On January 5, 2021, the 133rd Mississippi State Legislature began the second session in its four-year term.

The first week of the session, saw the work begin on the floor of the House Chamber. HB 1 was the first item introduced, and provided a description of the new State flag: entering it into the Mississippi Code. The design was approved overwhelmingly by the citizens of Mississippi. The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 119-1 and was sent to the Senate, where it passed.

Next, the Appropriations Chairman also introduced House Bill 68. The bill would appropriate money to the Department of Finance and Administration to purchase new flags over state buildings and offices. HB 68 passed by 117-3 to the Senate.

HB 69 offered a revision of the term “non-state service” under the State Personnel System to include employees of the State Veterans Affairs Board at Veterans Homes across the state. HB 69 passed 122-0 and was sent to the Senate.

House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 2 was introduced on Friday morning. The resolution honors the life and career of former Representative Gary Staples (R-Laurel) who passed away at the end of last week. The late Representative Staples served in the House from 1988 to 1992 and from 2004 to 2020. HC 2 passed with unanimous consent in the chamber, and all House members were included as authors of the resolution.

Many issues will come before your House of Representatives in 2021. Following is a short list of expected issues:

• The 2022-2023 State Budget

• Finding ways to phase out the Mississippi Income Tax – This will be done in steps. There is not any expectation of reaching this in a single year.

• Workforce Development – Industries coming to Mississippi need highly skilled people to employ.

• The Medicaid Technical Bill – This establishes rules and regulations to control the Medicaid Program. (No Medicaid Expansion)

• Expanding Broadband to rural areas

Other issues are expected to arise as the Session moves along.

Next Wednesday, January 13, is the deadline to request legislation, and Monday, January 18, is the deadline for filing bills. More than 190 House bills have already been filed and referred to committees.

Three new members joined the Mississippi House of Representatives since the House last convened as a result of special elections. De’Keither Stamps (D-Jackson), Lynn Wright (R-Columbus) and Joseph Tubb (R-Hattiesburg) joined the roster of representatives for the 2021 Legislative Session.

Due to COVID-19, visitors to the Capitol are limited this year. All guided tours have been suspended, and the Capitol Gift Shop is closed. However, any Mississippians having business with Representatives and Senators are allowed to visit as long as they adhere to the proper guidelines.

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