A look at some of Mississippi’s new legislation

Published 7:00 am Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Mississippi Legislature is back in session, with the 2022 Senate and House having convened Tuesday.

One bill was introduced Tuesday in the Senate. SB 2001 would require redistricting of Mississippi voting districts. The act was introduced by Republican Sen. Dean Kirby. The bill passed without amendment.

More than 300 bills were introduced in the House on day one. Multiple bills have been submitted in the House and Senate in the days since. Here is a brief look at a few of them.

• HB 164 would defend the free speech of students on college campuses. Referred to House Constitution Committee.

• HB 239 would authorize the sale of win in grocery stores. Referred to House Ways and Means Committee.

• HB 253 and HB 254 would guarantee the Second Amendment is upheld in the state, preventing federal efforts to confiscate legally-owned firearms of law-abiding Mississippi citizens. Referred to House Constitution Committee and House Judiciary B Committee, respectively.

• HB 199 would authorize early voting for up to 21 days. Referred to the House Appointment and Elections Committee.

• HB 97 would mandate Medicaid expansion. Referred to House Medicaid Committee.

• HB 181 would establish blue as the official state color of Mississippi. Fourteen states currently have official state colors. Referred to House Tourism Committee.

• HB 273 would mandate homework, requiring every teacher of every school district to introduce daily and weekly assignments for students. The daily assignments must include both written and reading assignments. The weekly assignments must include vocabulary and spelling. Referred to House Education Committee.

• HB 117 would designate The Holy Bible as the official state book. Referred to House Rules Committee.

• HB 4 would require the Department of Public Safety to establish training relating to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Referred to House Public Health and Human Services Committee.

• HB 44 would establish an additional non-traditional teaching route to licensure. Referred to House Education Committee.

• HB 47 would require school bus drivers to be trained and certified in first aid and CPR. Referred to House Education Committee.

• HB 134, HB 135, HB 151 and HB 153 would require each school in every district and in public postsecondary institutions to have epinephrine auto-injectors and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in each educational building, central administrative office and cafeteria. Referred to House Education Committee (135) and House Public Health and Human Services Committee (134, 151, 153).

• HB 139 would require public schools to include instruction on mental illness and mental health in the comprehensive school health education program. Referred to House Education Committee.

• HB 141 would require proof of a mental health exam before a person can be approved for a license to carry a concealed weapon. Referred to House Judiciary B Committee.

• HB 170 would authorize concealed carry of firearms without a license during an emergency evacuation. Referred to House Judiciary B Committee.

• HB 183 and HB 187 would authorize any person convicted of a non-violent felony to possess and use firearms and deadly weapons to defend his/her home or motor vehicle. Referred to House Judiciary B Committee.

• HB 177 would prohibit using dogs for hunting deer. Referred to House Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee.

• HB 194 would prohibit corporal punishment in public and charter schools. Referred to House Education Committee.

• HB 206 would increase the Mississippi minimum wage to $10 hourly. Referred to House Workforce Development Committee.

• HB 307 would require community and junior colleges to waive all tuition and fees for students graduating from a Mississippi high school, to establish requirements and rules, and to appropriate funds by line item in The Community and Junior Colleges General Support Bill. Referred to House Universities and Colleges Committee.

• HB 205 would required walk-through metal detectors to be installed and operated at all public entrances to each public elementary, middle, high and charter school in the state, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. Referred to House Education Committee.

• HB 263 would require recipients of benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to take the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). If the recipient scores below 12th-grade level in any category, he/she must enroll in a TABE program at a community college to become competent in deficient categories and retake the TABE after completion of the study. Referred to House Public Health and Human Services Committee.

• SB 2040 would make it unlawful for a person to enter and remain on the right-of-way of a railroad without owner/operator permission or lawful authority.

• SB 2065 would exempt anyone age 100 or older from income taxes.