Country Club could be a ‘qualified resort area’ — Currie: House, Senate bills should both pass, then final decision will be made

Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018

If all goes according to plan, Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, expects the Brookhaven Country Club to receive a “qualified resort area” designation before the start of the June wedding season.

Currie — who represents Copiah, Lawrence and Lincoln counties — authored HB 415 at the beginning of the current legislative session, and the bill is currently working its way through the Senate.

The measure seeks to declare the country club an official resort, thereby allowing the clubhouse to sell alcohol during otherwise prohibitive dates and times.

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Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, who represents Copiah, Lawrence, Lincoln and Walthall counties, wrote an identical bill, entitled SB 2618, in January and, at present, it is under review in the House Ways and Means Committee.

“The House and Senate have swapped those bills. They should both pass, and then they’ll decide which one to take,” Currie said.

She believes one of the bills is virtually guaranteed to reach the governor’s desk before April, but she said no legislation is set in stone until signed into law.

Three of Currie’s other measures have also been shuttled to the Senate. Her HB 419, which would create a statewide mental health court system, is currently under review in the Judiciary Division A Committee.

Currie believes the bill is particularly germane to the current political climate, and she said the legislation is designed, in part, to prevent tragedies like the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, from happening in Mississippi.

If signed into law, HB 419 would develop a separate judiciary for offenders suffering from mental health conditions, and it would provide mentally ill perpetrators with treatment resource options.

Currie’s HB 1133, which would create a “Mississippi Tourism Council,” is currently under review in the Senate Tourism and Appropriation committees. Meanwhile, HB 1510, which is designed to reduce the state’s abortion limit to 15 weeks of pregnancy, cleared the upper chamber’s Public Health and Welfare Committee Tuesday and awaits full Senate confirmation.

In conjunction with SB 2618, Doty has four other bills awaiting approval from the House. They are:

• SB 2041, which would revise the qualifications for the Mississippi Resident Real Estate Broker License.

• SB 2609, which would allow the state Department of Education to provide central business services to the Mississippi School of the Arts.

• SB 2668, which would establish an order of precedence for the access of a safe deposit box upon the death of the lessee.

• SB 2840, which would create the “Opioid Crisis Intervention Act.”

Rep. Vince Mangold, R-Brookhaven, who represents Franklin, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Lincoln and Pike counties, has one viable bill remaining in the legislature. It is HB 1359, which would exempt disaster relief funds allocated to farmers from being taxed. It is currently under review in the Senate Finance Committee.