It's been a busy couple weeks in the Mississippi legislature with deadlines for Senate bills coming and going in the House, along with appropriation bills working their way through the process. Put into that mix the fact that I was sick for a few days in those two weeks, and you got me playing a little catch up. In this weeks blog, I am including two weeks worth of session recaps. Thanks again for staying informed and giving me the honor of representing you and the good people of Mississippi.
Week of February 26, 2018
The deadline for House committees to pass Senate bills occurred Tuesday. Any Senate bills that did not make it out of these committees died. Throughout the rest of the week, the House met to discuss these bills. Representatives passed a number of Senate bills, including the following:
“Katie’s Law” would be enacted with the passage of Senate Bill 2568, which provides that DNA samples may be destroyed by the Mississippi Forensics Lab only under certain conditions.
Candidate hopefuls would have to meet a residency requirement with the passage of Senate Bill 2178. Anyone seeking the office of Highway Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Commissioner or District Attorney would have to be a resident of the state district in question for five years before running for the position.
In an effort to expand reemployment protections for military servicemen and veterans the House passed Senate Bill 2459, which would ensure that a service member or veteran be restored to his or her previous position after returning from training with the Armed Forces in another state.
With the passage of Senate Bill 2527 no civil liability could be imposed against a person or entity for providing information about insurance fraud to any law enforcement, insurer or statutory residual market plan.
Municipalities that have voted to permit the sale and consumption of alcohol would be able to establish leisure and recreation districts with the passage of Senate Bill 2588. Leisure and recreation districts would allow consumers to walk from place to place with alcohol within a designated area.
All Senate bills approved by the House will be sent back to the Senate for final concurrence. The Senate will begin sending House bills back for Representatives to finalize, as well.
On Thursday, Representative Robert Huddleston of Sumner announced his resignation from the House of Representatives after 23 years of service. Governor Phil Bryant will determine when a special election for House District 30 will be held at a later date.
Several groups visited legislators at the Capitol this week, including Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Mississippi Farm Bureau and the March of Dimes.
Week of March 5, 2018
Wednesday of this week marked the deadline for the House to discuss general Senate bills. The deadline to discuss Senate appropriations and revenue bills will occur next week.
On Tuesday, the House passed Senate Bill 2418, which would amend previous legislation to allow an increased weight limit on the axles of harvest permit vehicles. The bill would allow truckers hauling sand, gravel, wood chips, wood shavings, sawdust, fill dirt, agricultural products, and products for recycling or materials for the construction or repair of highways to place more weight on their axles than was previously allowed. The bill passed by a vote of 76-34.
The House also passed Senate Bill 2277, which would require vehicles that have received a salvage certificate to be given a branded title instead of a clear title. Proponents of the bill said this will allow consumers to know more about the car they are purchasing. Those opposed say this would damage the business of reputable repairmen and used car salesmen. The bill passed by a vote of 95-15.
An act to provide certain immunities for a person who requests assistance during a medical emergency caused by the consumption of alcohol passed in the form of Senate Bill 2197. The House further amended this bill with legislation to establish a mental health court in the state of Mississippi, something that has been attempted previously by House members. The bill passed unanimously.
The issue of dog fighting was addressed in the form of Senate Bill 2934, which would increase penalties for any person that owns, possesses, buys, sells, transfers, or manufactures paraphernalia for the purpose of dog fighting. The bill sets the maximum penalty for dog fighting at a fine of $10,000 or 10 years in the State Penitentiary. The bill passed by a vote of 113-1.
The House approved a number of appropriations bills from the Senate. One that received special attention was Senate Bill 2976, which details a budget for the state Gaming Commission. An amendment was offered that would require a state lottery be established. The amendment passed by a voice vote.
Finally, the House passed the Senate’s infrastructure bill in the form of Senate Bill 3046, otherwise known as the Building Roads, Improving Development and Growing the Economy (BRIDGE) Act. The House made some changes to the original Senate bill to provide additional funding for specific infrastructure projects throughout the state, utilize use-tax revenue and designate $200 million worth of revenue bonds for the purpose of providing money for the Strategic Infrastructure Investment Fund (SIIF). The bill would also give the Mississippi Department of Transportation power to oversee SIIF. The bill passed by a vote of 104-5.
Several groups visited the Capitol this week including the Mississippi Academy of Family Physicians, Alcorn State University and the Mississippi Federation of Republican Women.