Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Legislative Summaries

Legislative Update - February 6, 2017

February 06, 2017

Legislative Update - February 6, 2017

This Thursday is the deadline for the House and Senate to pass bills that were approved by their own committees. The exception to that are bills that take your money and spend your money, otherwise known as Appropriations and Revenue bills. That deadline comes later this month.

Although bills died that would have made blue the official state color, classified venomous snakes as inherently dangerous to humans, required contracts to be written in large print, require a "probable cause" hearing for legislators who are arrested, and require school districts to serve low-fat meals and snacks to students diagnosed as overweight, there are still plenty of bills still alive.

Out of 2,300 bills that were introduced to change or create state laws (called “general bills”), 91% of them died in committee, leaving 429 to consider. Many of those are duplicate or similar bills in the House and Senate, and many are to simply extend current laws that would otherwise expire this year.

Below are significant bills that are still alive. If you click on the bill number, it will take you to the legislature’s status page for that bill, where you can read the original and current versions, and if it has been voted on in the full House or Senate, you can see who voted for or against it.


IMPORTANT NOTE: Listing of the bills below should NOT be taken as our endorsement of them. To the contrary, there are some horrible bills that somehow made it out of committees with generally conservative majorities.


 

Accountability and Transparency

   
HB 396 Prohibit elected state officials from visibly or audibly participating in the making of state funded advertising. Awaits House Floor.
HB 479 Prohibit personal use of campaign contributions and revise law to require detailed reporting. Passed House 104-12.
HB 555 Require approval by Outside Counsel Oversight Commission for Attorney General to bring certain suits. Passed House 63-58 after initially failing 58-60.
HB 812 Revise regulations regarding Civil Asset Forfeiture. Passed House 118-3.
HB 938 Prohibit state agencies from purchasing motor vehicles for one year. Passed House 115-5.
HB 974 Remove most civil service protections for employees in several agencies by exempting those agencies from the Personnel Board rules, regulations and procedures for three years. Passed House 62-58.
HB1109 Provide standards for state agencies to follow regarding Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Awaits House Floor.
HB1112 Agency Accountability Review Act of 2017. Require legislature's watchdog, the PEER committee, to regularly evaluate state agencies' effectiveness and efficiency, including whether they are achieving their goals. Awaits House Floor.
HB1127 Revise Open Meetings Act to require minutes to be posted on public bodies' websites within certain time after the meeting. Awaits House Floor.
HB1296 Financial Transparency in Education Act - require school districts to post their revenue and expenditures online in a searchable format. Awaits House Floor.
HB1330 Abolish certain boards and commissions that have not met in more than a year. Awaits House Floor.
SB2567 Mississippi Health Agency Reorganization Act of 2017 - give governor the power to appoint the executive directors of several agencies, including the Health Department and the Mental Health Department, among others. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2572 Abolish certain boards and commissions that have not met in more than a year. Passed Senate 51-0.
SB2632 Prohibit state agencies from using state funds to hire contract lobbyists. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2634 Transfer BP Settlement Funds into Gulf Coast New Restoration Reserve Fund. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2642 Require state agencies to report to the Legislative Budget Office any "Maintenance of Effort" agreements or "Memoranda of Understanding" between the agency and the federal government. Passed Senate 51-0.
SB2645 Impose moratorium on the acquisition of State vehicles. Passed Senate 51-0.
SB2689 Prohibit personal use of campaign funds. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2846 Provide standards for state agencies to follow regarding Requests for Proposals (RFPs). Awaits Senate Floor.


   
   

Business

   
HB 883 Authorize natural gas public utilities that are rate-regulated to undertake economic development activities. Passed House 119-0
HB 928 Allow Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangements to allow employers to provide health insurance while limiting its cost. Passed House 117-2.
HB1076 Allow counties and cities in high-poverty or high-unemployment areas to exempt an area within their jurisdiction to exempt businesses from certain regulations, in an effort to draw investment into these communities. Awaits House Floor.
HB1322 Authorize small craft breweries to sell light wine or beer they produce on the premises of the brewery. Passed House 94-23.
SB2542 Authorize natural gas public utilities that are rate-regulated to undertake economic development activities. Passed Senate 51-0



Crime and Courts

HB 645 Increase penalties for capital and first-degree murder committed against police officers. It differs from the Senate version in that it does not place this under the "hate crimes" statute. Awaits House Floor.
HB 805 Allow challenges to MS laws to be filed in any county circuit court, not only in Hinds County (which is the current requirement). The Chief Justice of the MS Supreme Court would then appoint a judge to hear the arguments in whatever location he or she chooses. Awaits House Floor.
HB1033 Remove the automatic action of sending criminals to prison if they miss a payment on their fines; prohibit suspending driver licenses for crimes that do not involve driving. Awaits House Floor.
HB1039 Creates severe penalties and prevents due process for alleged sexual assault perpetrators on college campuses. Awaits House Floor.
SB2302 "Ban the Box" & expunction: Prohibit employers from asking on employment applications about criminal convictions. They may ask that in interviews, but cannot preemptively ask. This and other provisions of the bill are part of the recommendations of the "Re-Entry Council" made up of judges, attorneys, and others seeking to enable former offenders to gain employment and thus reduce the likelihood of committing another crime.  Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2469 "Blue, Red, and Med Lives Matter": Places violent offenses against law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel under the "hate crimes" law. Passed Senate 37-13.
SB2710 Prohibit sanctuary cities and require local cooperation with federal immigration control. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2842 Authorize mental health court intervention programs. Passed Senate 51-0.
SB2907 Criminalize the posting or other sharing of explicit photos or videos without the subject's consent. Awaits Senate Floor.


