Mississippi legislature: Week 6 recap

We are now six weeks into the 2022 legislative session, and the focus will soon turn to appropriations and revenue bills.

This week, lawmakers faced their latest deadline: to pass bills originating in their own chamber. The prior week, most bills introduced this year died when they weren’t taken up by the committee they were referred to. Many that made it out of committee then died at the calendar after not being taken up by the chamber, or they may have died on the floor.

A high-priority item following the Supreme Court decision to overturn the state’s ballot initiative process last summer was an amendment to reconstitute the program. HCR 39 will give voters the option to propose new statues, or repeal or amend existing laws. It passed the House and heads to the Senate.

The next deadline is on February 23 for floor action on revenue and appropriations bills.

Among the money bills, the House has already passed their plan to eliminate the income tax. That is in the Senate Finance committee, but it’s facing a March 15 deadline, so it still has time. The Senate, which has outlined their tax proposal, will need to introduce and pass it by that February 23 deadline.

Here’s an update on some bills we’re following:

  • Senate Bill 2428, sponsored by Sen. Dennis DeBar, would create a District of Innovation task force. 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. This bill passed the Senate and heads to the House for consideration.
  • House Bill 917, sponsored by Rep. Jansen Owen, prohibits local governments from restricting home-based occupations and placing unreasonable regulations such as the percentage of your house that can be used for your business or a requirement that you can only employ family members. Home-based businesses are a booming economy, and we should support them in Mississippi. This passed the House and heads to the Senate for consideration.
  • House Bill 526, sponsored by Rep. Larry Byrd, would make students with a dyslexia diagnosis eligible for an Education Scholarship Account without having an IEP. We support this measure that recognizes the special needs of dyslexia students and expands resources available to families to ensure that dyslexia students have the best chance of finding success in school. This passed the House and heads to the Senate for consideration.
  • House Bill 1416, sponsored by Rep. Kent McCarty, would ensure that public school students can freely engage in political activities or discussions. We support this measure as a necessary safeguard of the free exchange of ideas in school and the right to freely associate. This passed the House and heads to the Senate for consideration.
  • House Bill 1196, sponsored by Rep. Nick Bain, would prevent those who want to be barbers or social workers from being denied an occupational license simply because of an unrelated criminal conviction. This originally also would have included nurses but that was stripped from the bill. We support this measure as a way to ensure those leaving prison have the ability to find employment, which is often the number one indicator of if someone will recidivate or not. This passed the House and heads to the Senate for consideration.