TUPELO • With a legislative deadline on the horizon, two north Mississippi lawmakers have filed a bill in the Legislature that would reorganize the state’s 1st Circuit Court District – one of the busiest state court districts in the entire state.
State Rep. Nick Bain, a Republican from Corinth, filed House Bill 523, which would cut certain counties out of the state’s 1st Circuit Court District and add an additional circuit court district. Currently, the state’s 1st Circuit Court District covers seven counties: Alcorn, Prentiss, Tishomingo, Itawamba, Lee, Monroe and Pontotoc.
Bain’s bill seeks to remove Itawamba, Lee, Monroe and Pontotoc counties from the first district and establish a new 23rd Circuit Court District and have three judges preside over the court. The bill would leave Alcorn, Prentiss and Tishomingo counties in the first district with two judges presiding over the court.
The bill also details how many legal assistants and criminal investigators each district can have. Both the 1st and 23rd circuit districts would have four legal assistants and two full-time criminal investigators.
Bain declined to comment on the bill.
The legislation has been referred to the House Judiciary A Committee, which is led by state Rep. Angela Cockerham, an Independent from Magnolia. As of Monday afternoon, the committee had not taken any action on Bain’s bill.
State Rep. John “Trey” Lamar, a Republican from Senatobia, has filled a more comprehensive version of the same topic that includes Bain’s same proposal to reorganize the 1st district but would also create a 24th Circuit Court District that would only contain DeSoto County. DeSoto County is currently part of the state’s 17th circuit district.
Lamar’s bill would leave Panola, Tallahatchie, Tate and Yalobusha making up the state’s 17th circuit district. The legislation would allow for the 1st district to have three legal assistants and the 23rd to have five legal assistants. Both districts could have two criminal investigators.
Lamar’s bill has been double referred to the Judiciary A Committee and the Appropriations Committee. The bill has passed the Judiciary Committee A but has not yet passed the Appropriations Committee. If the bill does not pass the Appropriations Committee by Tuesday, it will fail. The Appropriations Committee is led by state Rep. John Read, a Republican from Gautier.
The deadline for committees to report bills out if its committee is midnight on Tuesday. If committees fail to take up either of the bills, both measures are dead.