What’s still alive after Tuesday’s deadline?
The legislative calendar is built on deadlines. Bills must be introduced by a certain date, and then they must move (and keep moving) by a certain date, or they are dead.
We’ve seen early action on some big-ticket items. In the first couple weeks, we saw the legislature send Congressional redistricting and a medical marijuana program to the Governor, with the House quickly adopting an income tax repeal and sending it to the Senate. We’ve also had multiple teacher pay raise bills, which have been introduced and passed out of their respective chambers. We believe teachers should be well-compensated for their work and that Mississippi must be a competitive environment for attracting the best and brightest. We will continue to follow the progress of these bills as they move through the session.
Yesterday saw most bills introduced in the 2022 session die because they did not make it past the February 1 deadline for committees to act on bills that have been assigned to their committee.
So what’s alive? Here’s what we’re following:
- 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.
- Senate Bill 2422, sponsored by DeBar, which will ensure that teacher supply cards are issued by September 1. This has passed the Senate and has been sent to the House. Similarly, House Bill 879, sponsored by Rep. Richard Bennett, would require the cards to be issued to teachers by August 1. This cleared the House Education committee. We support this measure as a practical solution to make sure teachers don’t have to come out of their own pocket for school supplies at the beginning of the school year.
- 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 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 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.
- 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 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.
- House Bill 917, sponsored by Owen, which would prohibit local governments from restricting home-based occupations. We support this measure in recognition of a changing economy with more home-based business opportunities for entrepreneurs.
- 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.
- House Bill 1196, sponsored by Rep. Nick Bain, would prevent those who want to be barbers, nurses, or social workers from being denied an occupational license simply because of a criminal conviction. This cleared Judiciary B in the House. We support this measure since it will make it easier for individuals to find work after release from prison and we know that finding a job is the number one indicator of whether a person will stay out of trouble.
- Senate Bill 2600, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Sparks, is an incentive-based program for parole and probation that rewards successfully rehabilitating people on community supervision. This cleared the Senate Corrections committee. We support this measure because it offers an incentive for active supervision of individuals to prevent recidivism.