Mississippi legislature: Week 5 recap

The legislature completed the fifth week of the 2022 session and both chambers were busy passing mostly non-controversial bills off the floor after Tuesday’s deadline for bills to advance.

The biggest story of the week is probably Gov. Tate Reeves signing the medical marijuana program, which he outlined several problems with it in the lead up to the vote. But the program is law and was effective when he signed it on Wednesday.

Here’s what else happened this week.

Tuesday was the deadline for committees to report on bills that have been assigned to their committee. Meaning every bill that they did not take up is dead for the session. That was most bills. Lawmakers now have until Thursday, February 10 for floor action on the bills in their own chamber. After that, lawmakers will begin to focus on appropriation and revenue bills.

One of the bills that advanced out of committee on Tuesday has already been taken up on the floor and passed out of the House with large majorities. House Bill 917, sponsored by Rep. Jansen Owen, prohibits local governments from restricting home-based occupations. This measure recognizes the changing economy with more home-based business opportunities for entrepreneurs.

This doesn’t mean there would be no regulations, or suddenly, a junkyard would be your next-door neighbor. Limits on noise, signage, or excessive parking would continue to be viable.

This bill just removes the irrelevant regulations that do nothing but limit economic growth in Mississippi.

We also saw action on several other key bills this week:

  • Senate Bill 2428, sponsored by Sen. Dennis DeBar, which would create a District of Innovation task force. This cleared the Senate Education committee. We support this measure as a commonsense first step to ensuring local schools have the freedom and support they need to be innovative in the classroom.
  • House Bill 795, sponsored by Rep. Rob Roberson, which would create new digital learning options for Mississippi students. This cleared the House Education committee. We support this measure as a way to harness the power of education to aid our teachers and local districts in providing equal access to a quality education for all Mississippi children.
  • House Bill 31, sponsored by Rep. Timmy Lander, which would create staggered terms for the charter school authorizing board. We support this measure as a necessary step to ensuring that the charter authorizer board can operate at full capacity and begin to approve more school options for families.
  • House Bill 1349, sponsored by Rep. Jansen Owen, which would make it easier for students to move between public schools. This cleared the House Education committee. We support this measure so that families can more easily find the public school setting that works best for their child.
  • House Bill 1416, sponsored by Rep. Kent McCarty, which would ensure that public school students can freely engage in political activities or discussions. This cleared the House Education committee. We support this measure as a necessary safeguard of the free exchange of ideas in school and the right to freely associate.
  • Senate Bill 2647, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell, which would allow barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, and manicurists to be eligible for a license by completing an apprenticeship program. This has cleared the Senate Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency committee. We support this measure as a way to reduce bureaucracy that prevents people from working.