Lawmakers are busy submitting bills for consideration as the Mississippi Legislature goes into its second week of work.
Bills that could renew driver’s licenses online, provide a pay hike for teachers, increase transparency for county budgets, purge voter rolls, reform the state’s civil asset forfeiture system and end the state’s certificate of need program are some of the ones that have been submitted.
The first big deadline of the session will be February 2, which is the deadline for committees to approve bills for floor votes.
Here are some of the more interesting bills that have been submitted so far:
Senate Bill 2001 is authored by state Sen. Dennis DeBar, R-Leakesville, and would provide a $1,000 annual pay raise for teachers. DeBar is the chairman of the Senate Education Committee and his committee will handle the bill, along with Appropriations.
If the measure is signed into law by the governor, it will be the fourth pay increase Mississippi teachers have received beyond annual step increases.
In 2000, a $337 million plan was enacted over a six-year span.
In 2014, a two-year, $100 million plan passed by the legislature increased teacher pay $1,500 in the first year and $1,000 in second. A 2019 pay increase added up to $1,500, which will cost taxpayers $76.9 million per year.
House Bill 10, authored by House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, would allow an expired driver’s license to be renewed online regardless of how much time has transpired after the expiration date of the license. The House Transportation Committee has been assigned the bill.
SB 2160 would eliminate the state’s certificate of need law and is authored by state Sen. Angela Hill, R-Picayune. Mississippi is one of 35 states that require a certificate of need for healthcare providers. Providers must receive approval from the state Department of Health to build a new facility, add beds or diagnostic equipment to an existing facility, or even when a capital project goes over budget. The bill has been assigned to the Public Health and Welfare Committee in the Senate.
HB 11 would require that every county’s annual budget be published on the county’s official website and was authored by state Rep. Donnie Scoggin, R-Ellisville. The bill has been assigned to the House Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committee.
SB 2326 would require proceeds from civil asset forfeitures be used to supplement and not supplant the existing budget of the participating law enforcement agency. It is sponsored by state Sen. Jeremy England, R-Vancleave, and has been assigned to the Judiciary A Committee in the Senate.
HB 86 would allow the participation of investor-owned utilities (Entergy and Mississippi Power) in providing broadband services. It is sponsored by state Rep. Brent Anderson, R-Bay St. Louis and is assigned to the House Public Utilities Committee.
HB 88 would prohibit agencies, governing authorities and universities and colleges from hiring contract lobbyists. It is sponsored by state Rep. Jansen Owen, R-Poplarville and will be handled by the House Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committee.
HB 123 would prohibit elected and appointed officers from publicly participating in state-funded advertising. It will also be handled by the House Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committee.
SB 2108 is authored by state Sen. DeBar and would require non-partisan elections for chancery and circuit clerks, tax assessors, tax collectors, surveyors and coroners. The Senate Elections Committee has been assigned the bill.
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 has been assigned the bill.
SB 2067 would allow the sale of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine without a prescription and is authored by state Sen. Hill. It has been referred to the Senate Judiciary B Committee. A similar bill, SB 2119, is sponsored by state Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, and has been double-referred to the Drug Policy and Judiciary B committees in the Senate.
SB 2168 would end the phaseout of two income tax brackets and the franchise tax that was passed in 2015 and remove the deduction of federal employment tax. It is sponsored by state Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville. It has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
SB 2079 would establish a minimum wage in the state and is also sponsored by Simmons. It has been double-referred to both the Labor and Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency committees in the Senate.
SB 2102 would have Mississippi join an interstate compact that would circumvent the Electoral College and elect the president by popular vote. The bill is sponsored by state Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson. The bill has been double-referred to both the Election and Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency committees in the Senate.
SB 2173 would allow alcohol sales at package stores on Sunday and was authored by state Sen. Joel Carter, R-Gulfport. The Senate Finance Committee has been assigned the bill.
SB 2342 would exempt eyebrow threading from the purview of the state’s Cosmetology Board. It is sponsored by state Sen. England and has been assigned to the Public Health and Welfare Committee in the Senate.