Two days before the June 17 deadline for floor action on legislation from the other chamber, both the House and Senate are moving forward with key bills that will expand liberty, remove barriers, and make it easier to work and earn a living in Mississippi.
While there are other bills still alive that run counter to the ideals of liberty and freedom, here is a rundown of many of the good bills that have already moved:
HB 838: This will allow individuals leaving state prisons to use MDOC documents as qualifying papers to obtain a driver’s license. For ex-offenders to land gainful employment, they generally need a driver’s license. Something that has been a hinderance. This will make that process easier by allowing MDOC documents in lieu of a birth certificate or social security card. The bill has a reverse repealer, meaning the bill will now go to conference.
HB 1024: This will make various reforms to Mississippi’s “three strikes” habitual offender law for nonviolent drug offenses. It prevents offenses from more than 15 years ago counting toward the enhancement and prevents nonviolent offenses from triggering a life sentence. The bill has a reverse repealer, meaning the bill will now go to conference.
HB 1104: This will give the Occupational Licensing Review Commission the ability to do a review of an existing regulation to determine whether it increases economic opportunities for citizens by promoting competition and uses the least restrictive regulation to protect consumers. Right now, the OLRC, which is comprised of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state, is limited to review only new regulations. It was amended in the Senate and will return to the House for concurrence.
HB 1136: The Learn to Earn Act will provide new apprenticeship opportunities for Mississippi students. It was amended in the Senate and will return to the House for concurrence.
SB 2117: This will provide universal recognition of occupational licenses for military families. In committee, the House took the language of House Bill 1510, a similar bill, and inserted it before it passed the House. It now returns to the Senate for concurrence.
SB 2123: This will allow the Parole Board to consider individuals after they have served 25 percent of their sentence for a nonviolent offense and 50 percent for a violent offense. The bill has a reverse repealer, meaning the bill will now go to conference.
SB 2552: This will remove the prohibition on how much alcohol a brewery can sell on its premises. It has been sent to the governor.
SB 2594: This extends the Special Needs Education Scholarship Account program, which was needed, or it would expire at the end of June. While this is still a good program with great potential, the legislature has chosen to keep the program tiny and even made changes that hurt the program. It is now on to the governor.
SB 2725: This will legalize the cultivation of hemp in Mississippi. It was amended in the House and will return to the Senate for concurrence.
SB 2830: This will expand the current list of eligible patients in the state’s Right to Try law to an individual with a traumatic injury and would also allow adult stem cells as a treatment option. It is now on to the governor.