   
   

Education

   
HB 32 Require appointment (rather than election) of school superintendents in the event of vacancy in elected office before January 1, 2019, when all superintendents must be appointed. Passed House 113-4 and Senate 49-2. Signed into law by the Governor.
HB 263 Require school districts to adopt policies to notify parents of alleged bullying incidents involving their children. Also broadens the definition of bullying to include words or actions that "exploit an imbalance of power" between the perpetrator and the victim. Awaits House Floor.
HB 267 Elect all school boards during statewide general election or presidential election for four-year term. Awaits House Floor.
HB 293 Reduce the number of days in a scholastic year from 180 to 170. Awaits House Floor.
HB 312 Authorize inclusion of hunter safety education program in school curriculum. Awaits House Floor.
HB 433 Require citizenship exam as part of U.S. History or American Government courses. Awaits House Floor.
HB 442 Revise the qualifications for school superintendents to allow someone with a master's degree, or a bachelors degree if he or she has at least 10 years of management experience, to be appointed as a superintendent. The latter is only an option where all members of the school board that appoints the superintendent are elected. Awaits House Floor.
HB 503 Direct the State Board of Education to incorporate cursive writing into elementary education curriculum. Awaits House Floor.
HB 544 Authorize the State Dept of Education to issue Nontraditional Route Standard Licenses to certain teachers and administrators with advanced degrees. Awaits House Floor.
HB 866 Limit the number of days a student may be required to take standardized assessments: State-required tests no more than 3 days; for district tests, no more than 20. Awaits House Floor.
HB 875 Revise the process of state school accreditation in failing school districts through a process of district transformation. Awaits House Floor.
HB 905 Require uniform accounting system for all school districts to address local, state and federal funds. Also, transfer audit powers from State Auditor to the State Department of Education. Awaits House Floor.
HB1036 Expand eligibility for the MS Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship to 12th grade (it's now 6th), as would HB1046, but also expand the universe of schools at which the scholarship may be used. Also requires a school district to test a student for dyslexia if a parent requests it. Awaits House Floor.
HB1046 Expand eligibility for the MS Dyslexia Therapy Scholarship to 12th grade (it's now 6th). Awaits House Floor.
HB1050 Allow unspent funds from a special-needs education scholarship account to remain in the account to be used the following school year.  Awaits House Floor.
HB1224 Exempt school districts with "A" and "B" accountability ratings from certain duties. Awaits House Floor.
HB1227 Discontinue MS Statewide Teacher Appraisal Rubric (M-STAR) and require local districts to adopt teacher evaluation system. Awaits House Floor.
HB1294 Revise education funding formula. So far, this bill simply includes the current law with no changes, in order to have all the necessary "code sections" necessary once they decide what to propose. Awaits House Floor.
SB2036 Sets all school board elections to be held in November general elections beginning in 2019.  Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2042 Establish Early Childhood Services Interagency Coordinating Council. Considered on Senate Floor but was sent back to committee, which effectively killed it.
SB2273 Direct the State Board of Education to incorporate cursive writing into elementary education curriculum. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2328 Increase minimum GPA to qualify for the MS Resident Tuition Assistance Grant Program (M-TAG). Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2398 Revise the qualifications for school superintendents, but differently from HB442. This bill would require at least 6 years of classroom or administrative experience, at least 3 of which must have been as a principal of a school rated A or B or a school that improved at least a letter grade. However, the State Board of Education may approve rules that allow someone without direct experience to be a superintendent. Passed Senate 34-17.
SB2431 Authorize the State Board of Education to place failing school districts into "District Transformation Status." Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2459 Expands compulsory school age from the current 6-17 to the ages of 5-18. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2461 Require school district consolidation in Perry County. Passed Senate 33-18.
SB2463 Require school district consolidation in Chickasaw County. Passed Senate 35-16.
SB2607 Revise education funding formula. So far, this bill simply includes the current law with no changes, in order to have all the necessary "code sections" necessary once they decide what to propose. Awaits Senate Floor.


   
   

Elections

   
HB 228 Authorize pre-election day voting. Passed House 113-8.
HB 373 Allow first-time voters to register online. Awaits House Floor.
HB 467 An almost-300 page bill to revise election laws.  Awaits House Floor.
SB2468 An almost-300 page bill to revise election laws. Awaits Senate Floor.


