JACKSON • A last-minute push on deadline day in the Mississippi Legislature last week kept several bills alive, including controversial proposals involving medical marijuana, transgender athletes and voter roll purging.
But these last-minute legislative proposals join other proposals still working their way through the state Capitol. There’s a little of everything still up for discussion – from state roads to alcohol sales.
Bills involving appropriations and local matters face a different set of deadlines.
The following are a few of the bills that have passed the chamber where they originated, either the Senate or the House, but will still need to pass the other chamber in the same form, or go to a conference committee, and then be signed by the governor before becoming law.
Inauguration donor transparency: House Bill 1019 would require governors to reveal the donors who help pay for inauguration events, including the inaugural ball, ceremony and other parties or parades. Many other states have laws that require transparency for inauguration funds, but Mississippi currently allows secret donations to these funds. The bill passed the House 116-1.
Infrastructure spending and lottery revenue: Under Senate Bill 2825, co-sponsored by Sen. Neil Whaley, R-Potts Camp, the 2018 agreement about how to spend the first $80 million in revenue from the state lottery would change. That money would would go into an emergency repair fund for local governments instead of the state highway fund. This bill would also increase the roadway weight limits for agricultural hauling. Leaders of the Mississippi Department of Transportation oppose this bill.
Medical marijuana: Senate Bill 2765, the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, would create a new medical marijuana program in Mississippi if the voter-approved Initiative 65 is overturned in court. The legislation, filed by Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, took two votes to get out of the Senate and has drawn criticism for the ways it differs from the voter-approved program.
Alcohol sales at distilleries: Senate Bill 2435, introduced by Sen. Nicole Boyd, R-Oxford, would allow distilleries in Mississippi to sell alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption, within certain limits.
Voter roll purging: Senate Bill 2588 would create a statewide system of mandatory voter roll purging and has drawn criticisms that it will lead to irregular voters losing their ability to cast a ballot if they do show up after the polls after a long absence. Supporters say the bill is needed to help trim the unwieldy and outdated rolls in some counties.
Name, image and likeness rights: Mississippi college athletes could sign endorsement deals, hire an agent and accept gifts under a pair of proposals moving through the legislature. Separate versions of the so-called “name, image and likeness” measures – House Bill 1030 and Senate Bill 2313 – have both passed but differ in some respects.
Trans athletes: Senate Bill 2536 would bar transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports in the state’s public educational settings and would require that only “students of the female sex” may participate in women’s sports. The bill was introduced by a Gulf Coast lawmaker, Sen. Angela Hill, R-Picayune.
State parks maintenance: Senate Bill 2486, introduced by Sen. Neil Whaley, R-Potts Camp, would, in its amended form, create a legislative study committee that would research how best to fix Mississippi’s beleaguered parks system. The committee would have five members appointed by Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and five by House Speaker Philip Gunn.
Teacher pay raise: Teachers would get a $1,000 pay bump and new teacher $1,100 under Senate Bill 2001. Hosue Bill 852 is similar.
Ticket quotas: House Bill 883, sponsored by first-term Rep. Rickey Thompson, D-Shannon, would prohibit any state or local law enforcement agent from requiring officers to make a specified number of arrests or tickets within a given time frame.
Circuit Court expansion: In its current form, House Bill 287, introduced by Rep. Nick Bain, R-Corinth, involves drug intervention courts. But Bain also says he wants to use this bill to split a Northeast Mississippi circuit court district into two different districts.
Autopsy photos: Senate Bill 2270, introduced by Sen. Nicole Boyd, R-Oxford, would require medical examiners to keep confidential autopsy photographs and other media records, with certain exceptions detailed in the law. House Bill 70, introduced by Rep. Nick Bain, R-Corinth, would do much the same thing.
Daylight savings time: House Bill 1062 – introduced by by Rep. William Tracey Arnold, R-Booneville – would require the use of daylight savings year-round in Mississippi if allowed by federal law.