The Mississippi Senate kept alive a bill that could create a medical marijuana program in Mississippi if Initiative 65 is overturned by a lawsuit filed by the city of Madison.
SB 2765, known as the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act, was authored by state Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, and would create a medical marijuana program extremely similar to the one that will be created by Initiative 65.
The bill was defeated, but was held on a motion to reconsider, meaning the Senate could take up the issue again on Friday.
The bill would only go into effect if the ballot initiative were overturned by a lawsuit filed by the city of Madison that is now before the state Supreme Court. One difference between the bill and Initiative 65 would be a 7 percent sales tax on marijuana that would go into a special fund that would be distributed to Early Learning Collaboratives (the first 25 percent), the Mississippi Department of Education for a dual-enrollment program with the state’s community colleges (the next 25 percent) and the rest going into for a scholarship program for students at the state’s community colleges and universities.
“What we’re doing is listening to the 74 percent of the electorate that voted for Initiative 65,” Blackwell said about the bill.
The next deadline for the Legislature on the general bill calendar is March 2, which is the final day when committees can report bills from the other chamber.
Here are some of the more interesting bills that survived Thursday’s deadline, including one that would allow student athletes to earn compensation for likeness rights:
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.
HB 1030 is known as the Mississippi Intercollegiate Athletics Compensation Rights Act. It would provide that student athletes might earn compensation for name or likeness rights and obtain a certified agent strictly for that compensation. These student athletes wouldn’t be eligible for compensation based on their participation. The bill is authored by state Rep. Mac Huddleston, R-Pontotoc and was passed by an 89-6 margin.
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 has 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.
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 and has been sent to the Senate.
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 passed by a 102-14 margin.
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 was passed by the Senate with a 42-4 margin.
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 it passed unanimously in the House.
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 and passed the House by a 114-4 margin.
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 the bill passed the Senate by a 46-6 margin.
SB 2588 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. It is authored by state Sen. Jeff Tate, R-Meridian and passed by a 36-16 margin.
A similar bill, HB 4, was sponsored by state Rep. Brent Powell, R-Flowood, and died in the House.
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 by a unanimous vote.
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 by a 47-1 margin after a reverse repealer was added to the bill, meaning it requires further work even if passed by the House before it can go to the governor for signature.
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 was watered down to a study committee that will make a report to the Legislature next year. If the governor signs it into law, House and Senate leaders will choose five senators and representatives for the committee. The Senate passed it by a 32-11 vote.