Legislators had a full schedule during the seventh week of the 2020 Legislative Session. The deadline for introducing bills was on Monday night, so the calendar quickly became full with bills and resolutions to discuss. Although most work is still happening in committees, several pieces of legislation reached the House floor.
After being held on a motion to reconsider last week, House Bill 756 came before the House again. The bill would require the Department of Finance and Administration to ascertain cost estimates of repairs at the Walnut Grove Correctional Facility. Amendment 1 to HB 756 was introduced and passed on a voice vote. The bill passed as amended and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
House Bill 851 was another bill discussed both in committee and before the House this week. The bill adds an additional member appointed by the governor to the Corrections and Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force. The new member will act as an advocate for offenders and families who have been directly affected by the criminal justice system. The bill passed with a bipartisan vote of 117-1 and has been transmitted to the Senate.
Another uncontested bill was House Bill 412. The bill would authorize the State Veterans Affairs Board to sell or dispose of surplus property of veterans’ nursing homes and cemeteries. HB 412 passed unanimously in the House and has been sent to the Senate.
One bill that received much attention this week was House Bill 97. If enacted, this bill would prohibit the selling, transferring or marketing of synthetic urine, most notably used for manipulating drug tests. The bill passed on a vote of 108-8, and it has been held on a motion to reconsider.
One of the big events which I was honored to be a part of this week was Mission Mississippi's annual prayer breakfast. This sixth annual event brings together multiple leaders from all denominations and races in our state who come together to pray for wisdom and guidance on our Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker, Legislators and State Supreme Court. This is a wonderful event, and does much to bring both race and religious unity in our state, all while seeking God's blessing. It was my fifth year to serve in the legislative choir, and was excited to see Desoto County's newest legislator Senator Mike McClendon come and share his vocal gifts with the event.
Three bills for which I have received much attention from our home schooling families around the state are HB188, HB134 & HB276. One of the bills would have mandated curriculum for homeschoolers and the others would have increased required ages to graduate. After talks with the chairman of Education, I was given assurances that none of these bills would come out of committee. Deadline for bills to come out of committee (or die) is Tuesday, March 3rd.
Finally, It was great having our students from Northpoint Christian School at the Capitol this week. I had the wonderful honor of addressing them and posing for a picture. Other Visitors at the Capitol for the week included the Madison County Business League, the Mississippi Aquarium, the Epilepsy Foundation of Mississippi, the Mississippi Chapter of Links, Inc., the Stennis Space Center, Future Farmers of America students, the Mississippi Poultry Association and the Mississippi Egg Marketing Board.