Zeb Hughes Law moves out of committee

Published 2:07 pm Thursday, February 8, 2024

JACKSON — Lincoln County Rep. Becky Currie’s legislation titled Zeb Hughes Law was approved by the Judiciary B committee and moves forward in the legislative process Thursday. Currie introduced the house bill in January.

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 told The Daily Leader after she introduced the bill.

A simple majority vote is needed to pass the legislation out of the house and send it to the senate.

Currie’s house bill 634, which would allow retired law enforcement officers to purchase their service sidearm, passed in the house with 117 yes votes. Under the legislation, local governing bodies would only be allowed to set the cost of the sidearm at $50 or less.

We will provide more updates on this bill and other important legislative action in the 2024 Mississippi Legislative Session.