Mississippi News

Legislative weekly summary

Note: The following information is provided by the Senate and House of Representatives Press Offices

Senate weekly summary

The Senate passed House Bill 539, that would provide for presumptive Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women claiming a net income of up to 194 percent of the federal poverty level in an effort to have healthier babies born in Mississippi and lower the infant mortality rate – which Mississippi leads the nation in. The effort will cost the state $567,000 to implement but would bring about better health outcomes for mothers and babies.

Also passed was Senate Bill 2926, authorizing appropriation of an additional $26.6 million in funds to cover various payments for Fiscal Year 2024 and Fiscal Year 2025, including legal expenses and increased property insurance.

Passage of Senate Bill 2851, would allow the Mississippi Farm Bureau to create and operate a self-funded health insurance program for members and their families. It would be administered through a third-party.

Passage of Senate Bill 2248, enables the City of Amory to seek voter approval for an additional 1-percent tourism tax on hotels, motels and restaurants to earn more revenue for rebuilding efforts following a March 2023 tornado. The city already levies a 2-percent tax.

Passage of House Bill 970, extends the date of repeal from 2024-2028 on the services and managed care provisions and the provider assessment provisions of Medicaid.

All bills have been transmitted to the House for review.

Senators continue to meet in committees, reviewing 1130 assigned bills.

The Senate’s next deadline is Tuesday, March 5, 2024, for committees to report general bills and constitutional amendments originating in the Senate.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, the Meridian High School Choir performed in the second-floor rotunda of the state Capitol as part of Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann’s weekly showcasing of Mississippi’s student talent, which provides lawmakers a chance to wind down and focus on what is important.

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, Senator Andy Berry introduced FFA President Ashton Luke, who addressed the Senate, and Senate Junior Page Michelle Green sang the National Anthem.

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, “Stennis Space Center Capitol Day,” the Senate honored Stennis Space Center and NASA, with a resolution citing their many contributions to space technology and science. The presentation was led by Gulf Coast delegation members Senator Joel R. Carter, Jr., Senator Scott DeLano, Senator Jeremy England, Senator Angela Hill, Senator Philman Ladner, Senator Mike Thompson, and Senator Brice Wiggins.

House of Representatives weekly summary 

Committees met frequently during the ninth week of the legislative session, as next Tuesday’s deadline to have House Bills out of their corresponding committees quickly approaches. After Tuesday, March 5, no additional general bills will be added to the House calendar for consideration. Members will also meet in session for longer periods to discuss the bills that make it out of committee. Despite most work still happening in committees, members took up several bills on the House floor this week.

House Medicaid Chairwoman Missy McGee (R – Hattiesburg) presented House Bill 1725, or Healthy Mississippi Works. The act would direct the Mississippi Division of Medicaid to seek a federal waiver to allow coverage for persons described in the Affordable Care Act. The persons included in the expansion are 19 to 64-year-olds whose income is not greater than 138 percent of the federal poverty level. They must also work 20 hours or more a week, be a full-time college student or be enrolled in a workforce training program. HB 1725 passed by a vote of 99-20, and it has been referred to the Senate Medicaid Committee.

Two bills that would affect package retailers were introduced this week. House Bill 328 would increase the number of package retailer’s permits a person or entity may own from one to three. No location could be within 100 miles of another location held by the same permittee. HB 328 passed 65-28. House Bill 329 would authorize local authorities of a wet jurisdiction to permit package retail sales on Sunday. HB 329 passed 68-31. Both bills have been held on a motion to reconsider.

House Bill 1354 would increase the amount of state revenue bonds to assist with the construction of a new warehouse for the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division. The proposed site of the new warehouse would be at the Holmes County Industrial Park, the approximate geographical center of the state. HB 1354 passed 107-7.

House Bill 903 would prohibit the manufacture and possession of machine gun conversion devices. These “Glock switches” or “auto sears” can easily change a semiautomatic handgun or rifle into a fully automatic weapon. The bill is named in honor of fallen George County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Malone who was gunned down during a routine traffic stop in January. HB 903 passed 112-8 and has been sent to the Senate.

Sexual extortion would become illegal under “Walker’s Law,” or House Bill 1196. Sextortion refers to when a person entices another into sharing explicit images or videos and then threatens to post the material online, usually to extort money or sexual favors from the victim. HB 1196 passed 116-0.

House Bill 1665 would allow for incentives for property development within the Capitol Complex Improvement District (CCID). HB 1665 passed 109-1 and has been sent to the Senate.

House Bill 1378 would allow an honorably discharged veteran aged 90 years or older to have an exemption on all ad valorem taxes on a homestead property. The bill passed unanimously by a vote of 120-0 and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.

Two Representatives presented bills for the first time before the House. Representative Kenji Holloway (D – Carthage) presented House Bill 702, which would authorize the Department of Transportation to form public-private partnerships including naming rights. HB 702 passed 120-0. Representative Justis Gibbs (D – Jackson) presented House Bill 1669, which would revise the qualifications for assistant teachers. HB 1669 passed 118-0.

Governor Tate Reeves delivered his fifth State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature on Monday night. In his speech, Reeves spoke of the two Mississippi Major Economic Impact projects passed earlier this year, and he encouraged the Legislature to continue focusing on economic development, infrastructure and education.

On Wednesday, the House presented Ameshya Williams-Holliday with House Resolution 37. The resolution commends and congratulates the former Jackson State standout for many accomplishments, including being the first Mississippi HBCU player drafted by the WNBA.

Other visitors this week included NASA’s Stennis Space Center; the Blue Mountain School Girls Basketball Team; the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks; the Association of Mississippi Midwives; Mississippi Farm Bureau; and the Mississippi State Troopers Association.

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