Mississippi News

Legislative weekly summary

Information provided by the Senate and House press offices

Senate weekly summary

In the 4th week of the 2024 Legislative Session, the Senate convened on Thursday, Jan. 25, for the second Special Session called by Gov. Tate Reeves to approve the incentive package for Project Atlas -Amazon Web Services’ $10 billion investment for hyperscale data center complexes in two Madison County industrial parks, with future sites to be determined later.

The Senate approved House Bill 1, that created a fund in the state treasury into which $44 million appropriated by passage of House Bill 2, was made available to the Mississippi Development Authority, (MDA), and Senate Bill 2001, approved incentives and a $260 million bond of which $217 million will be repaid by Madison County.

The state’s largest economic development project to date will be located at the 927-acre Madison County Mega Site and the 786-acre Costa Site in Ridgeland, near Tougaloo, for a combined 1,713-acres.

The $44 million will cover:

  • $32 million in training grants provided for the benefit of the company, which breaks down as: $16 million for customizable training, recruitment, relocation, and other qualifying expenses with a 50-50 match from the company – $10 million for Institutions for Higher Learning training for engineers, Artificial Intelligence, data science and industrial technology, with a minimum of $3 million to be spent with Historically Black Colleges, and Universities, minority serving institutions or predominantly black institutions – $4 million to develop and implement a K-12 pipeline program to foster future talent – $2 million to the Institutions of Higher Learning, Community Colleges, for workforce training and certification programs at mutually agreed places by the company and Accelerate Mississippi.
  • $6 million covers government expediting support such as MDA, Department of Environmental Quality, Public Service Commission, Public Utilities Staff, State Auditor, and Accelerate MS.
  • $6 million to Madison County to begin the project’s design and construction immediately. Other Highlights of the total $260 million investment are:
  • $15.79 million for roads.
  • $14.75 million for water system.
  • $171.5 million for sewer system.
  • $13 million for new fire station.

Amazon’s Cloud Service, which boasts in an online advertisement, “Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud, offering over 200 fully featured services from data centers globally,” has committed to:

  • Having 16 total sites that generate an estimated $41.3 million in state tax revenue during the five-year construction phase, which grows to an estimated $153.7 million in first 15- years.
  • The operation will start in 2025 with 268 employees, including 112 direct employees. By 2034, Amazon will reach 1,000 employees, of which 371 will be direct employees of the company earning $70,000 salaries, with 629 contract employees earning 125-percent of the average state salary or greater, for an average wage of $66,000.

The Senate on Tuesday, Jan. 23,was addressed by Senator Mark Daly, Chair of the Senate of Ireland, who presented Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann with an Irish flag.

Newton County High School Choir also performed on Tuesday, in the second-floor rotunda.

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Owen McCullough, entertained the Senate by playing bagpipes while dressed in Scottish attire. McCullough, a first generation American on his father’s side, is CEO of the Natchez Trace Council, Boy Scouts of America, headquartered in Tupelo, serving the 22 counties of northeast Mississippi. He spoke of well-known and famous persons of Scottish heritage. McCullough’s wife, Julia, site manager for the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, (DAR), also attended. They were guests of Senator Chad McMahan.

House of Representatives Weekly Summary

This was the fourth week of the 2024 Legislative Session.

On Wednesday, Jan 24, Gov. Tate Reeves called an extraordinary session of the Legislature on Thursday. This was his second special session in seven days, and it was dedicated to another major economic development project.

“Project Atlas,” which was revealed to be Amazon Web Services, is a $10 billion corporate capital investment, the largest in state history, and is expected to bring 1,000 jobs to Mississippi. The project will include hyperscale data center complexes in two Madison County industrial parks, one near the Nissan plant and one near I-220 in Ridgeland.

The package from the state includes training grants, site development support, public infrastructure commitments and certain tax incentives.

Upon gaveling in at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee introduced two bills: House Bill 1 and House Bill 2. The bills create the Project Atlas Fund in the State Treasury and appropriate $44 million to the Mississippi Development Authority to fund the project. Both bills passed the House with bipartisan support and were sent to the Senate.

The Senate Finance Committee introduced Senate Bill 2001, which outlines the project and provides incentives to Amazon Web Services. Some of the state commitments include a 10-year, 100 percent corporate income tax exemption and 30-year rolling state tax exemptions. SB 2001 reached the House floor on Thursday afternoon to little debate. An amendment was introduced, but it was tabled. SB 2001 passed the House 120-2.

Gov. Reeves is expected to sign the three bills into law in the next week. The House adjourned sine die from the special session on Thursday afternoon.

The House also took up House Concurrent Resolution 11, which would restore the ballot initiative process in Mississippi. The new process would require signatures of eight percent of registered voters for a measure to be placed on the ballot. Citizens would not be able to make changes to the state constitution, abortion laws, the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) or any local or special laws. The Legislature would also have the power to place an amended version of the initiative on the ballot. These exceptions were the source of debate on the House floor on Wednesday.

Opponents argued that the stipulations were limiting citizens’ voices and their chance to participate in direct democracy, while proponents of the resolution said that this was still giving power back to the voters. After two amendments were tabled, HCR 11 passed by a vote of 80-40 and has been sent to the Senate. The previous ballot initiative was struck down in May 2021 by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

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