2/28/22 -3/11/22 Weekly Sessions Recap
Week of February 28, 2022
Over the weekend before the ninth week of session began, I had the honor of traveling to CPAC in Orlando, Florida and hearing from conservative leaders in Congress, media, grassroots organization, and former President Trump. While there me and a couple of my fellow Mississippi legislators were honored for Conservative Achievement by the American Conservative Union. Less than 10 out of 174 legislators in the Mississippi. The entire Mississippi Freedom Caucus was honored to be the majority of that group of honorees from the state.
This was the ninth week of the 2022 Legislative Session. The deadline for House committees to report general bills originating from the Senate occurred Tuesday, March 1 at 8 p.m. Any Senate bills that did not make it out of committees died. Members began working on these Senate bills on the House floor, and the deadline for these bills to be passed is next Wednesday, March 9.
The most debated bill that was taken up in the House was Senate Bill 2113. The bill would prohibit any school in Mississippi from teaching that any individual or group is superior or inferior to another based on race, sex, ethnicity or religion. The bill’s short title was labeled “to prohibit Critical Race Theory,” a hot-button issue across the country. Proponents of the bill said the bill would prevent discrimination in schools, while the opposition argued that passing the bill could prevent Mississippi and American History from being told truthfully. After more than six hours of debate, seventeen failed amendments and sixteen members speaking on the bill, SB 2113 passed the House by a vote of 75-43. The bill was then held on a motion to reconsider.
The House will continue to work on bills originating from the Senate until the deadline next Wednesday. All Senate bills approved by the House will be sent back with changes to the Senate where they can concur with the changes or invite conference.
Conference was invited on House Bill 530, or the START Act of 2022. This teacher pay raise bill was taken up in the Senate late on Tuesday, where the Senate introduced a strike-all amendment and inserted the language from their own bill. The final details of the bill will not be decided until conference.
On Thursday, the House recognized the Mississippi State Baseball team for winning the 2021 NCAA National Championship. Earlier in the session, House Concurrent Resolution 8 was passed, commending the team on their accomplishment.
Other visitors this week include NASA and the John C. Stennis Space Center, the Bolton Edwards Middle School Basketball teams, Dan Knecht and Jerry St. Pe’ of Jackson County, Magnolia Speech School, the Mississippi Aquarium and the Mississippi Home Educators Association.
Week of March 7, 2022
This was the tenth week of the 2022 Legislative Session. Wednesday was the deadline for the House to discuss general Senate bills. Any Senate bills that did not make it off the calendar and before the House died. The deadline to discuss Senate appropriations and revenue bills will occur next Tuesday, March 15. More than 120 Senate bills were discussed on the floor.
The calendar also included several House bills that were passed earlier in the session, sent to the Senate and are now back before the House. With this process, the representatives will vote on whether to agree with the changes the Senate made, or to invite conference for possible further revisions before becoming law or dying. Many House bills have already been sent to conference.
One such bill that came back to the House with changes from the Senate was House Bill 530, or the START Act. The House submitted a conference report to the Senate on Thursday morning. In the $226 million plan, average teacher pay would increase by $4,850 and assistant teachers would get a $2,000 raise. The average starting salary of teachers would increase to $41,638, which is higher than both the regional and national averages. The plan also includes a proposal similar to the Senate’s teacher pay raise (SB 2443), which would provide salary increases of at least $1,000 every five years and $2,500 at 25 years. If approved by the Senate and signed by Governor Reeves, the plan will be implemented in the upcoming school year.
On Tuesday, the House honored Erin and Ben Napier from HGTV’s Home Town with House Resolution 65. Since 2016, the Napiers have been showcasing their home renovation projects around Laurel, which has led to an economic boom in the small Mississippi town. Erin and Ben Napier, joined by Mayor Johnny Magee, were presented with HR 65 by Representative Donnie Scoggin (R – Jones) commending them on their efforts to improve Laurel and Mississippi.
Other visitors at the Capitol this week included the family of World War II veteran Ben Richard Burney, filmmaker Curtis Nichouls, William Carey University’s School of Education, the Pearl River Community College cheer squad, the Meridian High School girls’ basketball team, the CEO and CFO of Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, students from Itawamba Community College’s C.O.R.E. Program, representatives from the GRAMMY Museum in Cleveland, the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Civil Air Patrol of Mississippi.