   
   

Family

   
HB 853 Revise Power of Attorney to authorize parents to delegate care and custody of a child. Awaits House Floor.
HB1210 Require Youth Court to provide redacted copy of child's record to child's parent/guardian upon request of the parent/guardian. Awaits House Floor.
HB1298 Create MS Advisory Council on Faith-based Initiatives. Awaits House Floor.
HB1451 Increase fee for marriage certificates from $10 to $20, and for processing marriage license applications, from $20 to $30. House voted 70-47, but it needed 71 votes. It was later reconsidered and approved 84-29. 
SB2311 Create MS Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, to provide accounts for individuals with disabilities. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2342 Termination of parental rights - technical corrections. Passed Senate 48-1.
SB2483 Divorce - add 2-year separation as a ground for. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2520 Require Youth Court to provide redacted copy of child's record to child's parent/guardian upon request of the parent/guardian.  Passed Senate 51-0.
SB2514 Create MS Advisory Council on Faith-based Initiatives.  Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2680 Clarify alternative of relative care for abused and neglected children. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2695 Sheriff or police chief to notify parent or guardian of minor released after arrest. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2703 Divorce - add domestic violence as a ground for. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2704 Increase marriage license processing fee from $20 to $50. Awaits Senate Floor.


   
   

Health

   
HB 318 Authorize grants to rural hospitals to help them stay alive or adjust to new opportunities. Passed House 113-8.
HB 909 Require State Health Plan to cover annual pap smears and PSA tests. Awaits House Floor.
HB 926 Allow the University of MS Medical Center to form Health Care Collaboratives - joint ventures that are exempt from antitrust laws, to the extent possible, as well as the Open Meetings and Public Records Acts. Awaits House Floor.
SB2214 Allow acupuncturists to provide care without a referral from a physician if they have been practicing in MS for at least 5 years. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2511 Provide for the licensing of Naturopathic medicine practitioners. Awaits Senate Floor.
SB2610 Clarify the allowable use of Cannabidiol in research of seizures and other medical conditions. Awaits Senate Floor.



Regulation

HB 539 Require seat belts for all passengers. Awaits House Floor.
HB 967 Regulate and tax fantasy sports games in the same way the state regulates and taxes casinos. Awaits House Floor.
HB1076 Allow counties and cities in high-poverty or high-unemployment areas to exempt an area within their jurisdiction to exempt businesses from certain regulations, in an effort to draw investment into these communities. Awaits House Floor.
HB1216 Direct agencies to report on laws and regulations that were put in place as a result of Obamacare, and the impact of those laws and regulations. Awaits House Floor.
HB1265 Require all state agency rules to be repealed after certain time unless the agency readopts them through the normal public-comment process. Awaits House Floor.
HB1425 Require occupational licensing boards, if they are controlled by people who are in the industry they regulate - to submit their proposed regulations and enforcement actions to the governor before they are finalized. This is in response to a US Supreme Court ruling regarding executive power that is exercised independent of a governor, if the boards are controlled "active market participants." Awaits House Floor.
SB2896 Regulate and tax fantasy sports games in the same way the state regulates and taxes casinos. Awaits Senate Floor.



 

 

Tax

   
HB 131 Authorize the Department of Revenue to compromise and settle certain tax liabilities. Passed House 119-0.
HB 480 Require out-of-state sellers who do not have a presence in MS to collect "use tax" (similar to sales tax) on purchases made by Mississippi residents. Any money collected from this requirement would be used for road and bridge repair, with 70% going to the state department of transportation and 30% going to local governments. Originally passed House 77-40. A normally-routine procedural vote to send it on to the Senate failed, leaving the bill in limbo for the moment.
HB 687 Allow public community and junior colleges to collect a debt by obtaining from the Dept of Revenue a set off against a debtor's state tax refund. Because of where it appears in the MS Code, it would also allow community and junior college officials to obtain the state and federal tax returns of the debtor. Passed House 104-14.
HB 699 Authorize the Dept of Revenue to disclose certain taxpayer information to law enforcement entities. Brought up on House Floor but debate has been suspended on it. 
HB 711 Extend authority of Dept of Revenue to approve applications for certain "rebates" given to Hollywood and other producers under the MS Motion Picture Incentive Act. Passed House 107-15.
HB 804 Require MS Gaming Commission to establish a lottery. Awaits House Floor.



 

 

Welfare

   
HB1090 Requires Medicaid to contract with a company to identify dead people and non-Mississippi residents who are on the Medicaid rolls, among other provisions to combat fraud in welfare programs.  Awaits House Floor.
HB1186 Require Medicaid to apply for waivers from Federal requirements in order to conduct pilot projects to best meet needs and control costs.  Awaits House Floor.
SB2330 Requires Medicaid to contract with a company to identify dead people and non-Mississippi residents who are on the Medicaid rolls.  Awaits Senate Floor.


 

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