Both bills passed the House and have been sent to the Senate for consideration.

House Bill 1564 would authorize county or municipal leaders to grant a partial ad valorem tax exemption for nonresidential property that is being converted to residential property. The bill passed unanimously by a vote of 119-0.

Certain highway projects around the state would be funded by bond money in House Bill 1686. This bond bill passed 116-3.

House Bill 1639 would impose a tax on motor vehicles charged at alternative-fuel stations, most notably electric vehicles. This tax would be similar to taxes already imposed on gasoline and diesel vehicles. The bill passed the House by a vote of 102-14 and has been sent to the Senate.

Many of these revenue bills include a “reverse repealer” clause, meaning that these bills will go to conference for further revision before the end of the session.

Committees began to meet again this week to discuss Senate bills. Over the next few weeks, Senate bills will come out of House committees and onto the House floor for discussion. The Senate will go through the same process with House bills.

One bill that has already made its way to the House floor from the Senate side is Senate Bill 2806, which would prohibit reverse auctions for repair and remodeling of public facilities. The bill passed by a vote of 81-32 before being held on a motion to reconsider.

One of the groups that strives to assist prisoners reintegrate into society is the Mississippi Center for Reentry founded by one of my constituents, Cynetra Freeman. What few people realize is that successful reentry requires finding housing and a job once an inmate is released. There is no greater factor in insuring that a person's recidivism rate stays low. I applaud Cynetra for the work she is doing.

On Tuesday, the House honored two members of the Jackson Fire Department for their service on the Mississippi Urban Search and Rescue Task Force during Hurricane Ida. Lieutenant Toby Johnson (House Concurrent Resolution 11) and Linc Tucker (House Concurrent Resolution 12) were presented with their respective resolutions in the chamber gallery.

Governor Reeves Poses With Teen Pact Participants

Other visitors at the Capitol this week included the Mississippi Youth Council, the American Heart Association, the Mississippi Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies, the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Teen Pact and the ACLU of Mississippi.

Teen Pact Session

One of the coolest things going for young people in the state is Mississippi Teen Pact. This program is a Christian based week long camp that teaches students about the legislative process and how they might affect change at the governmental level. You can find out more about Teen Pact by clicking on the following link. Click Here For Teen Pact Website


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