In the ninth week of the Mississippi Legislative Session, the Senate debated bills on the floor, met in committees and met the Feb. 28, 2023, deadline for committees to report general bills and constitutional amendments originating in the House.
The Senate’s passage of House Bill 1225 transfers the Mississippi No Call Program, and the No-Call List telephone solicitation duties of the Mississippi Public Service Commission to the Attorney General’s office, along with databases and the operating budget. The attorney general’s office would give priority for continued employment in the program to those who currently run the program at the PSC.
Passage of House Bill 1089, revises the Fiscal Year 2023 budget and creates a special fund within the state treasury to be designated as the “2022 Local Improvements Projects Fund,” which would disperse money across the state to cities, towns and counties for various projects, including:
- $500,000 to Tunica for road improvements.
- $250,000 to Starkville toward costs associated with Northside Drive drainage channel improvements, mobilization, channel shaping and grading.
- $1 million to Itawamba County for repair and renovation of the Itawamba County Courthouse and construction of a Justice Court.
- $500,000 to assist Jones County toward costs associated with the repair, renovation, and upgrades to the Jones County Law Enforcement Complex.
- $250,000 to assist Crystal Springs in providing lighting for pedestrian and Bicycle Corridor Federal Aid Project.
- $400,000 to assist Fayette with construction and furnishing of a fire station.
- $500,000 to Tupelo for lighting and curb upgrades to McCullough Boulevard.
- $400,000 to Bruce for infrastructure improvements around and near both city parks.
- $1.5 million to assist Gautier with expansion of RV sites and paving at Shepard State Park.
- $1 million to assist Jackson, with the cost of a parking lot and other things at the Jackson Convention Center.
Other bills passed included:
- House Bill 401 that restricts electric car manufacturers from opening dealerships unless they comply with the franchise laws that govern new automobile sales.
- House Bill 1170 allows the Department of Revenue to issue electronic liens and titles for vehicles and manufactured homes.
- House Bill 1169 adjusts the level of withholding to 25-percent that may be taken from the salary of a state official or employee whose wages are garnished for failed child support payments or delinquent state income tax.
- House Bill 772 designates Mississippi Opal as the state gemstone.
- House Bill 1027 designates the blueberry as Mississippi’s state fruit.
- House Bill 281 allows a retired law enforcement officer to purchase his duty weapon from the department for fair market value, and allows the survivors of an officer killed in the line of duty to purchase their duty weapon.
- House Bill 894 allows local governments to pursue civil and administrative penalties for violation of local zoning ordinances. It establishes a penalty of $100 per violation, “and in case of continuing violations without reasonable effort on the part of the defendant to correct same, each day the violation continues thereafter shall be a separate offense.”
- House Bill 1217 authorizes the Administrative Office of Courts to establish “three levels of interpreters authorized to serve in civil and criminal proceedings in all courts,” so there is no language barrier in the administration of justice.
- House Bill 722 excludes fentanyl testing materials from the definition of drug “paraphernalia.”
- House Bill 979 would allow a licensed hunter to pursue in the night or after legal hunting hours, a deer that was wounded during legal hunting hours, using a flashlight and up to two tracking dogs, and dispatch the wounded animal with a pistol of 45-caliber or smaller.
In other action:
- On Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, the Jackson State University Vocal Jazz Ensemble performed for lawmakers and staff in the second-floor rotunda of the Capitol.
- On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, Senator Chad McMahan presented certificates of thanks to Tupelo Civil Air Patrol MS099 Squadron Commander Andrea MacDonald and members.
- On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, Senator Hillman T. Frazier presented Senate Concurrent Resolution 561 to Tamica Jeuitt, Executive Director of the Southwest Chapter of the American Red Cross of Mississippi, designating March 2023, as American Red Cross Month in Mississippi.
The Senate faces a Wednesday, March 8, 2023, deadline for original floor action on general bills and constitutional amendments originating in the House, a Thursday, March 9, 2023, deadline for reconsideration and passage of general bills and constitutional amendments originating in the House and a Friday, March 10, 2023, deadline to dispose of motions to reconsider general bills and constitutional amendments originating in the House.