Bills on food, firearms, finances move forward

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Hundreds of bills in the Mississippi House and Senate have advanced since the Feb. 1 deadline for committees to report. Here is a look at some of the bills passed by state lawmakers last week in the Legislature.


House bills

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A bill to establish the Fostering Access and Inspiring True Hope (FAITH) Scholarship Program passed the House by a vote of 118-2. The “yea” votes came from the 120 representatives who co-sponsored the bill (two were absent). Rep. Vince Mangold and Rep. Becky Currie, both of Brookhaven, voted in support of the bill they co-sponsored. HB 1313 would provide financial assistance for postsecondary education to all current and former foster children under the age of 20, including full tuition, fees, and room and board.

House Concurrent Resolution 14 recognizes and honors Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange. HC 14 passed unanimously.

HB 512 would allow wholesale alcohol distribution permits to private companies, removing the Department of Revenue from being the sole distributor for the state. DOR currently operates the Alcoholic Beverage Control warehouse in Gluckstadt. HB 512 passed 113-2 and has been sent to the Senate.

HB 764 would create The Mississippi Health Care Workers Retention Act of 2022, appropriating $56 million to the Mississippi State Department of Health. The monies from the federal American Rescue Plan would pay health care workers who directly treated COVID-19 up to $5,000 if they agree to remain at their current facility for five months. The bill passed 112-6.

HB 1418, co-sponsored by Rep. Mangold, passed 83-35. The Second Amendment Preservation Act would preempt federal legislation to ban firearms, ammunition and other supplies, excluding universities and colleges.

HB 20 would prohibit discrimination against an organ donation recipient on the basis of disability. Cole’s Law, cosponsored by Rep. Currie, passed the House unanimously.

The Mississippi Healthy Food and Families Program, co-sponsored by Mangold, passed 114-7, with one representative not voting. HB 555 would make it easier for low income families to have access to fresh, healthy vegetables and fruits.

Currie and Mangold voted in support of each of these bills, which have been sent to the Senate.


Senate bills

Senate Bill 2887 will allow school districts to purchase electric buses if their finances allow. Some districts do have access to the appropriate federal funding.

SB 2416 would allow teachers to transfer their accumulated personal leave time to another school district.

SB 2423 would require the Mississippi Department of Education to issue a teacher license within 21 days of receiving their application.

SB 2064 would allow district attorneys to hire part-time assistant DAs to help clear or manage caseloads.

SB 2273 would allow employers of parolees to communicate with Department of Corrections officials about their progress and work history. Employers could submit timesheets for the ex-offender rather than meet with parole officers.

SB 2817 would allow the Department of Corrections to provide hospice services or contract out benefits for inmates.

Each of the above bills passed the Senate 51-0, with one senator absent.

SB 2719 would allow boards of supervisors to receive salary increases on a graduating scale, based on the county’s assessed valuation. The bill passed 48-1, with three senators not voting or absent.

SB 2033 would extend up to 12 months of the postpartum coverage of Medicaid recipients. The bill passed 46-5, with one senator not voting.

Sen. Jason Barrett, of Brookhaven, voted in support of each of these bills, which have moved to the House.