On the last day for bills to make it out of committee, the House Judiciary A Committee passed several measures on to the full House.

One that didn’t make it was House Bill 1104, which would’ve reenacted administrative forfeiture for property worth less than $20,000. Barring another meeting of the committee, the bill will die without being considered by the full House.

The biggest controversy came on House Bill 337, the Landowner Protection Act. This bill would exempt property owners and their employees from civil liability if a third party injures someone else on their property.

Committee Chairman and state Rep. Mark Baker (R-Brandon) cited the 10 murders in 19 days in Jackson as one of the reasons for the bill.

“There are a lot of groups with interest in this,” Baker said. “This bill is not about dealing with slip and falls at the grocery store. At some point, you can’t keep foisting that problem (crime) on owners of property.

“At some point, if the Jackson Police Department can’t do anything about, why are we going to put this on someone else?”

State Rep. Edward Blackmon Jr. (D-Canton), who is affiliated with the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, railed against the bill.

“This is a Jackson, Mississippi bill that will affect the entire state and reverses years of established law in our courts,” Blackmon said.

The committee later approved the bill over Blackmon’s strenuous objections and it will now be taken by the full House.

A companion bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 2901, has already been approved by the Business and Financial Institutions Committee.

Among the other bills that made it out of the House Judiciary A Committee:

  • HB 777 would change existing law on notaries public. Also known as the Revised Mississippi Law on Notarial Acts.
  • HB 819, also known as the Uniform Athlete Agents Act, would require several disclosures be made between an agent and a potential client that is a student-athlete. It would also require agents to report of all expenses incurred in the recruiting of student-athletes.
  • HB 1149 would require all courts in the state to utilize the Mississippi Electronic Courts System, which puts court documents online.
  • HB 1268 would revise the standard of constitutionality on an appeal from judgment by a county or municipal authority.
  • HB 1285, also known as the GAP (Guard and Protect vulnerable children and adults) Act, would revise state law on guardianships and conservatorships.

The next deadline will be February 14 for original floor action on bills from their own chamber.