The first big deadline for the Mississippi Legislature was Tuesday and the number of bills has been whittled down from more than 2,000 to 644.
Bills that would end the state's monopoly on the wholesale distribution of wine and spirits, give Mississippi teachers a pay increase (passed the Senate) and pare back red tape with the state’s occupational licensing regime have already passed in their originating chambers.
Among the bills that died was one that would’ve eliminated the state’s certificate of need program, which requires healthcare providers to seek permission from the state Department of Health to build new facilities, add on to existing ones or procure new beds or diagnostic equipment.
Also dead were bills that dealt with civil asset forfeiture, the hiring of contract lobbyists by state agencies and one that would’ve allowed the renewal of driver’s licenses online no matter how long it’d been since they’d been renewed. Bills that would've allowed out-of-state wineries to ship to Mississippi and grocery stores to sell wine also died.
Here are some updates on some of the more interesting bills:
Already passed originating chamber
House Bill 997 authored by state Rep. Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia,would end the practice of the state being the wholesale distributor for wine and spirits and govern the issuance of wholesaler permits. It passed the House 104-3.
Senate Bill 2001 is authored by state Sen. Dennis DeBar, R-Leakesville, and would provide a $1,000 annual pay raise for teachers. The bill has already passed the Senate and is now in the hands of the House.
SB 2001, authored by state Sen. Blackwell, would delete the moratorium on new child/adolescent psychiatric or chemical dependency beds under the state’s certificate of need law. It passed unanimously in the Senate.
HB 1303 would allow nurse practitioners full practice authority in Mississippi and is sponsored by state Rep. Donnie Scoggin, R-Ellisville. The bill was approved by the House Public Health and Human Services Committee and passed the House 77-38.
HB 1302 would allow optometrists to provide care to patients commensurate with their training and experience, including prescribing certain drugs. The legislation was sponsored by state Rep. Jason White, R-West, and passed the House by a 90-25 vote.
HB 1263 would allow reciprocity for holders of occupational licenses from other states who move to Mississippi if they meet certain requirements and their license is valid and in good standing. It was sponsored by state Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, and passed by a 117-3 vote. A similar bill, SB 2187, passed out of committee Tuesday in the Senate.
HB 1315 would eliminate licensing requirements for art therapists, auctioneers, interior designers and wigologists and was sponsored by House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton. It passed 72-38, but is being held on a motion to reconsider.
Still alive after passing committee
HB 1013 would abolish the Division of Medicaid, which is run by the governor, and replace it with a Medicaid Commission. It was authored by state Rep. Lamar and has passed both the Medicaid and Appropriations committees in the House.
SB 2119 is sponsored by state Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall and would allow the sale of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine without a prescription. A committee substitute has already been passed by both the Drug Policy and Judiciary B committees in the Senate.
HB 466 would allow the state Department of Corrections to utilize money from the Inmate Welfare Fund for re-entry related expenses, such as technical training equipment. The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Kevin Horan, D-Grenada. It has passed the Corrections Committee chaired by Horan and is now in the hands of the Appropriations Committee.
HB 581, known as the Sexual Assault Response for College Students Act, would require the state’s community colleges and universities to adopt comprehensive policies “consistent with federal and state law” regarding sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual exploitation and stalking. It is authored by state Rep. Angela Cockerham, D-Magnolia.
SB 2765, known as the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, was authored state Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, and would create a medical marijuana program similar to the one that will be created by Initiative 65, barring its overturn by a lawsuit filed by the city of Madison. SB 2767, a similar bill with the same name, authored by state Sen. Fillingane, died after 2765 was amended in the Senate Finance Committee.
SB 2804 would the retail delivery of alcoholic beverages from a licensed retailer to a consumer. The bill was authored by state Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood and was passed by the Senate Finance Committee he chairs.
HB 4 would create a statewide election management system and would remove voters who fail to respond to a notice and who fail to vote after a certain time. This bill is sponsored by state Rep. Brent Powell, R-Flowood. The House Apportionment and Elections Committee approved the bill.
SB 2788 is sponsored by state Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson and would require municipal law enforcement to inform the state Highway Safety Patrol of any road blockages or emergencies on interstates in city limits. It was passed by the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee.
SB 2806 is a placeholder bill that brings forward code sections related to the Alcohol Beverage Control division of the state Department of Revenue. The bill would also allow the DOR to contract for a concessionaire to take over management and operation of the state’s alcohol warehouse. By including code sections in the bill, it gives lawmakers more time to work on the issue.
State. Sen. Harkins authored the bill and it passed out of the committee he chairs, Finance.
SB 2486 could open the door for some state parks to be transferred to counties and others to be leased by private companies. It is authored by state Sen. Neil Whaley, R-Potts Camp, and it has passed the Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee in the Senate.
Dead as the cliched door nail
There were two bills that would've allowed delivery of wine to Mississippi homes from out of state wineries and both died in committee, as did two bills that would allowed grocery stores to sell wine in the state. House bills 577 and 578 would've allowed wineries to ship to Mississippi, while HB 592 and SB 2433 would've allowed grocery stores to sell wine, which is limited now by state law to package stores.
HB 10 was authored by House Speaker Gunn and would’ve allowed an expired driver’s license to be renewed online regardless of how much time has transpired after the expiration date of the license.
HB 88 would’ve prohibited agencies, governing authorities and universities and colleges from hiring contract lobbyists. It was sponsored by state Rep. Jansen Owen, R-Poplarville.
SB 2769 was sponsored by state Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, and the bill would’ve protected lawful expression of free speech rights at the state’s community colleges and universities. The bill would’ve also created an avenue for free speech-related legal challenges.
HB 86 would’ve allowed the participation of investor-owned utilities (Entergy and Mississippi Power) in providing broadband services. It was sponsored by state Rep. Brent Anderson, R-Bay St. Louis.
SB 2326 would’ve required proceeds from civil asset forfeitures be used to supplement and not supplant the existing budget of the participating law enforcement agency. It was sponsored by state Sen. Jeremy England, R-Vancleave.
HB 11 would’ve required that every county’s annual budget be published on the county’s official website and was authored by state Rep. Scoggins.
HB 123 would’ve prohibit elected and appointed officers from publicly participating in state-funded advertising.
SB 2160 would’ve eliminated the state’s certificate of need program.
SB 2108 was authored by state Sen. DeBar and would’ve require non-partisan elections for chancery and circuit clerks, tax assessors, tax collectors, surveyors and coroners.
SB 2168 would’ve ended the phaseout of two income tax brackets and the franchise tax that was passed in 2015 and removed the deduction of federal employment tax. It was sponsored by state Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville.
SB 2079 would’ve establish a minimum wage in the state and was also sponsored by Simmons.
SB 2102 would’ve had Mississippi join an interstate compact that would circumvent the Electoral College and elect the president by popular vote. The bill was sponsored by state Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson.
SB 2173 would’ve allowed alcohol sales at package stores on Sunday and was authored by state Sen. Joel Carter, R-Gulfport.
SB 2342 would’ve exempted eyebrow threading from the purview of the state’s Cosmetology Board. It was sponsored by state Sen. England.