JACKSON • Mississippi's three-month legislative session finished Thursday, but Gov. Tate Reeves is still deciding whether to sign dozens of bills lawmakers sent him into law.
It's no sure thing Reeves will approve all of them: He has traditionally declined to reveal whether he will sign legislation until he reviews it. And last year the Republican ultimately vetoed a handful of bills at the last minute — including the education budget, criminal justice reforms and a skills-training bill — taking many lawmakers off-guard.
Below are key bills Reeves has already approved, and several still awaiting his review. Not included in the list are a slew of state agency budget bills. Lawmakers restored pandemic-related budget cuts made during last year's session, and granted many state employees small raises effective next year. They also increased education funding by $102 million — doubling early childhood program money, paying for more teacher supplies and covering a $51 million teacher pay raise.
Signed into law
Teacher pay raise: House Bill 852 lifts new teacher salaries by about $1,100, to a floor of $37,000. All other teachers get a $1,000 raise. Minimum teacher assistant pay will be set at $15,000, up $1,000.
Transgender athlete ban: Senate Bill 2536 bans transgender athletes from playing on girls or women's sports teams. The legislation is likely to face a legal challenge.
School district attendance: School districts receive funding based on student attendance, but attendance has been poor and tough to track during the pandemic. SB 2149 allows the state to fund schools according to pre-pandemic 2019-2020 numbers, so they don't lose money.
Increase welfare payment: SB 2759 increases the amount welfare recipients under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF, receive each month, from $170 to $260 for a family of four. It's the first increase in the payment since 1999.
Possible permanent daylight saving: HB 1062 would make daylight saving time permanent in Mississippi if federal law is amended to allow it. Proposals are pending in Congress.
Occupational licensing reciprocity: HB 1263 makes it easier for workers with occupational licenses in other states to start a new job in Mississippi. The law is meant to reduce hurdles for people considering a move to the Magnolia State.
Move candidate qualifying deadline: HB 1048 moves up the deadline for Mississippi candidates to qualify to have their names on the ballot, from March 1 to Feb. 1. Critics say the move unnecessarily limits the qualifying window to a single month, and helps incumbent politicians stay in power.
Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine: SB 2119 means Mississippians will once again be able to buy medicines such as Claritin and Sudafed with certain levels of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine without a prescription.
Concealed carry and driver licenses: SB 2253 allows a concealed carry permit holder to include the designation on their driver license, not on a separate firearm license.
Allow golf carts on city streets: SB 2605 says municipalities can allow and regulate golf cart driving on their streets, and stipulates licensing and registration requirements.
Regulate electric bikes: HB 1195 says electric bikes — which have surged in popularity recently — cannot be regulated any differently than regular bicycles, ensuring they do not have licensing or insurance requirements similar to a car or motorcycle.
Awaiting Reeves' approval as of Friday
Booze home delivery: HB 1135 would allow Mississippians to have beer, wine and hard liquor delivered at home. But the legislation does not allow for deliveries of wine or other alcoholic products from out of state — the liquor must come from a licensed package store no more than 30 miles away.
Parole reform: SB 2795 loosens parole requirements and could make about 2,000 inmates eligible for early release. The legislation, which would be retroactive to 1995, would mean some nonviolent offenders could get out earlier. It would also make those convicted of armed robbery eligible after 60% of their sentence.
High-speed internet access: SB 2798 would allow internet companies to lease out "dark fiber" lines operated by Entergy and Mississippi Power. These connections would allow high-speed internet to reach some rural parts of the state that don't have it, or where options are limited.
Teacher license reciprocity: SB 2267 says licensed teachers from outside Mississippi must be issued a standard five-year license in the state within 21 days of applying. The legislation is meant to remove roadblocks for teachers moving to the Magnolia State, which has long faced a severe teacher shortage.
Teacher college loan repayment: HB 1179 would create a repayment program where the state would cover a set amount of a teacher's college loan over the first three years of their career. The bill is meant to give teachers a boost early in their careers, when salaries stay flat.
Transportation law changes: SB 2825 makes several transportation law tweaks, including moving law enforcement presently under the state Department of Transportation, to the Department of Public Safety, as well as increasing the amount of weight that trucks with harvest permits can haul on highways.
Tampering with urine: SB 2569 criminalizes selling or providing human or synthetic urine for the purpose of faking a drug screening.