Zeb Hughes Law one of 23 bills introduced by Rep. Becky Currie

Published 1:36 pm Thursday, January 18, 2024

JACKSON — Lincoln County representative Becky Currie introduced 23 pieces of legislation in the Mississippi House Wednesday. One of those bills would be called the “Zeb Hughes Law,” if it passes. 

Zeb Hughes is one of two local duck hunters who went missing on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg on December 3, 2020. Hughes was from Wesson and the other missing hunter is Gunner Palmer of Hazlehurst. They had set out to scout for ducks on the Mississippi River but never made it back home. Their boat and some hunting equipment was found in the search efforts after their disappearance. 

House Bill 80, would create a presumption of death for a missing person who had undergone a catastrophic event causing imminent peril. This bill would allow Mississippi’s Registrar of Vital Statistics to prepare death certificates under such conditions as the Zeb Hughes Law describes through a court order. 

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Currie said she worked with Hughes’ mother at Kings Daughter Medical Center and is a friend of hers. Currently, Mississippi’s law requires someone to be missing and presumed dead for seven years before a death certificate can be issued.

“The family haven’t been able to have closure,” Currie said.

Currie introduced three bills regarding insurance which were sent to the Insurance Committee. Six of her bills were sent to the Public Health Committee and two of her bills were sent to Ways and Means Committee. 

House Bill 223, sent to Ways and Means, would exempt the sale of tangible personal property or service to the Lincoln County Civic Center Foundation from taxes. Currently, if a coke is sold at the civic center it is taxed. 

“We shouldn’t tax a non-profit like that. They shouldn’t have to tax the constituents again,” Currie said. “It would free them up to continue to support our civic center.”

Currie had three pieces of legislation be referred to the Education Committee. One of those is House Bill 264 which would prohibit school boards from adopting policies requiring students to conceal the identity of outside commercial food and beverages. 

Lincoln County School District and Brookhaven School District currently have a policy requiring  students to conceal the identity of outside commercial food and beverages. The policy caused a stir in the community at the start of the school year. 

“If you pack your child’s lunch and put chips in you have to place them in a zip-loc bag. I don’t really understand it but I heard complaints from mothers,” Currie said. “It is an extra step that isn’t necessary. When you have one complaint from parents you may not write a bill but when you have several complaints you do.”