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Doty bills pass state Senate, go to House

Several bills either authored or amended by Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, passed the Mississippi Senate Tuesday and will now go to the House for consideration.

SB 2511, authored by Education Chairman Dennis Debar Jr., addressed the critical teacher shortage in Mississippi by revising requirements for entrance into teacher education programs. Doty amended the bill on the floor to include specific language for licensure of teachers at the Mississippi School of the Arts who have advanced degrees in artistic disciplines.

“With MSA’s specialized classes in the arts, their teachers have had numerous issues getting through the licensure process, even though they are overly qualified,” Doty said. “I appreciate Chairman Debar supporting my amendment.”

Doty authored SB 2523, which if passed, will increase the death benefit for law enforcement and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty. The current death benefit is $100,000 and Doty’s bill would increase the amount to $200,000.

The Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters Death Benefits Trust Fund was established in 1999 and is administered by the Department of Public Safety. 

“Law enforcement and firefighters put their lives on the line for us each day. It was time to look at the benefits offered by the state and bring them in line with the risks that our officers face,” she said. “Lt. Gov. (Delbert) Hosemann was fully supportive of this bill and I appreciate his input.”

SB 2403, also authored by Doty, creates the Mississippi Veterans Honor Medal Program to recognize and thank Mississippi veterans for their honorable military service. The program will be administered by the State Veterans Affairs Board and be available for Mississippi veterans who were honorably discharged.  Louisiana and several other states have similar recognition programs in place, she said.

“I filed the veterans medal bill last year, but it did not make it all the way through the process,” she said. “I hope to make it to the finish line this year as a well-deserved honor for our Mississippi veterans.”

The Senate passed more than 50 bills Tuesday. The deadline for all bills originating in the Senate to pass the Senate floor is March 18.