Repealers are sunset provisions that end an agency or program unless they are extended after a certain period of time. The legislature uses this tactic on a new program to force a re-evaluation (usually in two or three years) and possible changes.
Most state agencies have a repealer on them, usually for four years, and extending this is often a formality without major changes.
The cities that pass tourism related taxes on hotels and restaurants have a repealer and several cities — Pontotoc, Hattiesburg, West Point and Winona — have taxes that will expire due to their repealers.
The biggest repealers that need to be dealt with by the legislature are the Education Scholarship Account program for children with special needs and the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities. Without legislative action, the ESA program will end on July 1 and the PSC will cease to exist on the same date.
The ESA program could’ve been extended last year, but after a clean bill passed the Senate, the House Education Committee let it die without a vote. The sole remaining hope for the ESA program, Senate Bill 2594, changes the program for the worse in several ways.
One of those ways is that it will end the ability of parents to use ESA funds to pay for online programs and remove the ability for parents to allow their child to attend a school in another state (using the ESA to pay tuition) if there isn’t a school within 30 miles of their home.
The good news is the bill will extend the program to 2024. It passed the Senate and will be in the hands of the House once the legislature reconvenes.
As for the PSC, House Bill 1561 would extend the repealer for the PSC until 2024. The bill would also require the state’s two-investor owned utilities (which are regulated by the PSC) to incorporate the costs of purchasing electricity from renewable sources into the ratebase, meaning ratepayers will have to pick up the tab for wind, solar and biomass energy.
The bill was passed by the House and is now in the hands of the Senate.
As for some of the other repealers in need of legislative action, they are: